Your technology infrastructure is the hardware interview, software, and people that support your business. So, how can you get your technology investment to pay off for you? You have to manage it. Technology can make you more efficient and effective but only if you actively manage it.
To get the most out of your hardware, you must run it under optimal conditions. Ideally, the hardware runs best in climate-controlled areas. Generally speaking, temperatures under 75 degrees with 30 to 50% humidity is good for most computers. High heat and direct sunlight will cause a computer to run hot. Excessive heat will reduce the computer's life expectancy over time.
Do you have dust and dirt around your computer's fans? There are probably clumps of dust and dirt inside your computer, too. Excessive dirt and dust may contribute to a computer running hot also. That's why it is important to take your computer outside at least once a year and blow out the inside with compressed air.
Maximizing your software investment is a little more complicated. First of all, you must find out what devices and applications require software updates. Updating software means you need a patch management system.
A patch management system is a routine that allows you to apply software updates to devices and applications systematically. Most people know that operating systems and antivirus and productivity software require updates. But did you know that your computer BIOS, firewalls, routers, switches, server raid arrays, and other hardware devices may require updates, too? Hardware devices run a type of software known as firmware. Firmware can be updated. Most firmware updates improve the overall performance of the device.
Keeping all these devices up to date can be a daunting task but a schedule can help you do it. For instance, update your firewalls, routers, and switches on the first Monday of every month. The second Friday of every month defragment your computer hard drives. Set a schedule for patch management and follow it.
You can provide your employees with bleeding-edge technology. However, what good is the best technology if the user doesn't have the ability to take advantage of it? You must ensure your employees have mastered work-related technology to get the highest return on your technology investment. Your employees do the work. Your employees accomplish that work using technology.
How well do your employees use work-related technology? Conduct some research to find out. First, go ask them about work-related technology. Don't take their responses for granted. Next observe them using technology. If you are satisfied with what you heard and observed then you can stop here. If not then take it a step further. Assess their ability to use it. The results may surprise you. If your firm is small then consider cross-training each employee to perform all mission-critical technology tasks. Finally, encourage your employees to use the technology.
You must actively manage your technology infrastructure to get your expected return on investment. Be sure to employ these tactics to help you manage it. Make sure your hardware runs in a clean, cool, and humidified environment. Create a patch management system for your software assets and stick to it. Research, assess, train, and cross-train your employees to perform mission-critical technology tasks.