Understanding the Importance of Office Networks
Office networks are becoming an increasingly important component of any business. Over the past decade, companies have been using IT systems to increase productivity and efficiency by fostering greater collaboration and slicker links between disparate parts of the business. Office networks are key to underpinning this interconnectivity.
An effective office network can have a multiplicative effect, compounding and accelerating the success of other elements in your business. It can also help to save employees time, which can be reinvested in value-add activities, ultimately improving your company’s overall performance.
Key Office Network Components
The core components of a network are:
- Network Router – A router serves as the central form of communication between the devices and the outside world. It is referred to as a splitter in how it functions and could be seen as the hub of all communications.
- Network Software – The router is the hardware, but your network also needs software to tell it how to handle data transfer. Networking software is essential for running the router and controlling its main function. This can also include other types of software like firewalls to ensure the security of the network.
- Cable Connectors or Wi-Fi – There needs to be something to connect each computer or device to the network router. You can either use a hard form of connection like cable connectors (Ethernet cables) or you can have a wireless network. Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly popular as it enables people and equipment to move around the office in a more ad hoc fashion while remaining connected to the network.
Once you have the basics of the network right, like providing secure internet access to employees, and shared drives to enable seamless file sharing between workers, you can start to think about more complex tasks that will really differentiate your business from your competitors.
This might include greater interconnectivity between networked devices, like machinery, allowing you to remove manual intervention and automate parts of your workflow. It could also mean collecting data from different systems into a central repository to help you understand how you can optimise your business.
The possibilities are almost endless, but it is essential that you put the right building blocks in place from the outset, so that you can do the more complicated tasks further down the line.
Network Investment and Maintenance
As your business becomes increasingly reliant on the network, it is essential that you don’t simply view it as a one off investment.
Doing a frequent check-up will help to avoid lots of problems in the future, and will highlight any element of the network that might need upgrading or replacing. You will need to ensure that your IT technicians have the right skills to carry out these check-ups and fix issues as they occur.
Rather than hiring full time staff, many small business choose to partner with an external company who will offer 24/7 network support should the network go down.
Setting aside additional funds to upgrade the network over time will ensure that you benefit from increased productivity gains that come with improved technology, enabling your company to continue to prosper long into the future.