Many related factors need to come together to create successful IT solutions that effectively address business needs. The first requirement is that you have a product or service that is appealing to customers and either solves a problem or provides something unique to the market. Without a compelling offering, even the most efficient computing environment will not be enough to guarantee success.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that your company does indeed have an innovative product that promises to change the landscape of your business’s market sector. Your IT team has been involved in extensive planning and has developed an infrastructure that can deliver the needed support to your sales and customer service departments. Everything looks good and the organization is primed and ready for the new product’s release date.
Fortunately, the product development team has a hit on its hands. Customers and the press are spreading the word and your business rivals start scrambling to develop a competing solution rather than being left behind. This could be just the thing that your struggling company needed to set itself apart from the pack.
The only problem is that sales projections indicate that you may soon be looking at an influx of customers that will tax the capabilities of your IT infrastructure. This is certainly preferred over a lack of customer interest but brings with it its own set of challenges. If demand grows according to forecasts, your systems will be overwhelmed leading to poor performance which may be enough to drive prospective customers to another solution. For the sake of everyone in the company, this cannot be allowed to happen.
Dealing with Capacity Concerns
What may have been lost in the rush to production and flush of success is the need to plan for changing capacity requirements. Capacity planning is an essential component of businesses that have any aspirations for growth. Without adequate planning, your company will be reduced to reacting to expanding demands as they present themselves and risk being forced to implement less than optimal solutions.
Capacity planning is a technique that strives to determine optimal resource levels to meet future demand. Finding the right level of resources is critical because purchasing excess capacity reduces potential investment in other areas of the organization. Conversely, inadequate resources lead to disgruntled customers and broken supply chains.
There are five levels of capacity planning that are designed to address specific objectives and provide data with which to make informed decisions regarding business resources. These processes are beneficial for all types of business and can be used to keep enterprise IT resources at an adequate level to meet demand.
Strategic capacity planning is used to determine the capacity required to meet an enterprise’s long-term growth plans. It looks at how requirements will evolve over the next several years and is used to make decisions related to large capital investment.
Annual budget planning is a yearly process that is focused on the organization’s upcoming fiscal year. Gaps in current capacity are addressed by purchasing new hardware or augmenting the support staff.
Rough-cut capacity planning is performed as part of a monthly review of supply and demand and is meant to identify gaps in the capacity needed to meet current demand.
Capacity requirement planning emphasizes the capacity needs of individual products or systems. It is designed to understand short-term plans for the coming months so resources can be obtained to meet demand. The goal is to align sales and production to customers who can be assured of continued availability and performance.
Detailed production planning can address requirements on a more granular level. It looks at daily production needs and is used to schedule changes in resource allocation.
Capacity planning is a proven method of maintaining the necessary resources that has been used by organizations in all business and industrial sectors. It can be a valuable technique when used to address the demands put on IT resources.
An Effective Capacity Planning Solution
Modern IT environments are extremely complex and do not lend themselves to a manual approach to capacity planning. Three primary questions need to be answered when conducting capacity planning on your IT resources. They are:
- How much capacity do you currently have?
- How much capacity are you currently using?
- When do trends indicate you will run out of capacity?
Trying to answer these questions without the proper tools can lead to ineffective planning that puts your business goals at risk. IDERA’s Uptime Infrastructure Monitor offers powerful capacity planning capabilities that provide the answers you need to keep your IT systems performing at peak efficiency and meeting customer demands.
Uptime gives you an enterprise-level picture of the capacity of servers, applications, and networks. It provides a unified view of capacity across multiple physical, virtual, and cloud platforms for a complete perspective on current capacity and future requirements. The tool can identify bottlenecks and displays graphical representations of critical resources for forecasting future demand. Historical trends and capacity can be obtained from last week, last month, or last year for long and short-term planning purposes.
Don’t let your company make the mistake of releasing a great product only to be saddled by an inadequate capacity to meet customer expectations. With Uptime, you can be assured that your IT environment can handle the growth that accompanies success and keep your customers happy and coming back for more.