There is a misconception that, due to their operations not being big or complex enough to warrant sophisticated programs and software, small businesses don’t need network infrastructure. Nothing could be further from the truth, however.
All businesses today need computers and other digital devices to carry out daily operations. Even labour-intensive services have digital needs. They need to input reports for sales, inventory, cash flow and other data in computers and cloud storage, receive customer inquiries and bookings through the phone or via the Internet, and do marketing online and in social media.
The following are just a few examples of how SME’s use physical and digital networks for business operations.
Scope of Network Infrastructure
Some sources say that network infrastructure extends from software to hardware. This means that it covers everything from payroll and billing programs to computer terminals, printers, even CCTV cameras.
Other sources limit their definition of network infrastructure to software. They don’t only include the programs for internal processes but also for sales and customer service. According to Metropolitan Networks, an IT network provider based in London, well-implemented IT infrastructure makes any business run efficiently.
Regardless of the differences in definition and scope, both refer to network infrastructure as vital for a smooth and continuous business operations – and this is something that small businesses need.
Functions of a Sound Infrastructure
IT infrastructure gives businesses the benefit of order and organisation. For example, a company that runs an online-selling website has to keep track of orders from around the country, regularly update the inventory, provide accurate product descriptions on the website, notify customers of new products available on site and more.
A solid infrastructure can simplify all of these tasks. It can also provide a single dashboard through which employees can monitor all aspects of the business. There will be no need to create multiple excel sheets or manually scan data for cross-checking purposes. Moreover, when an employee needs to generate a report on sales, they won’t have to run to the sales department to check the printouts. They can simply send a request via the company’s email platform or extract the data himself if it’s accessible.
Indeed, network infrastructure for small businesses is not only a necessity but also an asset that can help them achieve success.