If one thing is certain about the future of IT, it’s this: IT is completely unpredictable. Today’s IT departments must be ready for anything. No longer is IT around just to serve the present-day needs of employees and network users; IT departments have the ability to drive initiatives that accelerate the profitability of businesses.

Adopting a future-ready approach to IT lets your network scale and adapt to address the needs of the enterprise. Future-ready IT departments are poised to meet demands quickly, use resources efficiently and maintain high security.

These three strategies can help you address the constantly changing workloads and applications driven by the challenges faced by every future-ready IT department: convergence, the cloud, mobility and big data.

1. Plan for the Future (Don’t Just Think About It)

Enterprise Ethernet switching is moving away from its primary role of providing user connectivity; instead, it’s transitioning toward supporting the entire enterprise in an infrastructure role. Wired and wireless networks of the future will see more devices than people connected, more mobile vs. fixed connections and more remotely powered connections through PoE vs. locally powered connections. All of these factors impact the way networks are designed, managed and maintained.

Developments such as IoT and cloud computing aren’t going away – in fact, we can expect more technology trends like them in the next few years. Because none of us have crystal balls to tell us what’s coming down the road, future-ready IT departments try not to invest too heavily in infrastructure that supports a specific technology or trend. Instead, their focus is on changing the way their organization approaches technology planning and decision-making.

CFD modeling can be a big help as future-ready IT departments prepare for what the next few years may bring. Instead of putting availability, capacity and efficiency at risk by making untested data center changes or installing new products, CFD simulation software allows future-ready IT departments to evaluate options and weigh causes and effects of changes through simulation before any changes occur in real life.

cant ignore cat 6a banner2. Measure and Monitor Daily

Do you know how well your data center and network are functioning? Not if you don’t measure and monitor performance. Future-ready IT departments are constantly measuring and monitoring the status of data center environments, network availability, capacity, bandwidth, etc.

Future-ready IT departments are constantly measuring and monitoring.

Armed with information about performance, IT staff can make better decisions about possible efficiency improvements, spot potential problems early on and prove the return on investment of specific infrastructure changes. This helps ensure that your staff isn’t functioning solely in “reactive” mode, but can instead stay ahead of the curve and anticipate likely performance flaws.

3. Simplify and Standardize IT Infrastructure

Simplification and standardization can improve data center and network management and security, as well as improve IT staff productivity.

By choosing simple, standardized components that install and function in the same way, you can reduce the amount of time you spend training and troubleshooting. When everything is designed to look and work the same way, equipment installation, management and maintenance becomes second nature.

Similar problems that crop up can be solved the same way each time; maintenance practices are the same, utilizing common parts, technology and upgrade approaches. This frees up your IT team to focus on strategic initiatives, new technology and application testing, improving network performance and management of the IT layer supported by the infrastructure (the actual work being performed by the IT equipment).

Take the Next Step

Future-ready IT departments can help change how their own organizations view IT – instead of being known as a cost center, IT can be seen as a function that adds real value to the bottom line. When you’re able to plan and implement scalable infrastructure that improves productivity and is easy to use, you’re not only a future-ready IT department – you also make it much easier for your organization to embrace change.

Belden offers solutions and services to help IT departments focus on creating cost-effective data centers that optimize space and availability, and expertise to help you prepare your network for the future.

How “future-ready” is your IT department?
Let us know in the comments section below!