Information technology and running a business go hand-in-hand. Their interdependent nature has changed the landscape of business with the emergence of ecommerce, marketing through social media, and the way businesses communicate with their employees, clients and consumers.
In order to survive and adapt to all the e-platforms have to offer, businesses have had to embrace information system management tools like customer relationship management systems (CRM), and supply chain management systems (SCM).
Businesses depend on IT to run their CRMs and SCMs, and basically do business. If their network crashes, sometimes there’s nothing they can do.
Resilient IT infrastructure is needed to preempt and actively respond to business pressures from unexpected and anticipated issues. In the event of high customer demand, system failures, cyber attacks or power cuts, this infrastructure puts systems in place to cope with the effects of business life.
E-Business Infrastructure Basics
Business infrastructure are basic facilities, structures, and services upon which the rest of a business is built. Your e-business infrastructure, or information technology infrastructure, is a set of information technology (IT) components that are the foundation of an IT service.
It’s composed of both physical components (such as computer and networking hardware, data centers, and other facilities) and also various software applications and network components (like cloud computing technology).
Depending on the size, industry, and business model, the technology infrastructure of businesses is unique to them.
Because business owners and leaders rely on IT to manage their organisation, it’s imperative that the entire IT infrastructure can handle both planned and unplanned disruptions.
Plan for the Unexpected
Any disruption to a business’ workflow, whether it’s positive or negative can result in a lack of productivity.
In today’s fast-paced marketplace this can be more than a hiccup, rather the final heart attack that flatlines a business.
Hiccups can lead to any or all of the following:
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of clientele
- Decreasing the value of a business
In order to avoid this domino effect, resilient infrastructure aims to limit the potential financial strain a business needs to acknowledge before responding and resolving the issue.
Not all business risks can be resolved, but some can be alleviated and managed. It is important to know a business’ systems capacity, so in the event of a crisis identifying and fixing the issue becomes easier.
One way to do this is to audit and evaluate business processes to see whether there are risks in the IT systems that support that function.
A Christchurch author was interviewed on TV3s Campbell Live, driving many viewers to the author’s website. The increased traffic crashed the website, halting online book orders and harming their business. The issue was fixed easily but could have been avoided if they had anticipated the web visitor increase.
Plan for Everyday Scenarios
Once your CRM and SCM systems are in place, that’s not the time to relax. You should always be looking for ways to streamline your operation.
It’s also a good idea to train multiple people to manage key roles, in case an employee leaves or isn’t there when a crisis hits.
The more people who know what to do in the event something goes wrong, the more resilient your business’ infrastructure will be.
If the network crashes and your tills go offline, or there’s a massive increase in demand and the line starts growing out the door? Do you have alternative ways of processing customer payments or will you have to turn business away?
Training staff and having backup infrastructure in place will help your business cope. For common, everyday scenarios think of a few alternatives and how your business could work through them.
From the examples given above, it’s best to start with public-facing processes or those that could affect your customers.
Acknowledging the potential failures of systems and applications will help you to build resilient technology infrastructure.
As everyday business increasingly relies on IT infrastructure, it’s essential to build a plan B in order for your business to recover quickly and maintain productivity.