Last time, we discussed 6 IT infrastructure challenges and red flags that can cause weaknesses in your systems. Now, we’re going to talk about how to fix your information system architecture and address infrastructure problems. First, you need to figure out what your current IT system architecture looks like. Without an accurate picture of your infrastructure, you’ll waste time trying things that don’t properly address the problems at hand.
Once you have an accurate picture of your current information technology architecture, you can begin focusing on the problem areas. If you have the budget to rebuild your IT architecture from the ground up, that’s great! You can design exactly what you want, leave room for growth and add in new capabilities as needed.
If you don’t have that kind of budget, you need to focus on the problems that pose the greatest risk to your organization and address those areas first.
In either scenario, once you have identified the high-risk areas, you can start implementing solutions.
There are multiple ways to fix bad IT systems infrastructure, so you’ll need to determine which solutions are best for your company’s needs. Here are a few types of IT architecture fixes and technologies to consider…
Automation is the task of reviewing manual business processes and automating them through the use of technology. This can typically be accomplished with software that can easily be implemented.
To get started, select a process that you would like to improve. Analyze each step in the process, meet with the people involved, discuss alternatives and then begin researching technology that will provide a suitable solution.
It is very easy to be too close to a process if you work within it every day. An outside set of eyes will really help you take a step back from the process and see it in a new light. This will allow you to find more effective solutions, as well as additional processes to automate.
Review Infrastructure & Network Architecture Diagrams
Regularly taking a step back from your existing infrastructure to look at the network as a whole is a great practice for identifying IT architecture problems . You need to do this periodically for the same reasons as mentioned above; you get too close to the network infrastructure and begin developing blinders to potential issues and challenges.
A network architecture diagram will do wonders to help you visualize all of the components in your network and how everything fits together. Reviewing the diagrams and system structure with other departments also provides a more holistic look at your system to determine pinch points and points of failure.
An extra set of eyes will bring a new perspective to your process, while identifying any questions or concerns you may be overlooking.
Technology software reviews typically take more time because there are more individual functions within each software package. If you have several packages, review time can add up pretty quickly. However, it is vital to review.
A ton of company time and effort can be wasted every day by using outdated or ineffective software. Your software users – employees or clients – will be your best resource for improvements and issues. They will know if too many clicks are needed to achieve a desired result or if they have to go get a cup of coffee when a given report runs; all you have to do is listen to them.
Look for opportunities to automate tasks or replace old software packages with newer solutions to save time (and money) in the long run.
One of the simplest ways to fix your IT infrastructure issues is to outsource it. These days, there are cloud services available for many business functions that meet very specific needs for your system’s architecture.
Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are just a few of the cloud solutions you can look into for your company. The cloud service provider handles the hassles of building and maintaining the support structure. You pay a set monthly fee that is easy to budget for.
Be careful though, although this sounds easy up front, there is a whole new set of problems that come with outsourcing cloud services. You must ensure you are working with an experienced cloud services team that understands your specific business needs and features.
Finally, to prevent IT red flags from coming back, make sure you have a simple framework in place for submitting IT suggestions, as well as maintaining and expanding your IT architecture. This may be as simple as implementing an electronic “suggestion box” or ticketing system (there are many free ones available).
You can also schedule regular hardware replacements, create a patch management schedule, establish policies regarding the selection and implementation of IT solutions, hold IT planning meetings and perform annual budget reviews.
The Bottom Line…
Take it one step at a time – there are many types of architecture issues to tackle. Taking a few steps today will go a long way to prevent problems in the future.