Digital infrastructure forms the basis of modern, internet-connected businesses and helps them grow with greater flexibility, agility, and scalability.
Today, digital transformation is playing an instrumental role in reshaping and digitizing the traditional IT infrastructure of companies from across the globe.
Growing competition and evolving user demands present the need for constant innovation, and digital infrastructure is the way forward.
Unlike other technological revolutions that mostly larger businesses leverage due to sufficient resources and skills, digital infrastructure is uniquely democratic.
It can empower everyone, from individuals and smaller businesses to SMBs and enterprises. It not only focuses on user experience and business agility but also helps drive customer loyalty and engagement, ingredients for a successful business.
In this article, I’ll discuss what digital infrastructure is, how you can implement it in your business, and the benefits it provides.
What Is Digital Infrastructure?
Digital infrastructure is the virtual infrastructure of a company comprising digital technologies that form the foundation for its IT and operations. It includes both software-based and physical infrastructural components used in carrying and delivering digital products and services.
Digital infrastructure can include server hardware, data centers, IT virtualization software, the cloud, operating systems, computing systems, connectivity, storage systems, security systems, PaaS and SaaS applications, and so on.
The aim of digital infrastructure is to power digital transformation, enable greater business success, and increase connectivity among people worldwide. It also provides opportunities for businesses to innovate more, operate efficiently, and meet and respond to customer demands. If you implement it correctly, it has the potential to give you a competitive edge.
At present, digital infrastructure is witnessing steady growth due to many factors, such as cloud migration of applications and services, hybrid workplace, automation of several tasks, and the need for higher flexibility and scalability of services globally.
With digital infrastructure, you can take a complete view of infrastructure as a single source of truth.
You can also leverage AI, API-led automation, predictive fault monitoring, and other emerging technologies with digital infrastructure to boost your operations and obtain better results.
Examples of digital infrastructure:
Internet backbone and broadband
Data centers and networks
Cloud services and software
Digital communications suites and mobile telecom
Enterprise portals, systems, software, and platforms
Your enterprise’s digital infrastructure works as an operating system for business.
How to Implement Digital Infrastructure
With digital infrastructure, you can understand how your business is performing, communication gaps, and other inefficiencies so you can improve them. Here’s how to implement digital infrastructure in your enterprise.
#1. Identify Issues
You will need to identify the problem areas in the infrastructure in order to understand where your department is lacking. Also, you need to find out if there is any central database.
Since you are going to invest in new infrastructure, you must know whether your problems are correctly addressed or not. In addition, you can take a look at your industry benchmarks to see how your industry functions.
#2. Set Goals
Once you identify the problems in your infrastructure, you can set clear goals for resolving each of them with the current digital infrastructure. Your goal should be SMART (Specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely). Next, you must employ the ways to achieve your goal.
Also, keep tracking the progress toward achieving each goal. Since rollout, adoption, and training will take time, you must carry out incremental and measurable progress toward each change.
#3. Evaluate Options
In the digital era, the “one-size-fits-all” policy does not apply to every business. Every business has some unique requirements and demands.
So, search for the tools and capabilities that can meet those specific needs. This includes a combination of cloud services, colocated infrastructure, and on-premises infrastructure.
In order to get the perfect tool and application for your business, you must also evaluate available options that are a perfect fit for the business. An ideal infrastructure is built using the hybrid multi-cloud architecture to address changing needs. In addition, you are going to need serious analysis and planning to identify the right one.
#4. Partner With a Reliable Digital Infrastructure Provider
Look for digital infrastructure providers and shortlist some. In order to get specific solutions and tools from a particular company, you need to check whether they have the right digital infrastructure. Also, find out if they are reliable or not. If all’s good, partner with the company.
This will ensure that your partner company can address all your digital infrastructure needs. Your primary goal must be to create digital footprints that you can apply everywhere you do business.
Thus, partnering with a provider can help you run your own digital infrastructure efficiently and avoid operational headaches and complexities.
#5. Test the Tools and Track Journey
Getting tools and solutions for your digital infrastructure partner is not enough. You must also see these solutions and tools in action. Here, you need to benchmark the previous services and monitor current results to get insights into your new digital infrastructure. In this test phase, you will get an opportunity to understand what a full deployment looks like.
The testing phase is a crucial step in the digital transformation journey. You will monitor the progress and adjust the tools and solutions accordingly if they are not performing as per your expectations.
#6. Plan out Change
Digital infrastructure is not an overnight process. You need to plan for the changes in different phases, like which departments will be affected by the change. For the changed or new processes, you must come up with a training process.
The changes will take time, depending on your business size and what changes you want to make. Once everything is in its place, your digital infrastructure is ready to support your business.
#7. Train Your Team
Deploying new technology is just half the battle. The other piece that most businesses overlook is managing your team by giving them proper training on the new technology. Having the right technology and tools is not everything; you have to have the right team with the right skills who can use the technology to its full potential.
Benefits of Digital Infrastructure
Accelerated Digital Transformation
SMBs use technology to drive innovation and improve their operation with strong digital networks. Digital infrastructure allows you to transform your business while maintaining everything in a single place without taking the stress about physical devices.
For example, the introduction of 5G networks in different areas that had no broadband internet service previously was a major step. It empowers new generations to create digital dividends in order to build long-lasting and real economic value.
Now, many SMBs follow this pattern to build their own digital infrastructure.
Digital infrastructure enables your business to get reliable and fast connectivity across rural and urban areas, allowing businesses to get into new markets. It also allows businesses to communicate with employees, customers, and suppliers regardless of the location. This further improves your business economy.
Global Market Access
Businesses connected with digital Infrastructure can establish global markets and get access to connected local customers easily. With the growth of digital networks, SMBs no longer need any middlemen to reach overseas markets and partners. Due to this, your SMB can save more and grow quickly.
Digitally dependent businesses such as digital marketing companies, web development firms, business process outsourcing companies, SEO agencies, and more can benefit from this global reach.
Improved Data Management
Efficient data management is a great practice that can help your business stand out from the crowd. Although good connectivity is an essential factor for effective data management, you need a powerful data center network for your SMB.
Local data centers offer processing and storage capabilities that allow you to run modern applications that are improved by machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Digital infrastructure helps enhance innovation by enabling them to access modern tools and technologies, like AI, ML, cloud computing, etc. It also allows better collaboration among team members, partners, etc. of a business. This empowers the research and development team to work together and come up with high-quality products and services driven by innovation.
Expanded Remote Work Facility
Most people are now preferring remote work, especially after the recent pandemic. A strong digital infrastructure network allows businesses to maintain efficient virtual operations. This flexibility lets companies hire skillful contractors and employees from different countries who can work remotely.
Businesses protect customer data and sensitive information using a secure digital environment. The responsibility of securing data is on enterprises individually. So, a digital infrastructure and strict regulations can reduce the burden of cybersecurity on businesses.
This results in safer online interactions and a stronger economy, letting you enhance your market participation and improve business growth.
Supply Chain Management
Efficient and effective supply chain management requires the exchange of real-time data between various customers and businesses. If you want to experience expansion of your business, implementing digital infrastructure will be useful for you.
Types of Digital Infrastructure
Digital infrastructure is divided into different categories based on the functionality.
#1. Communication Infrastructure
Communication infrastructure refers to virtual and physical technologies that act as a base for digital infrastructure and provide multiple functionalities for transmitting information and data over distances.
Several devices used to communicate are wireless or wired, like fiber optic cables, cloud computing, broadband, mobile phones, internet, etc.
Wireless Communications Network
Some of the networks, starting with satellite communication, like mobile phones, GPS services, and the internet enable people to communicate over long distances easily.
Wired Digital Infrastructure
Personal computers and fiber optic cables are examples of wired networks. These networks have limited speed but can provide an advantage of establishing secure platforms.
#2. Information Infrastructure
This refers to the system that builds, stores, and disseminates data over multiple platforms. Data centers are established as the primary source of information.
Companies utilize data centers to store and process a wide range of data. If a user is closer to a data center, they usually experience better response times and service quality.
Cloud storage allows you to store data in a virtually available space and share it online with others.
Content Delivery Networks
Content delivery networks (CDN) are the critical blocks for digital infrastructure. It manages website content along with other digital media at a reliable speed.
Businesses store, manage, and organize customer data to provide facilities for financial records and inventory data.
#3. Hardware Infrastructure
Hardware infrastructure includes the physical components of a company’s IT and operations.
Servers are computing devices that offer different services like storing data, running applications, and more.
Routers and Switches
Routers and switches manage network traffic to ensure a smooth flow of data. Also, they play a crucial role in maintaining network speed throughout the operations.
Storage devices like hard disks, solid-state drives, and pen drives are in high demand due to the growing importance of information.
You will find many complex operations in a business so you must cool the equipment and power them effectively to eliminate data loss and hardware failure.
#4. Software Infrastructure
Software applications installed on the hardware devices also operate as digital infrastructure and act like the core of it.
Operating systems are used to run other applications effectively. These perform various operations between users and digital infrastructures and also bridge the gap between them.
Middleware offers facilities for numerous applications to communicate easily among themselves. It also enables digital infrastructure to work seamlessly.
Digital Infrastructure Best Practices
When you implement digital transformation the right way, it could lead to happier customers, more productive employees, and more efficient workflows.
Let’s dive into some best practices SMBs should follow while implementing digital infrastructure.
Understand and Prioritize Business Goals
The digital strategy of every company is different as they have their own set of goals and challenges. It is important to understand your business’s concerns and needs. You can implement business process modeling to identify problems, potential risks, and gaps in your business process.
It is also important to prioritize your business needs once you identify them. There is a common misconception that says you should transform all practices, workflows, and processes at once.
Involve Customers and Stakeholders
Along with digital technologies, the main component of digital transformation is people. You must involve customers and stakeholders in the process.
Stakeholders are essential since they share their viewpoints and concerns while implementing new tech. Digital infrastructure allows you and your employees to communicate better and understand needs and concerns.
Customers are also important because they are the ones for whom you are developing your products and services.
Leverage Accurate Data
It is essential to extract insights from the available data, as this helps you understand what your vendors, customers, and partners need. SMBs face the challenge of using available data, especially when data is larger. Thus, it is essential to analyze data in a single place and make informed decisions to create enhanced, consistent, and customized experiences.
To leverage data, SMBs must focus on digitizing workflows, tapping into operational, behavioral, and transactional data across various channels, and breaking down hindrances between departments and teams.
Integrate Systems and Technology
Communication between several systems is of utmost importance for a better digital transformation. SMBs make the common mistake of implementing numerous disparate systems at once to address the need for digital transformation. This makes upgrades, maintenance, and collaboration a challenge.
With digital infrastructure, you can integrate different systems and applications with each other and enable them to communicate effectively so you can perform various tasks using a single tool.
Digital infrastructure is continuously evolving with changing customer demands and emerging technologies. In the future, it can provide even more benefits to SMBs by infusing with AI, ML, automation, and other evolving technologies. As a result, businesses can operate more efficiently and obtain better results.
Cloud Computing is a modern solution for modern businesses and users. It allows us to share or use resources directly from a cloud server over the Internet, making this technology more efficient, fast, and cost-effective for everyone.
Power Your Business
Some of the tools and services to help your business grow.
The text-to-speech tool that uses AI to generate realistic human-like voices.