Supreme capability for your small business: Why you need to invest in IT infrastructure

Shamus Dougan
May 7, 2022

Robust, adaptable, capable IT infrastructure – this now is the aim of the game. But how do we get there? Every journey starts with an all-important first step, and this first step is picking your tools.

What sort of tools do you need within your IT infrastructure?

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You start a new project, and you look at your toolkit for tackling this project, but there's a problem: core capabilities are missing and key team members aren't supported. That feeling of frustration starts to rear its ugly head again...

To avoid this, you need to plan an IT infrastructure that will cover all bases with no gaps or missing pieces. This means you need tools that meet each one of your operational requirements and support your team members as they work. But what are these tools specifically? Here are a few of the key assets in your IT arsenal:

  • Email, file storage, and collaboration tools – Communication tools such as email help your teams remain connected with one another and with third-party users. Collaboration tools go even further, supporting real-time collaborative work across disparate, remote locations, backed up by file storage solutions that ensure documents are always secure and accessible.
  • Accounting package – Tools that provide insight into business performance and growth, as well as help you stay up to date on taxes.
  • Process/job tracking management – Software designed to provide insight into project-specific performance on key tasks, analysing how these tasks are being executed and where improvements can be made.
  • Customer relationship management – Getting to know your customers and improving the relationship you have with clients. By optimising relationships, you can achieve greater customer value across the entire lifecycle while also building a solid foundation for your business as it grows.

How to develop your specific toolset

Ok, now that you have a general understanding of the kinds of tools your IT infrastructure needs, let's slow it down a little. You need something tailored to your needs and your objectives.

This is where we really start to build something unique. Follow these steps and build a set of capabilities that meet your requirements and then some.

Prioritise your needs

Make a list of everything you want your tool to achieve for you, and then prioritise these needs. Note down your:

1.      Absolute-definite-must-haves

2.      Very-useful-to-haves

3.      Nice-to-have-but-not-a-deal-breakers

Obviously, you want to find tools that deliver across all three categories. If this is not possible, make those first two levels your priority.

Consider multiple account pricing

Pricing for IT tools can be head-scratchingly complex. Some tools are priced per account. Others are priced per seat or user, while others still simply have a one-size-fits-all price for the solution.

As a rule, you will want to make sure all your users have their own accounts when they use these tools. This might require a bit of budget-stretching, but it's far better than just having a single account for all your users.

Get the best out of free demos

The best things in life might be free, but this doesn't usually translate to IT. In the case of free demos, though, we can make an exception. These free demo versions are an excellent resource for you and your team to get to know your tools, so make sure you get the most out of them. Give your team members the chance to use the demo version of the tool, and provide feedback on how the tool will improve their experience. This is a useful – not to mention free – way to compare and contrast different pieces of software.

Talk to sales consultants

You're building your IT infrastructure, you're putting your toolkit together and then... you hit a snag. There's something you're not sure about, and you need a bit of guidance to overcome this obstacle. What do you do? Well, it's simple. You ask for help.

Sales consultants can provide useful support regarding the implementation process and the capabilities of each tool. While the consultant will be biased towards their own company's products – and this is something to consider when you weigh up your options – they will be able to offer direct insight into the practical implementation of their systems and tools.

Focus on integration with existing and future solutions

Have you ever invested in a shiny new tool to help with your business processes, only to discover it's not doing what you expected it to? You're not alone.

A lot of businesses make the mistake of investing in a tool that doesn't integrate well with their existing systems, causing frustration and wasted time and money.

You need to make sure the tool you choose is compatible with your other tools and can integrate securely with them. This will save you a lot of time and plenty of headaches further down the road. Also, think about future-proofing – what tools might you need to add in the future? How will you expand your capability as your business scales? Choosing a solution that can integrate with other tools and platforms via secure APIs makes this future planning easier.

Build a set of resources for onboarding

Remember that, in the future, you are going to need to onboard new users and train them on how to use the system. This means you need to document everything about the tool you choose, building a comprehensive set of resources that can be deployed when adding new users to the system.

Monitor and review on a regular basis

You need to be reviewing your systems and processes regularly, on an ongoing basis. Make sure you put aside time to achieve this monitoring, as this will tell you whether or not the tool is working for you. Review the prioritised list of needs and check which ones your tools are accomplishing for your business. Remember, no tools are perfect, but ongoing reviews can help you to get as close as possible to that perfection.

Choose outsourced IT from Intelligen

You don't have to go it alone when building your IT infrastructure.

We know that a well-functioning IT infrastructure is the backbone of any business. That's why we're here to help you every step of the way, from acquiring the necessary hardware and software to building and maintaining your system.

Let Intelligen be your guide as you build the perfect IT infrastructure for your business. We'll make sure everything is running smoothly so you can focus on what you do best – running your business!

Shamus Dougan

I am the Co-founder of Intelligen Technology Solutions. The company was started to take advantage of the changing technology in I.T. support services, and to bring cheaper and more responsive I.T. support to small and medium size business through out Australia.

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