IT can be split into two spheres - infrastructure and systems. Systems address the suite of software applications that are used be the business. Infrastructure are the components (operating systems, networks, servers, desktops, notebooks, etc.) that are used to supply and interact with the corporate applications.
The strategic importance and operational reliance on the corporate applications must be understood. For those systems that are critical, careful consideration must be taken in selection and integration as these applications tend to be the longest lived within the business. This is especially true when being integrated or built using web based solutions (Web 2.0, AXAJ, .NET, PHP, Database driven, etc.) For smaller organizations it is often difficult to avoid the development of quick in-house solutions that do not integrate and lead to restrictive support requirements. Getting the balance right is not easy nor is it always obvious which is the better solution.
Some applications are only supported by dedicated implementation companies. MRD Global does not compete against these specialist teams. It is recommended to utilize these specialist companies where appropriate for the deployment of their specialist application. One of the challenges of such an implementation is its integration with the existing applications. This, along with coordinating the overall deployment within the custom environment is where a more generalize consultant is required.
Applications can be split into some common groupings
For integration, maintenance and support entity diagrams, data dictionaries and data flows are essential. These enable 3rd parties to work with the application suite.
The infrastructure covers topics varying from security, computers and disaster recovery. A good infrastructure is required to address these basic needs in addition to providing the platform for application deployment.
A secure environment focuses as much internally as it needs to externally. The majority of security related breaches occur from within the organization. Access rights are as important as firewalls, VPN's and secure email communications.
A network provides the user with basic services that enable day to day work. All network resources need to be managed and access controlled. Services range from providing computing equipment, login, printing, disk space, connectivity and access to applications.
Backups are only useful if they work and an environment exists for restoring the data. Business continuity covers both the backup and restoration at another location as part of a disaster recovery plan. The DR plan itself is mostly concerned with the coordination of staff and communications. The restoration of data is only a small part of DR.