A Well-Managed IT Infrastructure Makes IT a Strategic Asset
While most executives realise that technology is crucial to the running - and the success - of their businesses, many will admit that the state of their IT systems is less than optimal. For example, software versions and security updates might be inconsistent across workstations, network trouble could prevent people from doing their jobs, and IT staff might need to spend valuable time manually installing updates and inventing workarounds for problems. Analysts say more than 70 percent of a typical IT budget is spent on infrastructure, such as servers, operating systems, storage, and networking. Refreshing and managing desktop and mobile devices adds additional cost.
To help companies advance from costly and inefficient IT environments, Microsoft offers guidance in the form of the Infrastructure Optimization Model. This model outlines steps companies can take to analyse where they are today and to plan for and create an IT environment that is well managed, secure, and efficient. In the most mature state, IT is incorporated into business strategy and used as a valuable asset in the growth and success of the company.
While enterprises and midsize businesses have unique needs that influence their technology decisions, they share the need for a well-managed and secure infrastructure. That infrastructure is the foundation for the business, whether large or small, and it must have the reliability, security, and flexibility not only to sustain the business, but to help it thrive.
Challenges for Enterprises. Large companies need to manage a level of complexity that can span thousands of desktops all over the world. They may have several IT departments in different locations, using various platforms, applications, and hardware throughout the company. Data volumes can be huge. Growth and rapid developments in new technologies may have resulted in data center and desktop infrastructures that are overly complex, inflexible, and difficult to manage with built-in costs that are not only high, but somewhat fixed regardless of changing business requirements. Because of the sheer number of computers, employees, partners, and customers involved in a large company, security needs are more complicated.
“A well-managed and secure IT infrastructure can be a catalyst for company growth.”
Nevertheless, workers must be able to find the accurate, current information they need in a quick and secure manner. Customers and partners need easy online interaction, and everyone needs to be able to communicate from wherever they are. The Infrastructure Optimization Model addresses the complex and ever-changing IT environment of enterprises and provides steps for them to optimise their infrastructure.
Challenges for Midsize Businesses. Midsize businesses need to have an infrastructure that provides the level of service people expect when doing business today?quick access to the electronic resources they need, the ability to communicate and collaborate online, and up-to-date business tools to do their jobs. However, midsize businesses may not have the luxury of a large IT department. One or two people may be responsible for all IT strategy and management. Additionally, funds for IT development may be tight.
Because of these limited resources, it is crucial for midsize businesses to simplify their IT systems and use technology that automates processes, improves security, and minimizes technology problems that prevent workers from doing their jobs. The Infrastructure Optimization Model provides a map for midsize businesses to optimise their infrastructure at a level that is appropriate for them without unnecessary complications.
Solution: Automated, Dynamic, and Strategic IT
Whether in an enterprise or a midsize business, a well-managed and secure IT infrastructure can be a catalyst for company growth, freeing time for IT professionals to develop strategic technology solutions that help achieve business goals. An optimised IT infrastructure is one that is automated, dynamic, and a strategic asset. It will make a company more secure, reduce costs, and increase productivity.
Improving Security. Many businesses have a variety of security-related products in place to help protect their computers from spam, viruses, and hackers. Managing multiple applications, tracking updates, and helping to ensure that third-party updates are compatible with existing software are professionals' lives today.
An integrated security solution helps to protect the core infrastructure, the network, and the applications that run within the network. Additionally, when security patches and updates can be distributed from a central location and easily managed, IT managers can know that computers are running the latest updates. An integrated solution means that security fixes are part of everyday infrastructure management, versus a handwritten reminder on the day's to-do list.
Reducing Costs. Every extra task IT professionals need to perform costs money. Every failed attempt of workers to access the tools and information they need costs money. Every minute a network is down because of a technology failure or a security breach costs money. Simplicity is the key to reducing such costs.
“Improved system uptime means improved employee uptime.”
Simplifying IT management helps IT administrators to manage desktops and servers from a central location, saving time spent traveling to remote offices and performing the tasks. Additionally, when IT professionals update workstations and servers from a single location, they can be sure all systems are quickly up to date, thereby reducing vulnerabilities in the business.
With an integrated solution that improves server system performance, employees become more productive because they can access their resources (files, data, and applications) more quickly. Additionally, improved system uptime means improved employee uptime. It is not uncommon for employees to damage their workstations by installing incompatible software that causes their computers to stop running. User support is simplified and decreased with the ability of a centralized solution that better controls the changes that users can make on their computers.
Enhancing Productivity. Productivity gains are realised throughout the company when a well-managed and more secure infrastructure is in place. Whether it is the ability for workers to more securely access their e-mail, files, or applications from any location, or an IT professional who can now manage the infrastructure proactively from one location, or an executive who is editing a strategic proposal and needs to recover a lost file?productivity gains are made, and employee satisfaction is improved.
Conclusion: Fit the Infrastructure to the Business
The Infrastructure Optimization Model offers a starting place for enterprises and midsize organizations to evaluate the current state of their IT infrastructures and learn how to achieve the level of maturity appropriate for their businesses.
Microsoft and partners can provide the technologies, processes, and procedures to help customers move through the infrastructure optimization journey. Processes move from fragmented or nonexistent to optimised and repeatable. The ability to use technology to improve business agility and deliver business value increases as a company moves to a more mature state, empowering information workers and managers, and supporting new business opportunities.
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> Learn how to reduce costs of the business desktop.
> Improve IT management with the Dynamic Systems Initiative.
> Assess your IT status with the Microsoft Operations Framework.