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If you wanted to build a bridge or a building, you would start with a blueprint. That’s because, with the countless variables in play, stringing things together as you went along wouldn’t give you a particularly stable structure. Sure, it might serve its purpose, but it would require expensive upkeep as time wore on. And in the worst case you could end up with a catastrophe when you least expected it. That’s why when it comes to physical architecture, there’s never a question about how to pursue it – plan first, then act.
But this reality of physical infrastructure is often missed when we’re discussing IT infrastructure. That’s because business IT architecture often comes together piecemeal – introducing solutions and hardware as businesses scale with little thought given to the broader picture.
CompTIA’s recent report, Planning a Modern IT Architecture illustrates why it’s critical to plan your IT – especially for SMBs. According to the report, 41 percent of businesses with fewer than 100 employees do no IT planning whatsoever. But operating with an unplanned IT setup is a recipe for losing money in ways that aren’t always immediately apparent.
And as major trends in enterprise IT bring added complexity, it’s growing even more crucial for businesses to modernize their IT architecture – and plan as they expand.
The ROI of Planned IT
An IT revamp – full or partial – can carry an intimidating price tag. In the study, 40 percent report price as the prime hurdle to architectural planning. This and a lack of tech sophistication internally are often major sticking points. Businesses see themselves as getting along just fine with legacy systems – requiring individuals to learn and go through sometimes arcane processes to complete tasks.
But that’s precisely where the hidden costs lie. Work hours spent utilizing workarounds or placing tickets with the IT department to fix avoidable problems are hours that could otherwise be spent productively. That’s lost time – and lost money – that accumulates. Likewise, experiencing down-time, and even data loss or security breaches due to IT systems not built out to contemporary standards, can incur costs far more expensive than implementing correctly planned and built-out architecture.
And as new regulations for domestic and global commerce place more stringent compliance burdens on businesses, planned and organized IT is a must for hitting benchmarks.
More Cloud, More Planning
Cloud-based solutions have become go-to choices for operational streamlining of applications like email and Web content management. They’re cost-effective, especially for SMBs, and promise simplification. But integrating numerous cloud-based solutions and making them work in conjunction with internal IT can add even more complexity to an IT system if it’s done without a strategy.
That’s why, as cloud-based solutions continue to grow in popularity, planning IT will be even more critical for facilitating the secure integration of these tools – and the streamlined workflows they enable – into existing infrastructure.
IoT and the Future of Planned IT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to grow mainstream both in the consumer and enterprise markets. Businesses will no doubt want to avail themselves of the full range of wired building solutions (security surveillance cameras, smart-locks, smart thermostats, etc.). But as wired devices become ubiquitous, they will pose security and operational challenges.
Having a planned IT infrastructure will make integrating such devices into a network securely a less challenging prospect. Having a less coherent picture of how the networks, servers and cloud-based solutions in your business interact with each other, and attempting to add IoT to the mix on top of it can, as is the case with cloud, yield the opposite effect.
Starting the Conversation…
Informed conversations with the whole business are key to planning and implementing IT that meets everyone’s needs and saves money in the process.
And with adequate planning, a business can more effectively approach cloud migrations, IoT solutions and integrating any other tools a business may need far into the future.
To better understand how to get started, read CompTIA’s full report.