Preparing your IT Infrastructure
for 2018 and beyond
The start of a new year is always the best time to assess and plan. Forward-thinking leaders will take the time to review their business strategies and make the necessary investments for company growth, revamping processes and initiatives that are no longer relevant.
With the ever-changing technology development, it is also a good idea to relook the organisation’s IT infrastructure through a fresh set of eyes, considering the propensity for ageing hardware to grow less reliable over time. In fact, even when everything is humming along smoothly, it is still a good practice to periodically evaluate and optimise the existing infrastructure.
Optimising existing infrastructure
One of the first tasks at hand is the elimination of technical debt, a term used to reference the cost of additional work incurred from favouring short-term solutions over proper integration –often due to business pressure and timeline. The impact of taking shortcuts in technology implementation typically only become apparent over a period of time, sometimes even years as the issues snowball inexorably towards potential disaster.
Any accrued technical debt will slowly but surely impact IT infrastructure as the company grows, making IT systems increasingly difficult to maintain over time. Organisations should look into improving the situation by gradually paring down the debt over time. This not only pre-empts impending catastrophic failures, but also helps to gain greater efficiency from existing infrastructure and systems.
While the cloud certainly isn’t the solution to every problem, it is undeniably an attractive option for cost savings and scalability for enterprises. The trend is to adopt a hybrid deployment model which pairs public cloud with the traditional on-premises data centres. This gives enterprises the elasticity of the cloud while retaining the privacy and control inherent to on-premises data centres.
Positioning for growth
Simply catching up with competitors or staying in the game is no longer adequate in today’s fast-moving business landscape, given how a reactive strategy places it at risk of being blindsided by business disruptors. As the line between IT trends and business trends blur further, organisations must learn to proactively leverage new innovations, move quicker, and pivot with greater agility to capture new business opportunities.
At the heart of sustained growth for modern businesses is the need to be customer focused. Though it is tempting for the business to lean towards a massive data collection project for insights on their customers, chances are high that practically all the data required are already available. The key is to drive digital initiatives that correlate and make sense of the data through automation and analysis to understand customers’ needs better.
When it comes to infrastructure planning to support future growth, it is crucial for organisations to recognize that many of the underlying parameters have irrevocably changed. Though conventional wisdom has it that larger IT loads or customers base necessitate a corresponding increase in servers and storage, this calculation is fundamentally skewed by the availability of modern technologies to do more with less. For instance, adopting a microservices architecture can improve fault isolation and scalability while making it much easier for a developer to understand the functionality of a service.
The risk of obsolescence
There is no question that new uses of existing technologies and increasing collaboration are fuelling greater infrastructure productivity. However, the rapid pace of technological advancements results in some investments becoming obsolete ahead of their projected operational lifecycle.This may be unavoidable, though can be mitigated with an experienced IT team who plans ahead.
The successful organisations are those that can focus on developing robust technology plans to drive their business, balancing the appeal of competitive advantage against the desire for short-term returns. For example, the introduction of automation tools can eliminate human error and enhance productivity, while the development of mobile apps can offer a better customer experience, especially for the busy individuals on the move.
The recent technology hype includes artificial intelligence, commonly known as AI, emphasises the creation of software agents that can perform complex analysis and solve difficult problems far faster than humans can. This is set for businesses to reduce operational costs, introduce new capabilities and increase operational performance in time to come.
With the benefits and potential cost savings highlighted, it is definitely worth the effort to review and optimize your IT infrastructure now to be ready for 2018 and beyond.
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