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Top 3 IT Solutions Your Company Should Reconsider

by Scott Lewis

Having been a Chief Information Officer for a couple of very large construction companies, I often found myself answering questions around the cost of many things IT related, from gadgets to servers and other technology expenditures. When you look at technology expenditures, successes and failures there are many moving parts to consider from the actual purchase of the software to implementation cost, ongoing maintenance, networking, equipping employees to use the new technology and it goes on and on. We are going to look at many different aspects of technology solutions¬≠—why they were successful, why they failed and some things to consider or reconsider in the future.

Cloud Computing

The evolution of what we now call cloud computing has been going on for more than 30 years, going through an evolutionary process from centralized computing to mainframe computing, to the dot com era and now cloud computing. Companies have either fully embraced cloud computing or they have shied away from it and remained with in-house systems. The vision of cloud computing in the corporate world is starting to become clearer and the reality of how cloud computing fits into the future of corporate America is also become clearer through the use of private, public and hybrid cloud systems. Corporate America has embraced the use of hybrid cloud systems more than private or public cloud systems due to the variations and limitations of bandwidth, of which cloud computing is dependent, security concerns, and the end user experience, hybrid cloud systems solve many issues with performance, printing, and large file management that public and private clouds leave lacking.

However, with the popularity of cloud computing, we are also learning that cloud computing is not for every company and depending the expectations and corporate culture may not be a fit at all. I have read many studies that have shown that for many reasons companies have shifted gears back to in-house system or to hybrid cloud systems to regain a more consistent user experience. Another factor that has become clear is that many companies jumped on cloud computing because of the perception of savings. In a Computer Weekly survey, 80% of CIO’s were concerned with the hidden costs of cloud computing. We are learning that although you may be saving in some areas such as hardware cost, the overall budget impact around cloud computing runs about the same as having systems in-house. Those dollars are simply being spent differently than in a traditional model.

Has the cloud computing migration run its course? Absolutely not, have we learned more about how to apply cloud computing to our individual businesses? Yes! It is important if you are considering either moving to the cloud, moving out of the cloud or to some hybrid version that you really take the time to research your application options, research the limitations of your infrastructure and applications and fully understand how you are going to integrate cloud computing into your business and make it successful.

Voice Over IP Phone Systems

VoIP has come a long way in the last three to four years, many companies looked at VoIP technology in the past and passed on it due to limitations in quality of service, functionality or concerns over the impact of running a voice network on top of your data network.  In the past there were a lot of concerns regarding network speed, cost of bandwidth to support both data and voice on the same network, along with the overall costs associated with VoIP.

If you fast forward to today, VoIP technology has come of age and will only get better from this point forward.  As the technology has improved so has our level of understanding on how to properly implement and manage a network that has both voice and data riding on it.  Our abilities to utilize virtual networks to separate out the voice and data traffic and provide quality of service and priority to voice traffic has greatly improved the overall user experience.  The improvements in router and switch technology that specifically targets networks running voice and data on the same network has provided us with the ability to better manage and monitor these individual virtual local area networks to troubleshoot and isolate issues when they do arise. Lower cost and more available bandwidth has also improved the overall budget impact of implementing and managing a VoIP strategy.

Not all VoIP systems are created equal. There is in house VoIP, and there are Hosted or Cloud VoIP systems. There are many advantages to each depending on your company’s overall technology strategy. An in-house VoIP system is basically part of your in-house phone PBX that maybe in your computer room or closet somewhere in your building. The VoIP functions only work internal to your business such as other office locations, or remote job sites that are physically connected to your network through some kind of wide area network. Cloud or Hosted VoIP systems are a true VoIP system that rides completely over your data network and Internet connection, and they do not require an additional PRI phone line to make calls through the traditional phone system. Some easy advantages to a cloud based VoIP system would be the redundancy, and disaster recovery processes that are built into the system being it is a completely offsite system.

If you looked at a VoIP system and passed on it for some reason, now might be a good time to take another look at the technology and the options around how you are going to deploy and manage the system.

Data Mining and Data Intelligence

Data mining and data intelligence are often overlooked in many industries. The data that companies have collected over the years has huge value, most likely your most valuable asset and it gives you the ability to forecast the future of your business based on historical facts. Through the use of data mining technologies it allows you to develop trends on your clients buying habits, budgets and gives your insight into what works and what doesn’t, which allows you to improve work process, policies, reporting and set client expectations. Additional strategies that can be developed through the use of data mining and business intelligence are: marketing strategies, customer retention programs, improved customer satisfaction processes just to name a few.

Companies have gone through a consolidation of sorts going from separate accounting systems, project management systems, estimating systems, and CRM to a single primary system that is holding the data and then feeding it to the additional ancillary programs. Through this consolidation process, it has really allowed data mining software and business intelligence software to really come to life and bring real and meaningful value to organizations to use and grow with this technology.

There are many reasons companies pass on technology initiatives such as disconnected data, excessive use of spreadsheets for primary tasks,  or not having the infrastructure in place to support many advanced technology features. However, it may be time to reevaluate your technology strategy, apply it to your business model and build a vision that would allow your business to take advantage of the many opportunities that new hardware and software technologies can bring to your company.

About the author: Scott Lewis is the President and CEO of Winning Technologies Group of Companies.  The Winning Technologies Group of companies is an international technology management company. Scott has more than 30 years of experience in the technology industry, is a nationally recognized speaker on technology subjects such as Collocation, Security, CIO level Management, Data and Voice Communications and Best Practices related to the management of technology resources.  Learn more about Winning Technologies at www.winningtech.com or call 877-379-8279.      
Submitted 4 years 25 days ago
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