Get the most out of existing infrastructure with five key habits
Jan 19th, 2017

Johan Scheepers, SE Director MESAT for CommVault in South Africa

By Johan Scheepers, Commvault Systems Engineering Director for MESAT

Information Technology (IT) is critical to the success of any organisation, no matter the size. But investing in IT infrastructure can be a complex endeavour. While growing data and ever-evolving systems increase the demand on IT, the current economic climate is putting pressure on businesses to decrease their budgets. Doing more with less means that CIOs need to maximise their investment and current infrastructure while continuing to deliver a quality service to the business.

There are five habits that can be employed in order to extract the most out of your existing IT infrastructure while being both effective and cost effective:

Assess what you already have

IT environments today consist of multiple systems, and hardware and software components, which are always evolving.  Business’ cannot afford wastage – of both money and space – caused by unused or duplicated IT functions and components. In order to avoid this, it is vital that CIO’s conduct habitual assessments of all your services, capabilities and systems. This process will enable businesses to keep tabs of what they have, what the expected lifespan of the infrastructure is, and what needs upgrading, or replacing, and when.

Based on the results of the assessment, the necessary tweaks can be cost effectively made, and without unnecessary replacements. Where replacements and upgrades are needed, it may be beneficial to select agnostic solutions that don’t require vendor lock in, in order to remain flexible and agile while allowing for easy scaling in future.

Invest in skills training

Maximise the capabilities of the business’ IT products, services and infrastructure by ensuring its staff complement is well trained in their uses and functions. Not only does proper training increase the productivity – and value – of both staff and IT infrastructure, but it also raises morale, leading to a higher rate of job satisfaction and, therefore, lower staff turnover.

Lower staff turnover, higher productivity and optimal use of infrastructure means less capital and time wasted on unused systems. It also means fewer – if any – unnecessary IT investments and greater confidence in existing infrastructure.

Update wherever necessary

Many IT departments leave “well enough” alone by not upgrading or updating any outdated infrastructure that appears to be working. However, by not upgrading where necessary, systems are left vulnerable to hacking along with a snowball effect of poor performance where old equipment negatively impacts new. Outdated infrastructure can also keep a business from evolving with the changing markets, and it can hinder interoperability with newer systems, rendering them ineffective.

By continually updating and implementing small changes as and when they are needed, business’ can save large-scale expenditure to a later date. It also makes sense to choose upgrades that are included in your license fees as much as possible in order to remain agile without the added cost.

Consider the cloud

By utilising a number of cloud-based services instead of investing in expensive on premise infrastructure, companies can benefit from a host of services at a manageable monthly cost. Not only does this enable agility, but it also provides the ability to experiment with new business models without large sum, once-off capital expenditure. Cloud services also offer the ability to innovate quicker than ever before, while enabling almost infinite scalability.

That said, it is imperative that business’ leverage solutions that provide ‘cloud mobility’, delivering the freedom to move workloads between on premise systems and various cloud offerings. This provides an exit strategy which can mean the difference between agility at any cost, and agility with controllable costs.

Constantly and consistently review

In order to properly and continually maximise infrastructure, this process – habits one through four – needs to be reviewed and repeated as often as possible. With the constant evolution of technology and all the changes it brings, it is important to ensure the IT infrastructure keeps up and the department continues to deliver the services that are expected of it.

Planning frequent reviews of a company’s infrastructure, systems and processes ensures the momentum is kept going and the IT infrastructure remains at its peak, constantly contributing positively to the growth and performance of the organisation.

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