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Preparing for growth: how to future-proof your company’s IT system

 

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Digital transformation has become something of a buzzword in recent years but that doesn’t change the fact that technology is now at the heart of every modern business.

Having the right IT system in place not only gives your enterprise a base from which to grow and develop it can also give you the edge on the competition. Adopting the right technological infrastructure allows you to work smarter and make data-driven strategic decisions, which will ultimately help you to deliver on your long term goals.

So how can you future-proof your company’s IT system to make sure that you have all the tools you need to succeed?

Conduct a technology needs assessment

The first thing any business should do is conduct a technology needs assessment to determine what the gaps are between where your business is and where you want it to be. This means carrying out an audit of your infrastructure, processes and systems to see if they support your current business objectives and your future growth.

The aim is to align your IT system with your business strategy to ensure that you have the means to deliver your future business goals and strategic objectives.

If you determine that you do need to update your IT system, you’ll also need to assess how much time and money you can dedicate to this process and which provider will cause the least disruption. Consider the updates that you need to prioritise for success in the short and long term, how this implementation will impact on your current business and what system will deliver the best results within your budget.

Look at drivers for change in your industry

Are there any potential changes coming down that line that you need to factor into your assessment? Is your industry facing any regulatory changes that will require technology updates? For instance, many businesses improved their systems to accommodate the introduction of GDPR and avoid the potentially crippling penalties that could result from non-compliance.

Business demands change rapidly in the digital age so you need to be able to anticipate potential changes and to stay ahead of the curve – not to mention your competitors. This also means anticipating changes to your core product or shifts in customer behaviour.

So if you have a retail store, you may want to swap a static till for a tablet-based point of sale system. This can allow staff to interact with customers on the floor, refer to a portable product catalogue on their tablets and make a sale from anywhere in the store. That’s just one way that technology can facilitate changes that can drive sales and improve customer satisfaction.

To keep up with the needs of today's unpredictable and complex enterprise networks, businesses need a new approach, and software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is the perfect technology to enable this.

What is SD-WAN and what does this mean for my business?

SD-WAN, or software-defined wide area network, is the newest capability in the world of WAN, designed to address the new challenges that your business is facing.

The growth of mobile devices, mobile apps and data use are a key reason why businesses must innovate in processes and technology. Unfortunately, IT infrastructures aren’t always fit for a cloud-centric world where speed, scalability and high-performing applications are a must.

SD-WAN allows a fast and agile network that gives you network visibility, enhanced control and all the flexibility you require. It gives you a complete view of your business, helping you to make informed, data-based business decisions in real-time.

Software-based enterprise networks also reduce the need for manual interventions, allowing you to adjust and tweak your network use remotely across multiple business branches or to easily prioritise bandwidth to the most critical apps and functions. It allows you to provide Wi-Fi to all your branches and ensures that your employees and customers can enjoy secure, high-speed connectivity across your entire business.

Think agile, think flexible

Even larger firms are adopting a startup mentality to cope with the pace of change in this digital age. That means choosing cloud-based solutions that can be easily scaled up, being able to quickly adapt your IT suite to accommodate changing business needs, and basing strategic decisions on data and analytics.

SD-WAN can support your workforce anywhere in the world at any time. Applications and software can also be accessed from the cloud.

A loss of connectivity in one or more location that would once have resulted in lengthy downtime and a potential loss of revenue can now be centrally resolved using the in-house management portal.

Vodafone Ireland recently launched a new SD-WAN solution to help Irish businesses future-proof their network, giving them greater control over their network usage with enhanced connectivity and security.

“As businesses follow a digital transformation agenda, use more cloud-based services and support more remote and flexible working, there will be further demands on their network and connectivity requirements,” says Regina Moran, business director with Vodafone Ireland. "Imagine a tool that gives you total visibility of what’s happening on your network and also allows you to solve everyday networking issues.”

Software-defined networks can give businesses the framework for real change and allow them to can take control of their own connectivity needs and demands, embracing the digital future.

To learn more about SD-WAN, check out the Vodafone website.

Online Editors