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Guest opinion: How IT infrastructure is changing and the importance of the cloud to car dealers


As technology becomes ever more advanced and with an increased reliance on a wide range of mission-critical applications in businesses, the approach to IT infrastructure is changing dramatically with agility being the core focus, according to Node4 research.

Whilst focused on small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), the research ‘Responding to the IT infrastructure challenge’ reports businesses were keen to deploy the latest technology because it allows them to ‘punch above their weight’, larger companies and dealer groups, can take on board some of the lessons they have learned on creating a more agile IT infrastructure.

Some of the findings - such as 70% of UK SMEs could not survive for more than 24 hours without their critical IT infrastructure - is also likely to represent the thinking of larger companies.

Among SMEs surveyed, 60% are expecting to increase their spending on IT this year.

Meanwhile, the top IT infrastructure concern is reliability and an uneasiness of relying too heavily on hardware which could fail whilst 49% expressed difficulty in recruiting IT employees with the appropriate skills and qualifications.

Node4’s research shows that the trend of moving from legacy systems to more flexible cloud-based or hosted solutions is well advanced and there is a new focus on optimising the performance of these systems, simplifying the management and increasing the reliability of their infrastructure.

No longer viewed as a standalone technology, the cloud is increasingly seen as integral to the running of many major systems within a business.

However, the research also found that adoption of cloud technologies continues to run at around 50% and SMEs are also looking for a local solution for their IT infrastructure with 69% of SMEs in the survey agreed that using a local data centre gives them peace of mind; 64% agreed that it is advantageous working with a local cloud services provider; and 63% said that they would like to be able to visit the data centre where their infrastructure is hosted.

Whether you’re a large dealer group, an owner operator or somewhere in between, this research is useful and insightful, particularly understanding how more and more companies are opting for cloud solutions.

What is interesting is whilst cloud theory actually means location should not be an issue; SMEs are happier knowing where their data and sensitive information is stored.

The research found an increasing lack of reticence at giving up control of a company’s IT infrastructure and a desire to find ways to streamline and better manager IT, all of which is relevant to businesses whatever its size.

Author: Richard Buxton (pictured), head of unified communications at Node4. Node4 drew on its research when it hosted a masterclass at this year’s AM Digital Dealer Conference, which took place at Silverstone earlier this week (September 15), on how a flexible approach to IT is crucial.

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