This is a question worth considering for just about any business out there today. Large, medium and small businesses all face IT infrastructure needs, but there are always, as they say, bigger fish to fry. If you uncover that your internal IT department is continuously bogged down by supporting the day-to-day operations of your organization, as well as researching, evaluating and considering which infrastructure enhancements to proceed with, it's a good sign that your current IT needs are being met reactively instead of proactively.
Proactive Infrastructure Planning
Simply put, a reactive approach to infrastructure planning directly impacts your bottom line. When you're constantly glancing backward, there isn't ample time to look toward the future. Before we dive in, let's cover the basics.
What is Infrastructure Planning?
Infrastructure planning is a process of determining how and when changes, upgrades and improvements to your infrastructure will occur. It takes into account the life cycles of existing equipment and hardware, the needs and initiatives of your organization, external pressures related to regulatory requirements and, of course, your IT resources.
What Are IT Resources?
IT resources are any IT-related items your organization has ownership of, license for or access to. IT resources include devices, equipment, operating systems, firmware, third-party softwares, Line-of-Business (LoB) Applications and internet connection. IT resources also include the time, capabilities and expertise of IT professionals you employ and/or contract with.
3 Ways to Make Room for Infrastructure Planning
In order to remain proactive, businesses are tasked with balancing their focus on present day needs while allocating enough IT resources to plan for the future. Focusing on user satisfaction and business alignment/collaboration are two ways Sharon Florentine suggests you can prepare your IT department for the future. But, what other options do you have?
Here are three ways you can create additional IT resources within your organization.
1. Do More with What You Have
One way to move forward is to take a hard look at your current IT department's focus areas and initiatives. Are there resources going into lower-order issues that could be reallocated toward making your organization future-proof? It's entirely possible that you may have more capabilities than you're currently aware of. Alternatively, a closer look at your IT department might reveal that the staff you have are already working well beyond their contract hours just to keep day-to-day operations afloat.
2. Hire Additional IT Staff
The second option you can look into is hiring additional IT staff. Now, I know as well as you do that hiring full-time staff requires the investment of both time and resources. Before you decide to hire internally as a way to lighten the load, be sure to determine these two things:
- Whether or not your current need(s) will be ongoing or temporary.
- The likelihood of finding a candidate whose skills match the needs of your organization.
A great place to uncover the current needs within your internal IT department is by analyzing the data from your ticketing system over the past few months. This will let you know which problems are most often being brought to IT's attention.
3. Consider Managed IT Services
A third option worth considering is Managed IT Services. These services allow businesses to hand over day-to-day tasks like updating, troubleshooting, diagnosing and correcting technology issues. With this approach, your internal IT staff have time to focus on projects that add value to your business instead of focusing on keeping everything in working order. Managed IT Services are able to scale up and down along with your business needs. Additionally, they bring both increased efficiency and immediate assistance to your organization's IT needs.
Make Data-Driven IT Decisions
When you are planning your IT infrastructure, what do you use to drive your decision-making? Managed IT Services can give your organization the support and the freedom to focus on the higher-order needs of your organization, and they will give you the data, reporting and analytics to know which decisions will propel your organization into the future.
The current pace of business technology today is lightening fast, and keeping up depends on the ability to dedicate time and effort toward the big picture. However, if help desk tickets and infrastructure planning takes up so much time that you're unable to plan for three, five, even ten years ahead of time, you'll be stuck in a never-ending game of catch up.
Having a Managed IT partner can help your organization evaluate how to seek out the optimal ROI in their technology and provide you with the benefits of cloud technology along with other types of technology.