Getting the business edge: IT simply applied

August 4, 2012

In his latest expert column, Ray Smyth of Swindon’s The IPstore says that while IT is increasingly plug-and-play, its optimisation and management isn’t. This requires an informed, proactive and engaged approach and for this, most organisations will need some professional help.
The components and solutions that make up the IT network on which your business or organisation depends are designed to carry out a particular role. Invariably they do this. However your IT network is not passive and inactive; rather it is very active, dynamic, adaptive and working in the background to simply keep up. You would literally be amazed if you understood the errors and problems that were dealt with automatically and without visibility of any sort, all of the time.
In recent years optimisation has become a specialist area of IT seeking to deal with a range of problems brought about by change in use, increase in data volumes and expectations of everything responding faster. The principle of optimisation can be applied to WAN, LAN, applications and storage and there is a wide and vibrant selection of vendors all claiming to help you avoid paying for more resources than you need, or losing business prospects because of unacceptably slow response time for staff, for example using a database or, increasingly, customers interacting with your web site.
In my experience the products and solutions on offer will do what they say. But the real challenge is do you actually know what is wrong in the first place? You need to, and there is no way around this and unless you employ a suitable qualified and experienced IT specialist, who by the way has access to a decent selection of suitable test and diagnostic tools, then you may waste your money and be left with that undiagnosed problem that is only set to get worse.
A detailed analysis based on nothing more than a review of your network topology will provide the expert eye with some highly dependable clues on possible root causes. With this some testing can take place with a view to relieving a pinch-point, bottleneck, or inadequately-sized data pipe. With victory in sight, remember that in resolving your number one optimisation problem, numbers two and three will move up the ranking – in other words, this may not be a one-problem, one-action cycle, again testifying to the need for some specialist help and an active approach.
While here I am focusing in on IT optimisation, it is without doubt one – just one – aspect of IT management that if not attended to will build up trouble and prepare to strike at the most inconvenient time, calculated to have the most adverse impact on your business operations. With no action on your part, all you have to do is wait…

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