The name sounds ominous, but the function is actually straight-forward. Infrastructure optimization (IO) is based on measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of your company’s existing technology, and discovering areas for improvement.
Effectiveness deals with how the technology complements your business goals and works into your current structure. Efficiency deals with how well the technology is serving your business.
The goal of IO is to address common concerns of small business owners, such as:
- the vulnerability of systems and how to keep them safe
- opportunities to reduce costs associated with technology
- ensuring compliance of systems
- managing resources within security protocols
Three Main Parts
Infrastructure optimization is typically broken down into three parts:
1) Core, which is centered on platforms. Technologies in the core section are typically considered costs associated with doing business. As such, efficiency plays an integral role here, since business owners want to be sure they’re getting the most “bang for their buck.”
2) Business Productivity, which is essentially where the most useful applications are stored. Examples include unified communications, collaboration tools, and more.
3) Application Platform, which is centered around in-house application development. Aspects analyzed in this stage include data management and business systems.
Stages and Characteristics
Four stages are involved in infrastructure optimization: basic, standardized, rationalized, and dynamic.
The basic stage is problem-driven, such as how to reduce downtime. The standardized stage is reactive, commonly referring to keeping operations running smoothly. The rationalized stage takes a proactive approach that focuses on accountability, predictability, and areas for improvement.
Also considered to be a proactive step, the dynamic stage deals first with optimizing costs versus quality as it pertains to new and existing company technology, and also self-assessment and continual improvement, so the company can take a ‘cutting edge’ approach to technical innovation.
Challenges for Business Leaders
The main challenges for business leaders and information technology (I.T.) professionals as they pertain to infrastructure management are three-fold:
Simplifying infrastructure and management. This entails nearly every business function, including compliance, innovation, customer service, employee skill sets, and even business growth.
Reducing costs and complexity. This includes technology maintenance, server sprawl, software updates, and more. This aspect directly affects the bottom line for small businesses.
Improving security. In an age of increasing cyber-attacks, business leaders are more focused than ever on preventing data breaches and staying on top of evolving threats, while still providing secure access to those who need it.
It’s important to note that infrastructure optimization is an ongoing endeavor. As technology changes, so must the business approach to IO.
by Enid Ahylhienatta
Residential Life Magazine