One of the biggest challenges small- and medium-sized business (SMBs) face every day is competing with large corporations. To gain a competitive edge, they need an IT infrastructure that increases efficiency, boosts productivity, and cuts operating costs. But unlike large corporations, many small businesses have limited funds and IT expertise, which poses problems in building a powerful IT system.
Implementing and maintaining an IT infrastructure is not easy. The key is to tailor-fit your IT systems according to your needs and make it a top priority. The following guidelines will help your organization build a top-notch infrastructure without the excessive spending.
Focus on critical business requirements
Every business requires an IT infrastructure that supports its particular operational needs. For instance, an accounting firm needs software tools that allow them to work remotely and access office files via the cloud. Accounting software like Sage Intacct and Microsoft Dynamics GP improve workflow and make accountants' life much easier. If you are a professional service provider in a highly competitive market, you need a robust, scalable solution that provides real-time business insights like the Dynamics 365.
Assess server-workstation ratio
A client/server-based network is a central computer that hosts resources. It's surprising that many companies don't bother implementing it considering that not having one makes IT more difficult to manage. When you have three or more computers connected to a network, you will need a server for storage and other functions to maximize your experience and cut costs.
Note that a decent server, priced no more than a desktop, can service up to 25 users and one server to 10 users is sensible for smaller organizations. If you have questions, it is always best to consult an IT professional from a reliable company like WhiteOwl.
Ensure network speed
A slow network hampers productivity and incurs costs that multiply as maintenance takes more time. Those unproductive hours can be averted simply by choosing the right cables or properly matching hardware and software. Your staff will be much more productive when they're able to work using a consistently fast internet connection.
The general rule is to allot approximately 20% of server cost on decent networking equipment, and an additional 15% every year for maintenance. Specific hardware cost may vary depending on your chosen components.
Rightsized your infrastructure
Large and small businesses differ in many ways, so what works for a large manufacturing company with multiple offices may not work for a downtown clothing store with less than 20 employees. If you are a small organization with an inappropriately large IT infrastructure, you may be hurting your budget with all the unused or underutilized resources. On the other hand, an undersized infrastructure will damage performance.
It is important to consider business growth when designing a modern IT infrastructure or you risk having a system that proves inadequate in the long run. The goal is to scale according to your needs so you don’t have to spend time and money on upgrades and new systems. You don’t want your IT team to accommodate expansion by haphazardly implementing additional technologies. This spells trouble and may ultimately affect your bottom-line.
The roadmap to success includes a streamlined IT infrastructure, especially if you are a small- or medium-sized business. Get in touch with us today so we can talk about the technology options that suit your requirements and budget.