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Four Critical IT Elements for a More Productive Business

IT is now a boardroom discussion. Beyond troubleshooting server issues and maintaining network security, IT initiatives must provide company-wide ROI and work in unison with other department objectives. But the link between corporate efficiency and technology spending isn’t always obvious—here are four critical IT elements your business needs to improve productivity.

Cloud Computing

Any talk about business productivity isn’t complete without mentioning the cloud. It’s no surprise—the ability to spin up resources on demand and free up local servers is pushing the public cloud market to $127 billion over the next four years, as noted by Network World. This is just the beginning. Real productivity in the cloud stems not from success, but failure. A recent Virtual-Strategy Magazine article notes that while failure on in-house servers is catastrophic, failure in the cloud is cause for celebration.

Why? Because it allows IT departments to fully test new applications or configurations and “break” them in a totally safe environment. Local services are never interrupted and when a cloud instance is completely destabilized, companies simply shut it down and spin up a new one for further testing. The end result is less time between discussion and deployment of new IT solutions.

BYOD Management

Fierce Mobile IT discusses the rise of BYOD in corporate environments—it’s no longer a question of “if” but “when” users will be given complete access to both personal and business devices while at work. Survey data is split on productivity when it comes to mobile—some research indicates that worker productivity goes down when they have access to personal devices, while workers themselves report both increased satisfaction and efficacy. Bottom line? Businesses need effective IT oversight of BYOD to ensure productivity doesn’t suffer while employees develop a balance between work and personal use.

There are two keys to success with BYOD. First, IT departments must be prepared to handle any and all devices. Arbitrarily limiting access to a particular manufacturer or brand tends to produce “shadow IT” users who circumvent mobile policies they deem unfair. Second, businesses must be willing to invest in a mobile device management (MDM) solution and make it clear that personal devices require governance under the MDM to gain corporate network access. With the right oversight, it’s possible to increase productivity without losing control.

Network Virtualization

The network is now a sticking point for many companies. Even leveraging cloud services and enabling BYOD collaboration, productivity takes a nosedive if your corporate network can’t keep up. One option gaining popularity is Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). As reported by a recent WhaTech article, the NFV market is on track to reach $10 billion by 2015.

So what’s the big deal? Done right, NFV increases productivity by virtualizing network functions commonly handled by hardware. Abstracting this layer makes it possible to migrate functions as needed and create an agile infrastructure, helping to eliminate network bottlenecks.

Outsourcing IT Talent

While some companies are consolidating IT functions in-house, most are opting for outsourced alternatives, according to Computer Weekly. The biggest benefit for businesses? Specificity. Local IT professionals are pulled in multiple directions at once—called on to fix hardware failures, solve software problems, manage BYOD policies and justify technology spending to C-suite executives. By outsourcing basic IT functions, companies can take advantage of professional talent outside their ecosystem and assign these workers mission-critical tasks. Productivity increases as essential work is completed by outside talent while in-house IT are free to pursue more strategic objectives.

Start with the cloud, then extend your reach to BYOD. As demand grows, virtualize network functions and outsource routine IT tasks—leverage the right IT elements, and you can significantly improve productivity.

By David Eisner, President & CEO at Dataprise, Inc

He founded Dataprise in 1995 and has led its growth from tiny start-up to recognized leader in providing managed IT services to small and medium-size businesses.

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