Working life has changed drastically in recent months. Speedy digital transformation has been critical for business continuity and has been driving growth even during these challenging times.
The current climate has also put immense strain on the IT infrastructure. As entire workforces made the switch to online applications – firing up their home Wi-Fi and ultimately becoming remote employees overnight – many organizations were forced to completely adapt their operations.
Business infrastructure may not have been built with a pandemic in mind, but enterprises with clearly outlined disaster recovery measures in place should be able to better navigate adversity. There is a huge learning curve and managers are analyzing how best to support customers and employees.
While people and health come first, there are still high expectations for service levels and client satisfaction. That also includes security considerations, business protection and continuity, and the reduction of capital expenditure.
As many enterprises refocus their longer-term goals, a lean and agile way of operating should ensure excellence. Having cost-effective, scalable ways to run a company puts the notion of “everything as a service” at the forefront. It’s now down to modern leaders and their teams to re-evaluate how to promote a competitive edge, empower employees and maximize customer experience and satisfaction – all with technology as an enabler.
Even before the pandemic, Gartner analysts predicted that 70% of IT infrastructure teams would be unable to support the business by 2025. The report highlighted skills, operating models, and working practices as risk factors – all of which continue to provide immense obstacles when aiming for business continuity.
In addition, The State of IT Modernization 2020 report found that while 67% of respondents cited IT modernization as crucial to meeting their business transformation objectives, only 25% achieved these initial goals. Organizations spent an average of 40% of their total IT budgets on such initiatives.
Therefore, getting the infrastructure right and ensuring projects built around IT operations are successful is critical for companies. The “utopia” of offering a strong and robust foundation from which applications can be delivered fast to an exponentially growing and enthusiastic market is the holy grail. So, where should the focus now lie?
Developing skills to enhance a firm’s competitive advantage
Employees are the lifeblood of an organization. They’re the key to innovation and the people who can transform brands because they truly understand the end users’ needs.
Leaders must pinpoint skills shortages and address them swiftly. If a new recruit is required, the answer might not always lie in traditional employment models. Could the latest addition be an experienced professional who produces exceptional work deliverables on a project basis? Or is the answer to outsource work to managed service provider?
Understanding where the required skills sit means that managers can identify exactly who they need and how they must deliver. And, of course, learning and development should be embedded in every profitable enterprise, so it’s vital to ensure that these options are accessible to existing staff.
Providing security that safeguards connected devices
With the increased use of services, there are always going to be new cyber risks. Workforces must be reminded of the importance of remaining security conscious, while suppliers keep working on ways to ensure their products deter hackers.
Many organizations will be looking at ways to streamline infrastructure – such as via cloud migration – so that they can react quickly to customer demand and maintain data protection. Several firms may also delve into hybrid models to ensure complete safety.
Having a robust infrastructure relies on the integration of key technologies.
For example, some companies may opt for using the Message Query Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol – available in a number of implementations (including open source) such as the Mosquitto message broker.
Additionally, there are “defense in depth” security enablers especially for businesses using the Internet of Things (IoT) because they’re opening up a suite of devices. And operating an edge-to-core-to-cloud model can ensure security is built into the design.
Organizations should be thinking both about implementing robust recovery software measures, and exactly how they store critical information. Around 50% of data is set to be created outside of the datacenter at the edge, according to Gartner, and so leaders must understand where to host critical information securely and how to effectively access it.
The answer for many companies looking at longer-term networking strategies may be SD-WAN – to increase flexibility, provide a reliable secure service across all sites, monitor performance analytics in real time and scale connectivity up or down. In addition, Virtual Desk Infrastructure can safeguard connected devices and make sure they’re not vulnerable to attacks.
Encouraging an agile, flexible and adaptable team to meet challenges head-on
COVID-19 has shown the need for teams to embrace and manage change. Traditional operating models have been severely tested, and many are now emerging from the “make the best of it” phase to rolling out excellence that signifies long-term productivity.
Being agile relies on having a nimble and adaptable workforce that can continually review how they do things and roll-out innovative changes by bringing together technology, processes, and company culture.
Alleviating performance pressures to ensure a robust framework
When a system is unavailable because of server failures, network outages or other issues, it can impact day-to-day operations and severely damage brand reputation, productivity, and minimize the prospect of new business opportunities.
Being able to reduce downtime requires maintenance – via regular test server backups and reviewing devices – and being fully prepared for how to react to a potential risk.
Firms must also consider customer satisfaction levels and how they can be improved via IT – alongside providing cost-effective ways to ensure their infrastructure doesn’t completely drown resources. Hyper-connectivity solutions, as well as Artificial Intelligence and IoT, can improve a company’s tech framework when speed and flexibility are imperative.
Working remotely to maintain motivation
Employees operating from different locations may be business as usual for many tech businesses. Running such a model provides a huge array of benefits (increased productivity, reduced expenses and commuting time, etc.). Remote working also benefits the environment and improves sustainability.
All this has to be kept in mind when rethinking infrastructure, as it can positively affect a company’s bottom line and enable workforces to complete tasks swiftly and accurately because they’re working smarter and better with the right tech in place.
Finally, for those providing online services, remote operations streamline services and enhance efficiency, providing a better digital experience for end users.
Understanding how analytics can empower swifter, commercially savvy outcomes
To understand what’s working and what isn’t, leaders don’t need to look any further than the data. Critical information can shape how a company speaks to its customers and suppliers.
Having real-time insight allows teams to discover their audience’s wants and needs and forecast outcomes that can shape business decisions, while ensuring they’re adapting swiftly to market evolution.
Harnessing true, accurate data ensures greater visibility for companies as they become a trusted source of information. In addition, analytics solutions can provide enhanced transparency that not only builds a stronger in-house culture but produces brand advocates who can inspire innovation.
When it comes to infrastructure, it’s not always a case of completely ripping out an existing model and starting again. What’s important is to review the current state of play, plan the IT journey towards reinvigorating processes, underline the tech stack and the skills needed, as well as procurement and project delivery requirements. And all this must be done with employees’ buy-in and input.