Business management is no easy feat. And small- and medium-sized business IT departments, unlike their enterprise-level counterparts, aren’t always certain when it comes to resources, budgets as well as objectives. Smaller footprints translate into a trickier working environment for your IT professionals. This begs the question: What IT components will work for you and your business’s needs?
Searching for the right technologies are like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Although it’s almost impossible to locate, when you actually do, it might be too little, too late. If you catch yourself thinking about such a predicament, it’s time to make some changes. This is why businesses -- especially smaller ones -- need to carefully plan their IT infrastructure and to constantly adapt it to ever-changing circumstances.
By closely paying attention to your company’s IT infrastructure, not only will you be able to enhance current operations, but also anticipate future events while developing a long-term plan for your company’s IT resources. With the help of these following tips, you’ll be able to effortlessly optimize your IT infrastructure, regardless of the size of your organization.
Make a checklist
Get the ball rolling by making a checklist of the steps you need to take to construct a reliable IT infrastructure. The five main components include:
- Means of communication - since getting in touch with customers are a vital part of every business day, companies will be needing reliable methods of communication such as the affordable and efficient Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony system.
- Accounting software - it’s vital that you have an efficient financial management system that helps you keep up with expenses, invoice clients, pay vendors and even track time you spend on client projects.
- Cloud productivity suites - with it, you’ll be able to enhance overall operational efficiency by allowing authorized users to access files from anywhere and at anytime, while also encouraging staff collaboration in the process
- Customer relationship management software - CRMs are used to track emails and conversations with potential clients, because monitoring their online activity can help lead to more sales. It’s important to have CRMs in place because as your business grows, so do the customers’ requirements -- and it’s essential to always be on top of them.
- Cloud storage options - free up physical devices and boost operational efficiency by utilizing cloud-based storage options that allow for file access from anywhere and on any Internet-enabled device.
You can work without a server until you connect more than three workstations to the same network. Beyond that, you need to consider deploying a server. That’s when the server/workstation ratio becomes a factor. Typical practical servers are capable of servicing up to 25 or more users, but for small- and medium-sized businesses, a ratio of one server to ten users is ideal.
Prioritize support according to your core business elements
For example, if your business focuses on retail, it’s important to have tech resources such as a point-of-sale technology that enables you to facilitate credit card transactions. But if your staff spends most of the business day at their desks, it’s best to have a reliable email solution. The point is, before you can isolate and eliminate your organization’s tech IT inefficiencies, it’s integral that you designate your most immediate area of concern first.
Technology-spending as an operating expense
According to a report from a team of IT analysts from the University of California, Berkeley, small businesses should view IT expenditure as an operation expense instead of a capital one. Because technology is constantly changing, why think of it and spend money on it as if it were a permanent thing? This can be seen in how the cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS) model provides powerful business tools to small business owners at an affordable, monthly rate.
Insist on scalability
With today’s cloud-based services, it’s easier than ever to adjust IT spending levels in accordance with your actual needs, thus positively affecting your cash flow. A decade ago, none of this was even possible; nowadays, you can purchase a single-user license and scale up whenever you see fit. In the past, starting small businesses required significant capital investments in both voice and data networking technologies. But now, with software-as-a-service (SaaS), your company's entire database fits in your hand, and and allows for enhanced employee collaboration.
Building the right IT infrastructure is like paving the way for your company’s future success, but only if it’s done properly. PC Lan Techs provides IT infrastructure solutions that’ll help you optimize your tech resources. For more information, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email!