As we farewell the financial year, many businesses take the opportunity to reassess their plans for the year ahead. Of course, there are some perennial priorities that remain high on the list, such as security, but what is top of the wish list beyond ‘business as usual’ matters?

Cost reduction is always a focus, but attention is turning to the doing more part of the ‘more with less’ equation. That means simplifying and streamlining the datacentre, and cutting a chunk of management time to divert energies into business growth activities.

How? In some cases it is a matter of taking advantage of a new breed of server, storage and networking products that are designed to be easily managed via a single point. More businesses are turning to hyperconvergence to rein in administration and make the complex a lot simpler.

We’re also seeing a lot of businesses choose to outsource some of the business as usual functions in order to channel their in-house expertise into developing new applications and services. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is being increasingly adopted as an alternative to the distraction of datacentre management. For many organisations, this makes a lot of sense. Ongoing costs become predictable, and skilled resources get to avoid the time drain of repetitive work.

Customer engagement is a high priority for those newly released from the shackles of infrastructure management. The coming year is crunch time for those not already positioned to capitalise on the digital economy.

For one printing business we worked with, that has meant developing an application that allows customers to create print jobs online. In order to make it a success, they had to achieve an incremental transformation that gave them first a solid infrastructure foundation. Once that was in place, they were able to be open for business 24/7, something that many competitors couldn’t match. The transformation has breathed new life into the customer’s business, with the IT team leading the way.

As many traditional industries are turned upside-down by bold, technically savvy newcomers, existing businesses are exploring ways to rise to the challenge. Those who have worked hard on IT agility are seeing it pay off, and have every chance to beat subversive start-ups at their own game.

The emergence of new customer engagement models has been driven by growing collaboration between IT and marketing specialists. Technologists with deep business understanding are in demand, especially if they are also creative thinkers.

The smarter business managers are recognising that the role of the IT department is absolutely key to their success, so you can expect to have a higher profile than ever before. One of the most exciting elements of this new era is helping our customers to build an environment in which they can outshine their competitors. And in the digital economy, it is the IT specialists who are stars of the show.

For more about IT and business transformation, or to talk through your own plans for the next year, contact the friendly Computer Merchants team.

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