There’s a lot of stress put on future-proofing businesses today, especially in the area of technology. The idea that you can create something today that will last forever is, of course, not realistic. However, while some people mistakenly believe that’s the goal of future-proofing, it’s actually not. Experts recognize that there’s no way to create an IT infrastructure that perfectly addresses both today’s and tomorrow’s needs. It just can’t be done.
Instead, the goal of future-proofing is often to create a scalable system that provides flexibility. While it’s possible to predict and plan for the future, the truth is no one has a magic crystal ball. If they did, they wouldn’t need to worry about future-proofing because they would already be very, very rich. What we do have are experience and a set of tools that can help determine where businesses, industries, and even the economy are going.
With these tools, it’s possible to create a future-proof network that can adapt to your future needs and wants. By partnering with Wooden Spoon, an IT managed solutions provider, you can take advantage of all of the experience our team has in developing IT infrastructure that can be scaled or transformed as needed. Let’s take a look at what future-proofing involves and how we can help.
A More In-Depth Look at Future-Proofing
Let’s take a more in-depth look at what future-proofing entails before we talk about technology. The concept of future-proofing applies to more than just technology. You want to make certain your business processes are future-proofed, too. For example, if your business relies heavily on products made from fossil fuels, you may not necessarily be future-proof. New environmental regulations could impact your supply and production lines, so you would want to look into manufacturing options that use renewable energy or that could pivot to renewable energy quickly.
Another example of future-proofing might revolve around changes in your industry. Are your employees prepared to meet these changes? Offering training courses and paying for employees to travel to conferences helps with this type of future-proofing because your team is aware of what’s coming and is ready to incorporate it into their daily tasks.
Remember that future-proofing doesn’t mean something is going to last forever. Instead, it means you’re prepared to make changes and meet future needs quickly and easily.
How do you future-proof?
Future-proofing begins with doing an analysis of your business, including all of your processes and technology. You want to look at areas that could become outdated or useless if you suddenly have to shift to a different process. Once you’ve done this, you want to compare your processes and methods to industry trends and predictions. Does it look like AI is going to make a large impact on your industry? If so, you want to look at ways to incorporate it into your company.
You also want to be sure to listen to your customers and your employees. Customers know what they want, and if you ask them, most will tell you what they need and why they need it. Creating products and services that solve real world problems will help you grow your customer base and stay current with customer pain points. Employees, of course, have their own pain points, and if you want to continue to grow your team with the best and brightest out there, you’ll want to be certain you’re creating a work environment that people want to join.
Future-Proofing and technology
When it comes to technology, future-proofing can be split into two sections: the technology you expect to replace regularly and the infrastructure that forms the foundation of your IT. Hard drives, RAM, and monitors will all need to be upgraded at some point as technology changes. For example, many people thought the old, boxy monitors would be around forever, but then flat screen monitors were invented. As software advances, the amount of RAM you have in your computers may no longer be enough to run that software. These upgrades should be expected, and it’s very difficult to future-proof these items since they’re always changing.
What you can future-proof is your infrastructure and overall plan. Creating a future-proof infrastructure ensures that you can add new equipment and update existing equipment without disrupting anything. For example, a future-proof infrastructure might use software licenses instead of purchasing a copy of the software for each user. This means you can easily add more users or reduce the number of users simply by purchasing or deactivating licenses. You’re not going to have multiple unused copies of the software, either. It doesn’t matter if you add employees or have to reduce your workforce in the future—your infrastructure can adapt.
Having the security necessary for a large percentage of your workforce to go remote is another way of future-proofing. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were not set up for mass remote work and had to quickly figure out how to pivot while also limiting how many people were on-site to set up remote work policies. The resulting transition was often fairly rough and took weeks or, in some cases, months to properly set up. On the other hand, companies that were prepared for remote workers more easily shifted to this model. Even if we don’t have another pandemic, future-proofing your infrastructure for remote work may still be very beneficial.
Why Future-Proof Your Technology?
Technology often plays a part in driving a business’s growth and innovation. If your IT infrastructure isn’t future-proofed, you may find that you spend more time dealing with it than you do with other pressing business decisions. Technology should be invisible—it’s one of the foundations on which you build your company, but it shouldn’t be one of the primary things you focus on.
Future-proofing your technology gives you the flexibility and scalability you need to adapt and grow easily. Your IT infrastructure won’t need a full redesign to grow with your business, so it can help drive growth rather than be an obstacle to it. You won’t need to worry about what you need to add or adapt since you’ll have an IT strategy and the flexibility to enact that strategy with a few changes if necessary. Whether you’re automating part of your business or bringing in AI to serve as a virtual assistant to your team, you’ll be ready.
How an IT Managed Solutions Partner Can Help with Future-Proofing
Many business owners aren’t certain where to start with future-proofing, especially when it comes to technology. They may have a few ideas, but are those ideas really the right way to go? This is where you need to bring in an expert. An IT managed solutions partner like Wooden Spoon can assist you with analyzing your infrastructure and determining what can be future-proofed.
One area we might start with is your on-site server. If you need to increase your server’s capabilities, you have to purchase the hardware and install it yourself. This can be pricy, plus it means taking your server down while the upgrades are installed. If the server fails and you don’t have a backup, your entire system may be down for hours or even a few days in a worst-case scenario.
To future-proof this part of your infrastructure, we might recommend you migrate to the cloud. This gives you access to a few different benefits. First, the cloud is flexible and scalable. You can add more server space as needed, so you don’t have to buy more hard drives yourself. Most cloud services create mirror drives that act as backups and automatically take over if your primary cloud server goes down. This means your services are very rarely interrupted, so there’s no loss of productivity or income. With multiple backups, it’s rare to lose data, too.
Your MSP partner might also suggest you lease certain equipment instead of purchasing it. Most leasing options provide you with the option to upgrade when needed, plus maintenance and repairs are typically included. You also have a set monthly payment instead of needing to spend a lot of money upfront, which can help with budgeting.
Another way working with a team of experts can help you with future-proofing is that their entire focus is on technology. Your internal IT team is likely busy every day with tech support tickets and other issues. They may not have time to research new trends in your industry or upcoming technology. For an MSP, however, technology is their business. They are always looking into new technologies and trends. They may see one upcoming trend in an unrelated industry but see how it could work for you. This often means you can be ahead of your competition when it comes to being prepared for future industry shifts.
Looking for More Future-Proofing? Contact Wooden Spoon Today
The team here at Wooden Spoon is ready to help you with future-proofing as well as IT planning, preventative maintenance, infrastructure implementation, network monitoring, and more. We have years of experience in providing IT services in and around Santa Rosa and beyond. Reach out today to discuss how we might help you with your IT needs.