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IT road-mapping always comes with a level of uncertainty. It’s the nature of the fast-evolving, competitive era we now live in.

The beginning of 2020 introduced new levels of uncertainty when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the pandemic. IT initiatives came to a halt and then-current roadmaps became obsolete as IT leaders shifted priorities to support the business through mandated social distancing and business closures.

Companies were forced to send employees from leadership, marketing, finance, and IT to work from home, many of whom were not previously set up to do so. IT leaders had to make decisions such as which applications could be securely moved to the cloud and how many employees needed VPN access. 

Almost a year has passed and many organizations are now planning for how to bring employees back onsite. Yet, so much has changed since the workforce left the office. 

This introduces new questions and challenges for IT leaders.  

  • What will the new working patterns look like, especially when different geo-locations have such drastic differences in how they reopen businesses? 
  • How can IT leaders anticipate how much of the workforce returns onsite now that flexible working options are available? What if only 20% of the workforce returns onsite full-time instead of the predicted 50%? Or, vice versa?
  • How can IT leaders anticipate the number of AV points, access points, and on-premise infrastructure that are needed? 
  • How will IT staff anticipate, adopt, and manage new applications? Now that employees are accustomed to more virtual collaboration, it’s likely IT staff will identify more shadow IT solutions that make work-from-home easier but also pose increased cyber security risk.
  • How can IT leaders plan for today’s unpredictable workplace environment?

We’ve identified three main factors that help IT leaders sustain business and reduce risk through IT planning. 

Flexible IT Consumption Model 

One of the most influential restrictions determining IT’s ability to evolve and innovate circles back to the infrastructure consumption model. Most organizations’ IT budget and refresh cycles are every 3-5 years, but this doesn’t support the needs of businesses today. It’s not just because of COVID-19. The uncertainty with IT planning isn’t going away when the pandemic ends. 

This is because business and technology needs are constantly evolving, new technology is consistently introduced into the market, and some technology adoptions are dependent on other industries. For example, we all knew 5G capabilities were coming down the pipeline, but the larger providers needed to be 5G ready and mobile devices needed the 5G radio before enterprises invested heavily in updating infrastructure.

CAPEX is spent even when the needed infrastructure is overestimated and not used. This means if IT leaders over-invest in some infrastructure and under-invest in other infrastructure; the organization will likely live with those choices until the next budget cycle. 

Unless IT leaders are provided an infinite budget, there will always be issues with acquiring and deploying the needed technology and services to pivot as desired. 

That’s why a different technology and service consumption model is needed.

Network Architecture that Enables Operational Efficiencies  

It’s no secret that the network has become increasingly complex to manage and secure. The network expanded to global offices, homes, and on-the-go mobile devices, all while providing data-driven and personalized experiences that follow people and things wherever they go.

IT staff are inundated with management tools, dashboards, and a slew of ad hoc technologies that don’t always work well together. 

It’s why it can take IT staff hours or days to identify the root cause of why a device isn’t connecting to the wireless. It’s why it can take months to provision the network for a new capability, such as working from home, asset-tracking, or in-store way-finding. 

If IT leaders and staff are to quickly and efficiently manage the network and pivot to meet constantly changing demands, they need an architecture that supports operational efficiencies and flexibility. 

What does this mean? 

It means, for example, having the ability to deploy and remove infrastructure and capabilities as easy as subscribing/unsubscribing to monthly services. 

It means using the latest technology such as artificial intelligence to help IT staff better understand and remotely manage network traffic, whether it’s going through an office or an employee’s home. 

Learn more in our most recent eBook

Partners That Offer More Than Strategy and Resale 

While strategic expertise and infrastructure resale through an IT solution partner are needed and necessary, these components aren’t enough to bring sustainability to your business. 

The best partner will be the one that can also help you leverage the most flexible IT consumption model and network architecture for sustaining business and reducing risk in a constantly changing and uncertain market. 

Next Steps 

More information about how to implement these factors and leverage the benefits can be found in our newly released eBook, The IT Leaders’ Guide to Sustaining Business and Reducing Risk through Uncertainty.

Read how to 

  • adopt a new technology consumption model that doesn’t bind you to restrictive CAPEX budget cycles,
  • easily and cost-effectively deploy a network architecture that gives you operational efficiency and flexibility,
  • identify the strategic partners that can make this vision a reality. 

Download this free guide that helps IT leaders sustain business and reduce risk through uncertainty.

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