Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure is a pretty ambiguous term for most of us, even for some of the people working in the field of IT.
Digital information has become an important resource in today’s business environment, making IT infrastructure, which is used to store and transmit said information, increasingly important. We realized how vital it is for people and businesses to understand what the concept really means and what is the best way in which an IT infrastructure can be managed.
IT Infrastructure Defined:
There are many definitions of what an IT infrastructure represents and what its components are. In fact, this concept is seen differently by different organizations. Looking over the most relevant definitions of the concept, IT infrastructure represents the base on which specific project systems and programs within the organization are built. However, the first thing we need to understand is that IT infrastructure is not, as you might think, composed of only two components – a hardware component and a software component. Just as important, although often overlooked, are two other components: its service component and its network resources. These four components have little value taken separately, but put together they empower the enterprise and give it the ability to provide its employees and its customers with integrated IT solutions within the boundaries of its offices.
When trying to define the IT infrastructure of a firm, we need to avoid doing so in terms of technology and equipment, as this will limit the definition to just its software and hardware components. The definition of the infrastructure needs to focus on its service component as well, as the role of the first two components is that of generating services. In fact, any IT infrastructure needs to be service-based; with the higher than ever diversity in hardware and software available to businesses, the services which organizations offer to their partners, customers, suppliers and employees become of foremost importance in determining business success.
We'd like to point out some of the other IT services this should include, but are sometimes ignored:
- Communication services allowing employees to contact customers, partners and suppliers.
- Data management allowing storing and access of the data from within and outside the firm.
- Trainings in order to allow employees to properly utilize the hardware and software components of the infrastructure.
As we have discussed, an IT infrastructure contains a number of components, all of which are supposed to work together in order for the organization to function at normal parameters. The typical main components are:
1. Computer Hardware
Technological advancements have made this component more and more complex, to the point that medium and large size businesses cannot manage them on their own and need the help of specialized firms and integration services. These services become increasingly important as firms expand and as new technologies are introduced to the firm. Firms are not likely to throw out their old hardware, for reasons related to costs and training. Older systems need therefore to work perfectly with the new technology.
2. Software and Programs
Software is vital to a firm – it tells the hardware what to do, as well as when and how. Operating systems control everything from logging onto the computer to connecting to the internet and adding information in the company’s database.
The most widely used operation system is Microsoft Windows, with its various versions. Linux and Unix are generally used by larger companies, which use fewer applications and need faster data processing capabilities. Being open-source, more and more firms and even government institutions are trying to migrate to Linux in order to save money on license costs.
Enterprise software applications ensure that applications run smoothly across the organization, regardless of the systems used. There is a wide range of enterprise software available on the market for the needs of various businesses. Enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, supply chain management systems and productivity applications are just some of those which gained great popularity. The reason for their success is the fact that they allow the company to receive more information from the customers and provide them with superior, personalized customer service.
3. Network Platforms
Networks enable the company’s computers to communicate to one another. This is particularly important for data management processes, especially since nowadays organizations gather increasingly more data on their customers and on the business itself.
The Internet is another great resource for businesses because of the services it can provide them with cloud services, data center outsourcing, managed storage or security services. More and more firms also prefer to purchase web hosting services instead of spending money on servers and other hardware and software needed for the smooth running of the website, as well as personnel to operate them, this allows them to focus on the core processes of running the company.
4. Human Resources
People such as the network administrators, developers or designers ensuring the smooth functioning of the hardware and software components represent an important part of the infrastructure. But so do generic users with access to computer terminals and software applications within the firm. Well-trained specialists ensure that the hardware and software components are properly used, which maintains their functionality. Furthermore, they use these components to add value to the services, which they, and implicitly the firm, offer to the customers.
Setting up an IT infrastructure that adds value to the services of your firm, or increases the efficiency of it can be a difficult task. This is why our company offering computer support in Los Angeles advises to request professional assistance. This way, your company can focus on its core objectives, while you can rest assured knowing that your IT infrastructure is in good hands.