5 crucial tips for developing a growth-ready IT department

Published
  • February 16 2017, 4:00am EST

5 crucial tips for developing a growth-ready IT department

Preparing for change requires speed, flexibility and scaleability.

The New Cloud Demands

“Building and maintaining a cloud computing platform will be much different in 2017 than it has been in past years,” explains Marc Malizia, chief technology officer and cofounder of RKON Technologies. “Today’s business climate is driven by many forces constantly disrupting traditional IT culture. Digital transformation is helping companies share information more efficiently and quickly, but it is also complicating IT systems management and strategy. Companies are approaching the new realities of IT transformation in different ways.”

As an example, Malizia says many organizations are leveraging social media, mobile solutions, big data analytics and collaboration systems, often called the SMAC stack, to aid transformation. “For the IT team, these drivers pose difficult challenges as it’s not uncommon for fast moving businesses to make so many requests that they leave IT in their wake—unless the in-house IT pros have the capacity, expertise and inclination to construct a computing platform built for accelerated growth and flexibility.” Following are five things all companies should know when it comes to building a high growth IT infrastructure.

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A noisy platform doesn’t scale

“The computing environment must be able to scale up quickly in response to the plethora of business requests,” Malizia says. “In order to efficiently and effectively extend and adapts, your network platforms must be quiet and stable.

A noisy network is extremely limiting because when the quantity and volume of noise grows, the network’s issues or instabilities increase as well. It doesn’t take long for the amplification of these issues to cause a roadblock which can ultimately lead to unacceptable downtime and outages. In light of these risks to business continuity, it is very important to build a stable network driven by clear process and procedures.”

Embrace the cloud where applicable

“When it comes to building stable and scalable networks, most cloud-enabled managed service providers (MSP) know how to do it right—as they should because that is their business,” Malizia notes.

“So, why not leverage an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) MSP to host your systems, provide storage and manage backup. You can still administer your systems and applications, but consider offloading the mundane tasks of server hardware oversight, system backups, provisioning storage and other complex and costly tasks.”

Focus on saying ‘yes’

“Many companies and executive teams have a perception that IT is often a roadblock, impeding progress and the achievement of business goals,” Malizia says. “The best way to counter this and demonstrate the value of IT is by saying ‘yes’ when the business needs IT services.

Transform the process of interacting with IT into a positive and productive encounter and in turn, this functional department will move into a strategic position. In order to say ‘yes’ IT must have a game plan for responding to all requests. This requires a flexible, scalable and dynamic infrastructure.”

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Speed to execution trumps control

“With the emergence of the cloud and cloud-based services, the mentality of where the solution resides and who controls it must be secondary to speed,” Malizia explains. “Today’s businesses are in constant competition and speed to implement is often the difference between success and failure.

If a solution can be implemented in the cloud more quickly than internally, with similar cost and effectiveness, then it should be considered. IT cannot place its desire to control and manage a solution internally above the inherent benefit of having a solution quickly provisioned externally. IT pros must understand that the main objective is to meet the business needs in the best manner possible.”

Reduce the cost of 'keeping the lights on’

“Industry statistics tell us that 80 percent or more of the IT budget can go towards maintenance costs,” Malizia says. “This does not allow much investment in new technologies or services to keep the computing platform stable and ready for growth. IT needs to find creative and effective ways to lower maintenance costs in order to increase the budget for growth.

One way to lower maintenance costs is to leverage IaaS for server hosting, storage and backup needs. IaaS can usually lower the operating cost of servers, storage and backup by 20-25 percent, while giving your team time to focus on business support. There are also many cost effective Software-as-a-Service solutions that can reduce the software budget and minimize the services required to deploy, support and upgrade these software suites.”