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IT infrastructure is crucial for businesses in this digital era. Every organisation has a basic Information Technology infrastructure for managing their operations and books of accounts. It helps seamless communication between employees and provides visibility into every business function. This maximises the speed of all operations and improves overall business growth.
IT infrastructure for small businesses is important to remain competitive in the industry. While large scale businesses and medium sized companies have a strong IT setup in place to help eliminate redundant operations and automate business tasks, small scale businesses sometimes lack basic IT infrastructure that can reduce manual labour, speed up the production and save money on the long term.
It is important to learn what IT infrastructure is and how it helps a business to understand why it is a powerful tool and a must-have in the modern-day business world.
What is IT infrastructure?
IT infrastructure is what runs the all the IT enabled functions of a business enterprise like employee management, machinery controls, production operations, etc. IT brings in a degree of automation to all business processes which helps to improve productivity and saves time. An IT setup is a proven growth strategy for MSMEs.
Let us understand this concept with an IT infrastructure example. At the end of every month, you need to calculate the salaries to be given to employees and give the salary details to them in the form of a pay slip. To automate this process, businesses are now widely using payroll automation software. This software will help you calculate payroll, overtime, and taxes in real time and automatically credit the employees’ account and send them their pay slips via official mail addresses.
In large companies the payroll software is often integrated with employee management software so the former can gather data from the latter for calculation of salaries.
Components of IT infrastructure
IT setup in any company has three elements. These three elements work together to make an IT-enabled business. Have a look at the three elements and the IT infrastructure components that come under each:
|Hardware||Software||Connections for establishing a network|
|Laptops||Enterprise Resource Planning software||Routers|
|Phones||Customer Relationship Management software||Switches|
|Desktops||Online Payment Processing||Cables|
|Servers||Call Center Support System||I/O devices (Input/output)|
|Email Marketing System||VPN|
|Accounting software||Networking hub|
Benefits of IT infrastructure for an organisation
Here are some IT infrastructure benefits to stress on the fact that an efficient and optimised IT setup can significantly help business growth:
- Improves productivity by facilitating seamless data transfer and communication
- Gives you the flexibility to adjust to new conditions and meet your clients’ needs better
- Eliminate manual labour like invoicing, tax calculations, working capital management, etc., to save money and time
- Improves business communications and interactions among team member to complete tasks more quickly and balance workloads
- The right IT infrastructure is scalable which means you can develop an existing system to expand and adapt to new demands.
Building an IT infrastructure for your company
The next question on your mind would be “How to set up IT infrastructure for a small business?”. These days, especially with the push for digitalisation, many IT companies have popped up that are helping businesses establish an IT setup that can manage end to end business operations.
Here are the steps to build a basic small business IT infrastructure:
- Get the right hardware
As you already know you would need multiple computer systems, both desktops and laptops, to start a company. While getting computers always know what a particular gadget will be used for. Accordingly, you will have to select a computer with the right specifications.
For example, if you want to run graphics software on your computer, the gadget will require a minimum of 16GB RAM to function efficiently to manage tasks with speed. Don’t forget to choose between Windows and iOS software. Companies these days use a mix of both.
- Sign up with an internet provider
The Internet is the lifeblood of any business. If you have selected the right provider, business-grade Wi-Fi connections are reasonably priced. Make sure the connectivity allows for high-quality data transmission to help employees complete their daily tasks without any lags. The modern-day connectivity network generally used by large scale companies gives each employee a speed of 100 Mbps. If you are a small business with less employees, you should at least get 50 Mbps speed on your computers.
- Creating a network
Once the Wi-Fi connectivity is subscribed for, technicians will visit your workspace to set up the connections. They will install routers, switches and network hubs to give you a connected network of all the devices in your workspace.
- Subscribing for software solutions
As a small business looking to set up a foundational infrastructure, you would need a few software to begin with. Accounting software, customer relationship management software, employee management software, machinery automation software, inventory management software, etc., are some of the solutions that you can start using in your enterprise.
You can try software programs like MS Office 365 from Microsoft and G-Suite from Google for your business. These are productivity tools and applications that help employees create, collaborate and communicate seamlessly. These tools even provide cloud storage facilities.
You should also invest in software specific to your business needs. For instance, if you are a logistics company, a transportation management software or warehouse automation software should be invested in.
IT infrastructure is a must have in today’s digital world to catch up to the competition. MSMEs in India are increasingly subscribing to various software that can automate their basic functions like employee management and accounting.
As a small business, you should always keep yourselves updated about new enterprise software that are developed in the market and if budget permits utilise them to improve productivity.