Infrastructure AgilityBusiness executives need to think strategically about information management and infrastructure. This is especially true in today’s fast-changing business world, as the influx of cloud, mobile, social and Big Data technologies make the information environment increasingly more complex. To remain competitive and drive growth, enterprises require an agile infrastructure, capitalizing on today’s trends and accommodating the needs of today’s workers and customers.

Meet the Greater Expectations of Your Customers
and Workers

Meet the greater expectations of your customers and workersSmartphones and tablets have created greater mobility and connectivity in the workplace. Millennials, born in the digital age, are a rapidly growing percentage of the global workforce, and expect to have access to information instantly, everywhere, at any time. Your customers also expect business information to be available 24/7, on the device of their choosing and integrated easily with things like social media.

Experts say most companies have work to do if they want to keep pace: 60 percent of CIOs must implement agile architecture with next-generation mobile applications, and 80 percent of consumer-facing businesses must integrate with public social networks.1 Eighty-eight percent of CEOs are exploring better ways of using and managing Big Data.2 What does that mean for you? Your business infrastructure is either agile or outdated.

There are a few ways to maximize infrastructure scalability and flexibility while still controlling costs. One way is to invest in cloud-based storage (both public and private), something 64 percent of CIOs intend to do over the next few years.3  Another way is to utilize virtualization technology. Putting your workers in touch with their office computers from whatever devices they choose (i.e., virtual desktops) is the very definition of agility. Finally, Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) let companies assemble solutions—hardware, software, storage or network components—catered to their specific needs and on a “pay as you go” basis.

Executives and managers can also look for ways to improve business processes like accounts payable and mailroom management. With an outside partner dedicating its resources to solving these infrastructure challenges, a company is free to devote its own resources to doing the business it was born to do.

Protect Business Continuity as Your Infrastructure Evolves

Protect business continuityAnswering these demands can introduce a company to other challenges. It is estimated that 70 percent of CIOs, as they adopt more cloud-based solutions, may end up creating more risk for their organization.4  It would be devastating to increase agility at the expense of your information security, and therefore, at the expense of your customer trust and cash flow. That’s not how you make agility work for you.

One of the greatest dangers to the security of your infrastructure is falling behind on simple things like software updates, data backups, disaster-recovery drills and keeping tabs on user authentication and access control.You need a way to prevent these tasks from slipping through the cracks and putting your organization at risk.

A responsible infrastructure plan moves toward agility while also upping a company’s commitment to security and the management of sensitive information. Just as companies look to outside partners to upgrade their infrastructures, they should also pull in resources to support their IT staff.

The Bottom Line

Creating and maintaining infrastructure agility is essential for your continued growth and competitive strength.That means integrating leading-edge technologies that help you meet (and ideally, exceed) customer expectations on a variety of platforms. These same technologies empower your multi-generational workforce with the tools and environment they need to be productive and loyal. Finally, advances in infrastructure agility must be matched with increased diligence in security, to ensure that your new agility allows you to make real strides in continuity and growth.

1 IDC 2014 Predictions: CIO Agenda

2 PwC 17th Annual Global CEO Survey (2014)

3 IBM 2013 Global C-suite Study

4 IDC 2014 Predictions: CIO Agenda

An agile infrastructure positions you to meet the unique demands of today’s customers and employees, who expect 24/7 access to information delivered the way that works best for them — everything from mobile and social to, in the case of senior management, Big Data analytics. Infrastructure agility is critical for revenue growth and, like any investment, should be protected by strong security and governance.

Keep Revenue Flowing

Keep revenue flowingAn agile infrastructure frees you to pursue new opportunities and grow your business. To keep that revenue flowing, you need to be rigorous about security and governance. You need to prevent disruption to the business and monitor all the new points of connection in your infrastructure. This is why nearly half of CIOs hire outside parties to provide maintenance and support for the applications they develop, and a third have outsourced the management of their service and help desks.1  By offloading routine tasks to a trusted partner, IT has the agility to focus on more strategic and revenue-driving work.

Enable Faster, More Flexible Communications

Faster, more flexible communicationsWhen you outfit your infrastructure with mobile, social and cloud technologies, you greatly enhance communication. You deepen engagement with customers, you accelerate innovation throughout your workforce, and within your target market, you build business through positive word of mouth. Of course, as you increase the number of touch points with these groups, you have to be sure you’re sharing the most timely and compelling information possible. A truly agile infrastructure gives you centralized control over everything you communicate, ensuring quality, consistency, and, with proper governance, increasing the security of sensitive information.

Increase Employee Productivity

Increased employee productivityInfrastructure agility helps workers do their jobs by introducing powerful new business applications and extending the capabilities of those they currently use. This holds true from department-specific and management-only solutions to applications meant for the entire enterprise. For use whenever and wherever they are needed, applications can be ported to mobile platforms or even accessed in the cloud.  With cutting-edge applications that are more tightly integrated with your existing systems and business processes, your workforce will be more agile—and productive—than ever before.

1 Harvey Nash 2013 CIO survey.

Ricoh Services are designed to help you create and maintain the infrastructure agility that is essential for your continued growth and competitive strength. We introduce technologies and processes that make your infrastructure work for you, deepening your engagement with customers and increasing productivity across your workforce. And with us taking on the burden of monitoring and securing your infrastructure, IT is free to focus on key initiatives that help grow your business.

IT Infrastructure Services: Keep Revenue Flowing

IT Infrastructure servicesYour infrastructure needs to be monitored and managed so that your employees have the resources they need, when and where they need them. And your customers, of course, need your business to be online and responsive around the clock. Ricoh IT Infrastructure Services make sure you’re there for the people who rely on you. We devote ourselves to detecting and fixing vulnerabilities throughout your infrastructure, offering on-site, off-site and cloud-based backup. With industry-leading cloud application platforms, we can deploy, manage and support your organization's entire virtual server environment. This saves you the time, costs and resources required to maintain your own on-premise solutions, dramatically increasing your IT agility. Software traditionally located on your desktop can be housed and managed on servers in our secure data centers, accessible through a web browser.

Communication Services: Enable Faster,
More Flexible Communications

Communication servicesRicoh Communication Services deliver a package of advanced Ricoh technologies and industry-leading communication and collaboration tools designed specifically for your business. With telepresence services, you can carry on real-time communication with customers and clients without anyone having to board a plane. With digital signage services you can showcase ads, special offers and personalized messages in almost any location—and you can alter and update content easily from anywhere.  And with specialized tablets in their hands, your employees can feel the power of the paperless meeting, sharing ideas from screen to screen and expanding the limits of collaboration.

Application Services: Increase Employee Productivity

Application servicesYour company has a mission, to make it easier for employees to do their jobs. Ricoh Application Services reduce your administrative workload so that you can focus on core business activities. From department-specific solutions to applications with a broader scope, we tightly and seamlessly merge them with your existing processes and workflows. Ricoh Application services focus on speed and immediacy, making your workers more productive and empowering them to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

Ricoh finds ways to make your infrastructure and investments do what they’re supposed to do: support and grow your business. You’ll get the most out of your systems, and your IT department will appreciate the chance to handle more strategic issues—an agile infrastructure enabling an agile workforce.