Dated IT tools are a problem for almost everyone. Creating a new communications infrastructure or updating an old one doesn't happen overnight, but a lot of other updates do — so you can barely stay current. Meanwhile, your dated infrastructure makes keeping up with daily demands difficult, preventing your organization from achieving optimal efficiency. In addition, outdated tools and systems represent unnecessary risks.
There seems to be only one thing to do: update. But how much will that cost?
Your Communications Infrastructure: New and Improved
To understand your needs and the potential costs and benefits of an update, first consider what aspects of the infrastructure need updating. What elements do you need to include to ensure you're planning for the future? Once you understand this, you can begin to get a clearer picture of your costs.
"You start with the foundation," says Jim Tynan, Twinstate's VP of sales. "The number one, most important consideration is the foundation. And that is the cabling."
Because it's hidden in the walls, cabling might not be a top-of-mind topic for your team. Still, network issues revolve around that hidden system. It's critical that you get a quality cabling infrastructure in place.
In the past, updates to switches and data limits didn't occur at the rate they occur today, so there was rarely a need to revisit cabling infrastructure unless you were doing a construction project. But in today's changing network environment, that need definitely exists. A quality cable plant can outlive every other IT purchase you make, so Tynan advises that you select the highest grade cable available, in order to future proof as much as possible and maximize efficiency.
Your next communications update consideration is your Ethernet switches. When was the last time you updated?
"The cost for Ethernet switches has dropped dramatically in the last 10 years," says Tynan.
Though Ethernet switches aren't feature rich, they are an important part of your communications infrastructure because they can prioritize information. Take voice applications, for example. With voice, you can't have a delay, or have packets arriving erratically creating choppiness. So you need switches that allow you to prioritize at that level, explains Tynan.
Power Over Ethernet
One other consideration: Do you want Power Over Ethernet (POE), POE+ or POE Patch Panels for your phone system? Your choice system for passing power and data won't just affect your phones, though — it's for surveillance cameras, card swipe devices and more. As more devices are put on the Ethernet network and made available for you to effectively monitor, Tynan advises getting the most you can get.
"Getting to the desktop is inexpensive now. Bandwidth is cheap," he says. "So get what you can get. If you can go with POE+, which will cost a bit more, I recommend that. Even if you didn't think you needed it, when you do need it, you'll have the infrastructure in place."
One of your more important budget items is your virtualization service. To learn more about how virtualization helps create efficiencies and how this infrastructure update works, just click here.
Understanding the ROI of an Update
What are the benefits of your infrastructure update? In his post "10 Cost Savings Questions to Ask When Updating Your IT Infrastructure," Larry White, PMP, notes the value of simply asking yourself: "Is IT infrastructure updating a more cost benefit undertaking?" Tynan echoes that idea: "It's hard to say I've spent the money, and here's the concrete ROI. The ROI is really about soft costs."
White tells us that those cost benefits can include more time to develop the business, as well as "Streamlining business operations, improving efficiency, reducing costs, maximizing profits, minimizing wastage and devoting talents to the core business instead of overheads."
One specific way to maximize your return is to apply the future proofing mentality to every aspect of your update, but especially to cabling.
"When it comes to cables, 80-plus percent of the costs are in the labor, so you definitely don't want to go back in just a few years," says Tynan. "It's so labor intensive that you need to get the best infrastructure you can find upfront."
Be the Champion
When you need to bring the proposal for a communications infrastructure update to your superiors, you need to be armed with the right information about the potential benefits, and, of course, about the risks of not updating. Notably, downtime is incredibly expensive. Human resources, notes Tynan, are one of the most expensive resources in any business.
Less downtime means better bottom line performance.
Further, application deployment will become faster with an update. You'll be adding applications to your system without creating greater hurdles, reflecting the future-proof aspect of the newly implemented tools. Updating your infrastructure allows you to be more flexible and ever-ready to deploy.
Analyze your costs and share information with your team with these benefits in mind. Change is difficult, but necessary — especially when outdated tools are holding your organization back.
Read more about cabling:
Originally published on 05/12/2016
Topic: Business Network Solutions