5 Signs Your IT Infrastructure is Falling Behind

Sure, you want to innovate with IT, but will your organization's server, network, and software infrastructure support that initiative?

Andrew Froehlich, President & Lead Network Architect, West Gate Networks

July 16, 2018

4 Min Read
Image: Shutterstock

Thanks to the rapid advancement of technologies within the enterprise over the past few decades, it's more important than ever that IT strategists verify that their end-users are getting the necessary tools – and that IT is following the latest IT trends -- to perform all critical business functions. That said, it's all too frequent that an IT department gets comfortable with the status quo and let's their infrastructure and associated services go without updates or upgrades.

Falling too far behind can be challenging to achieve future goals, at best, and can be severely destructive to the longevity of the business at worst. To ensure against falling behind, it's necessary to be able to identify the tell-tale signs that your IT infrastructure is no longer meeting your end-user needs. Let's look at five such signs you can use to monitor and gauge the performance capabilities of your infrastructure.

Increasing number of IT help desk calls

Most modern IT departments that work with end-users live and die on the metrics they collect. One sure sign that your infrastructure is not meeting the needs of your users is an uptick in the number of help desk calls handled during a specific timeframe. However, one must be careful to look carefully to see what types of requests users are looking for. If you just rolled out a new technology, that increase in calls and tickets may be due to that. On the other hand, if the increase in calls is for long-standing applications and services, it's likely your infrastructure and associated services are no longer meeting the needs of the organization.

Hardware/software failures and outages on the rise

Often, IT hardware and software that's considered "rock solid", and thus untouched over the years, inevitably ends up catching the IT department off guard. Every minute that the infrastructure component or application is in production without proper maintenance increases its chances of causing a devastating failure. One too many infrastructure outages without proper upgrade/remediation plans in place can bring a company to its knees. If you're beginning to sense an upward trend in hardware and software failures, it could mean that you're falling behind.

Rise in the use of shadow IT

Another clear sign that you're not delivering the necessary infrastructure services to end users is if they abandon their use all together and instead opt to use their own. This is commonly referred to as shadow IT. Thanks to advancements such as SaaS, smartphones, and access to external WiFi hotspots, shadow IT is becoming increasingly popular and increasingly difficult to detect. That's why it’s crucial your team monitor current application/service usage to verify that proper workload levels are being maintained. If they are not, you may be losing users to shadow IT.

Nobody wants to work for you

In 2018, the IT job market is hot in many parts of the country. However, if you are finding plenty of qualified candidates to fill open IT roles, yet they don't seem interested the types of technologies you're asking them to work on, it may be a sign that your infrastructure is far past its prime. In fact, it might be so old that your potential candidates have no experience -- or no desire -- to work with it.

New tech initiative is scrapped due to shortcomings in the infrastructure

New IT projects and initiatives can be a fantastic way to move a business forward. Yet in most enterprises, next-gen technologies are reliant on a number of infrastructure compatibilities to work properly. For example, you may have grand ambitions to implement various data sensors for a major Internet of Things rollout. However, IoT has many contingencies on the infrastructure that range from the network to the database.

On modern infrastructures that are regularly updated, IoT isn't an issue. But for infrastructures that are lagging in even one crucial area, it may impact the project to the point that it is placed on hold or scrapped indefinitely.

All of these scenarios can indicate that your infrastructure needs help.

For more on modern IT infrastructure, check out these articles:

What Cloud Natives Can Teach the Rest of Us

Clear the Real-World Barriers to Better Data Utilization

10 Tips for Managing Cloud Costs

About the Author(s)

Andrew Froehlich

President & Lead Network Architect, West Gate Networks

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the University of Chicago Medical Center. Having lived and worked in South East Asia for nearly three years, Andrew possesses a unique international business and technology perspective. When he's not consulting, Andrew enjoys writing technical blogs and is the author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex.

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