Most modern businesses rely heavily on their IT systems to manage internal processes, coordinate projects, and serve their customers. The integrity and performance of these systems is therefore vital to ensuring smooth business operations, meeting the expectations of customers, and managing relationships with all business stakeholders.
As we discussed previously, IT management and maintenance is vital to the delivery of efficient and reliable digital systems, however it isn’t the only piece in the jigsaw. You also need to ensure that your IT infrastructure is properly aligned with your business objectives, has the ability to scale and accommodate anticipated demand, and offers the digital experience that today’s tech-savvy customers both demand and expect.
4TC Managed IT Services – Proactive IT Services and Innovative Solutions for London Businesses
From managed IT and support, to cyber security and cloud services, 4TC provides the full spectrum of IT services London businesses need to grow and thrive in our digital age. Our mission is to help businesses work more productively and securely, with expertly managed solutions tailored to solve longstanding business challenges.
Partnering with a managed IT service provider grants businesses access to a wealth of technical expertise and industry insights. This allows MSPs to function as strategic partners to businesses, guiding and helping them adopt tailored solutions that meet their needs both now and into the future. In this article, we want to demonstrate how managed IT service providers can help businesses better align their IT with their strategic objectives, and optimise technology to achieve better performance and business efficiency.
Goal Alignment Assessment
At the beginning of an IT partnership, managed service providers work closely with businesses to understand their overarching objectives so that any strategic planning that follows helps drive the business towards its strategic goals.
This exercise will involve extensive consideration of both long and short term objectives, and may involve consultation with multiple stakeholders across the business in order to gain a range of perspectives. Organisational goals might include expansion plans, revenue targets and customer satisfaction outcomes.
The goal alignment assessment will take into account the interplay between business processes and the current IT system. It will consider any dependencies that exist within workflows, and any existing IT pain points that inhibit process efficiency. A technology capability analysis may be conducted, to determine the current IT system’s maturity, and its ability to support the business’s goals going forward.
This vital first step forms the basis for effective strategic planning, and ensures the IT provider has a full, contextualised understanding of the business, its goals and how well these are being supported by its current IT infrastructure.
Tailored Technology Roadmaps
Following on from the goal alignment assessment, managed service providers develop ‘technology roadmaps,’ which set out a phased plan for implementing the IT changes required to achieve the organisation’s goals using technology.
This phase of strategic planning maps technological solutions to specific goals, with great care taken to choose solutions that are appropriate to the scale, nature, compliance needs and budget of the business. Consideration could be given to a wide range of IT elements, including software, hardware, cloud services, cyber security controls and data management systems.
In most instances, a technology roadmap will seek to introduce changes incrementally, in order to minimise disruption, ensure project costs are manageable, and to align the IT strategy with the organisation’s timeline for achieving its goals more broadly.
After taking into account objectives, constraints and other requirements, technology roadmaps developed by MSPs help businesses leverage their IT system to achieve strategic objectives, ensure IT performance is continuously optimised, and move forward with a futureproof technology stack.
IT Resource Optimisation
A key aspect of the strategic IT guidance offered by managed service providers involves ensuring IT assets and resources are being deployed optimally in support of organisational objectives: a practice known as ‘resource optimisation.’
Resource optimisation will often feature an IT audit, a process that seeks to understand the lie of the land in terms of the business’s IT. This audit will aim to expose inefficiencies and redundancies, such as duplicate/overlapping software, underutilised hardware, and manual processes that could be quickly and easily automated.
Through resource optimisation, managed service provider can help businesses eliminate wasteful IT expenditure, introduce time-saving initiatives like automation to improve productivity, and create strategies for IT streamlining to create simpler, more efficient workflows.
Scalability and Flexibility
Ensuring IT systems are able to adapt and scale to meet changing business requirements is a vital consideration in strategic IT planning. Managed service providers can help businesses assess the scalability of their current IT infrastructure, and plan for changes that provide greater capacity when certain growth benchmarks are exceeded.
This aspect of strategic planning is also intimately linked with IT performance. MSPs will assess whether current IT systems have the capacity to handle increases in workload, data volumes and user demands without significant performance degradation. If current performance limitations are found, dynamic resource allocation may be implemented as a short-term option, whilst technology architecture that permits seamless scalability is explored for the future.
If the business is anticipating rapid, dynamic growth in the near future, an MSP can prescribe a range of highly scalable, future-ready IT solutions that can be quickly adapted to fast changing requirements. These include the likes of cloud solutions, virtualisation and modular hardware. A managed service provider can also help the organisation develop a diverse technology stack, designed to aid resilience and flexibility by avoiding the pitfalls of being locked into a single technology platform. This might involve exploring hybrid cloud, or multi-cloud setups as an alternative to fully on-premises hosting or consolidation into a single cloud service.
Security and Compliance Integration
Today, businesses are required to navigate a complex web of data protection regulations and standards, including the GDPR and PCI DSS. Managed service providers can help organisations weave compliance into the fabric of their IT infrastructures, ensuring cyber security measures meet the requirements set by regulators, and that data controls offer an appropriate level of information oversight and governance.
Security and compliance integration will typically begin with a cyber security audit. This exercise will map out existing security controls, seek to identify existing vulnerabilities, and determine how well the current security arrangements meet the organisation’s security needs in the context of its industry and regulatory requirements.
Once the assessment process is complete, a data security and compliance framework can be developed, containing both technical controls and procedural measures for ingraining compliance, and a strong security posture, into the fabric of the IT system. This framework might include data access controls, encryption, firewalls, information security policies and any other measures deemed necessary and proportionate.
By making data security and compliance an integral part of strategic IT planning, managed service providers can help organisations manage risk, keep sensitive data secure, and support reliable and efficient business operations.
Optimising the performance of your IT system is one thing, but it’s an altogether greater challenge to ensure your technology remains fast, efficient and aligned with your goals as your business grows and evolves. By partnering with a managed IT services provider, you benefit from IT strategy planning that ensures your technology is able to scale with your needs, adapt to changing pressures, and remains continuously aligned with your business processes and compliance requirements.
4TC Managed IT Services – Uniting People, Processes and Technology
Secure, stable and optimised IT infrastructure is critical to the success of all businesses in our information age. 4TC helps businesses across London and the Southeast realise their potential through the delivery of expertly managed IT services and support, and solutions that solve business challenges by achieving perfect alignment between people, processes and technology. Get assistance with your IT challenges today by getting in touch, we’ll be glad to assist you!