Do You Know Where Business Strategy and IT Infrastructure Meet Up ?

By: Patrick Quinn-Graham

The sheer scale, size, and scope of corporate IT infrastructure are things that have substantially grown in the last fifteen years. For many businesses, IT infrastructure went from several dozen servers in a basement to elaborate data centres featuring many thousands of servers such as VMware hosting. In the early years of the 1990s, networked storage was barely in existence. However, modern IT organisations sink tens of millions of dollars into them.

This expansion has solid reasons behind it. Infrastructure is what runs the many applications that process a company’s transactions, handle client data and information that provide market insights, and serve as a foundation to the analytical tools which let managers and executives make their choices in how to operate complicated organisations. In truth, infrastructure is a driving force behind a lot of rises in productivity and corporate growth seen in recent years.

However, the actual ubiquity of such networking, storage, and computing technologies means that a number of corporate executives actually look at IT infrastructure like it’s a commodity. That’s not a wise choice. It is admittedly true that individual components like storage and servers are things that have been commoditised. The same could even be argued for some support processes, such as application monitoring. However, a truly effective infrastructure operation is going to create its own value by making smart decisions regarding which particular technologies see use and how they all get integrated. If you buy a technology product from a vendor, then it might technically be a commodity. On the other hand, it’s not a commodity when you have the power to pull support, software, and hardware together in combinations of robust features, vibrant resiliency, and efficient cost.

Value Sources

Copious evidence exists that creativity in corporate infrastructure has paved the way for many businesses to increase their efficiency, enhance their customer experience, and in some cases even redefine their very own business models.

Data collection happening live.

Insurance providers in both the United States and the U.K actually use GPS sensors and devices to record both how fast cars go and the damage that happens to them. The manufacturing industry has embraced the use of radio frequency identification tags. RFID tags are insightful in how many goods see movement through their supply chains, so inventory levels can be reduced. In either case, the devices and sensors aren’t worth much unless there is infrastructure support to manage and capture the data in an economical and reliable fashion.

Broad-scope analytics.

Manufacturers and pharmaceutical businesses alike are now in the habit of deploying computing grids that are low in cost but make it feasible to test or develop products and drugs that might have been unthinkable just ten years ago.

Market experience.

Across many sectors, companies can enjoy tremendous benefits from fast reaction times, whether it’s establishing sales locations in a quickly-growing region, meeting increased service demand when online traffic surges, or just providing customers robust off-site support. Great infrastructure units are able to support each of those goals, and far more.

Consumer experiences.

Leading service providers and retailers provide multiple avenues of interaction to their customers, be it kiosks, in person, call centres, or wireless phones. In order to perfect the consumer experience, the best businesses know they have to have flexibility so that customers can be easily routed through various kinds of networks with ease. That sort of flexibility is only the result of a finely tuned corporate infrastructure.

Workforce productivity.

Clerical, technical, managerial, sales and professional personnel are going to do the majority of their work within the business infrastructure, whether it’s by using smartphones, tablets, and cloud applications to putting in a lot of time with desktop productivity tools. Infrastructure organisations that want to create value have to make choices on matters like balancing ease of use with security, what kinds of personal devices are logical choices, and where video-conferencing technology should get deployed.

Developer productivity.

So many app developers spend as much as a third of their week acting like amateur system engineers. They’ll put hours into tackling incompatibilities, consulting with network and server teams, and grappling with what technologies they should pick to fill existing gaps. Their time would be far more effectively used in writing code or even modelling apps for various business processes.

Engage the Company

What do you have to do in order to make business executives and managers aware of how valuable infrastructure is without looking like you’re just being territorial? We know a few approaches that prove effective most of the time.

First of all, be credible on the simple things.

Like never before, corporate leadership expects solid execution on service levels and costs before they’ll even think about advancing things. From their point of view, innovation and value creation aren’t substitutes for efficiency but complements to it.

Be aware of the painful parts.

Infrastructure eventually makes contact with all aspects of a company. Harness the centrality of that to identify groups with aren’t doing well with analytics, who might have the biggest needs in terms of getting results from development teams and even identifying sites that might need to be closed or opened cheaper and faster.

Make company leadership know that when used right, IT infrastructure isn’t just something that can take customer orders efficiently, but be a tool they can use in the determination and execution of their overall strategy for an establishment.