The importance of an effective IT installation

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By Greg Johnson/>

Globally, society has become increasingly dependent on technology. As a whole, there is such a dependence on technology that, when it fails, the ability to work is severely affected. Information Technology (IT) is the foundation of any business and enables access to internet, e-mail and general business infrastructure.

With an effective network and IT infrastructure, managers are enabled to run their businesses more accurately as a result of, for example, the provision of work stations, central saved data capabilities and accounting software.

This technology allows for better streamlining in the business, while enforcing precise reporting and stock control. As a result of IT infrastructure, corporate governance compliance and efficient administration can be enhanced. In addition, good quality servers allow for data to be saved in a secondary location to prevent lost data and ensure that all documents and files are "backed-up?.

The consequences of an IT installation being managed or implemented poorly may be dire. Downtime leads to the inability to work, resulting in idle, wasted time. The cost of this includes lost working hours and poor productivity which can translate to business being lost, and monetary drain being caused.

It is therefore imperative that good quality IT installations are enforced. As a company, the focus should be on the business and ensuring its success, not on IT issues where time is so often wasted trying to sort out these problems.

When selecting a supplier for any IT installation, there are five tips which can aid in ensuring a quality end-product. Firstly, it is important to have an accurate assessment conducted by a reliable company as to what the real IT needs of the business are. Getting a second opinion is essential; this will reveal suppliers that are opportunistically over-stating your requirements.

Once the requirements have been identified, selecting the correct supplier to install will be much simpler.

Secondly, only reliable and quality products should be utilised. Inevitably, buying cheap products will cost you more in the long run. Rather spend a little more on quality products than spend endless hours in downtime trying to fix the slightly cheaper products purchased. Spending more at the installation stage means more productivity and fewer problems.

When conducting any IT installation, no matter the size or amount of equipment required, one should enquire as to whether the supplier offers an extended onsite warranty. This is imperative; no matter how good the products are, in the IT world some form of equipment failure is unavoidable - ensure that the supplier will offer the after-sales service required to keep your business up and running without delay.

The most important tip would be to contract an experienced and qualified IT support-company to set up the network. It would seem nonsensical to spend over R50 000 on a server and a further R20 000 on work stations, but then hire a cheap cable guy to handle the installations - but many companies try to cut corners after spending the bulk of their budget on the equipment and hardware.

In order to reap the full potential of an IT installation, every part of the network must be cohesive and handled professionally.

Finally, and as already mentioned, get three or four quotes for the installation. This will offer you the advantage of having different and diverse opinions to work from, allowing you to weed out those that are either aiming to take advantage of the business by overcharging or overstating what is required, or those that do not really know what they are doing.

When selecting a supplier, the qualifications of the business and its members are important, but these are not the only indicators of a quality supplier. Unfortunately, qualifications do not always equate to skills or experience.

The best approach would be to attempt to marry accreditations and/or qualifications with work experience; test whether the qualifications have been put to use through a proven track record of experience.

Request a list of previous installations and contact these companies to ensure that they are happy with the service received; one wouldn?t hire an employee without checking their references, so check the references of the potential suppliers.

The efficiency of a business? performance relies on the efficacy of its IT network and infrastructure - ensuring this is installed effectively, professionally and correctly at the onset will equate to cost savings, smooth sailing and increased productivity.

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