Infrastructure Management: IT Chore or Competitive Advantage?
Managing IT infrastructure has always been a headache for businesses and the efforts to align IT operations with the business strategy yet another challenge. Enterprises need responsive and cost-effective IT infrastructures, which can rapidly adapt to changes in business processes. This need for responsive IT infrastructures is becoming more pressing in our era, where companies have to be agile and adaptive to continually changing market conditions. IT Infrastructure Management is a discipline that, when done right,can ensure flexibility, scalability, high-performance and cost-effectiveness of IT infrastructures in a way that fulfills rapidly changing business needs and achieves overall effectiveness. In practice, Infrastructure Management manages IT policies, processes, equipment, data and related human resources. The management of equipment includes hardware, software, workstations, servers, network and storage devices, security devices, laptop and desktop systems and more. This is the reason why IT infrastructure management is in several cases divided into sub-categories such as systems management, network management, and storage management.
Nowadays, CIOs (Chief Information Officers) are offered different ways to manage their IT infrastructure, including both, on premise and remote management methods. Furthermore, they have the opportunity to outsource IT infrastructure management operations, as modern technology and the internet facilitates remote management of systems and devices. CIOs must therefore select the best option that would enable them to maximize the effectiveness of their IT operations and subsequently improve their business results.
In general, infrastructure management is driven by the following goals:
Continuous improvement is an integral element of IT services management standards and methodologies, which include infrastructure management aspects. Several organizations (typically large ones) exploit IT service management standards in order to gain access to proven best practices about managing their infrastructure and services. Two of the most prominent IT service management standards that include infrastructure management aspects are:
One of the main strategic decisions for CIOs, in terms of infrastructure management, relates to the outsourcing of infrastructure management. The rationale behind an outsourcing decision is mainly twofold:
While outsourcing provides clear advantages, some organizations still go for in-house solutions for reasons related to trust and their desire to have full control over infrastructure operations. The final decision on whether to outsource or not includes the evaluation of various trade-offs and the calculation of value for money. Moreover, CIOs can choose whether to outsource all aspects of infrastructure management or selected ones, such as aspects related to data center management, end-user computing, technical support and more.
By and large, infrastructure management is a key to organizational productivity and excellent business results. It’s probably time to reflect on how you currently manage your IT infrastructure and what can be done to get the most out of it.
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