Provisioning is not only about purchasing servers, computers, and software licenses. The hardware and software provisioning involves planning, procurement, deployment, maintenance, and scalability. Lack of provisioning process would cost the company more long term.

Provisioning involves setting up an infrastructure to achieve the goals of an organization. Excess provisioning can be a financial burden for the business. But, insufficient resources can cost even more damage to reputation and direct revenues.

A more effective provisioning process supports a dynamic business needs. Provision of resources is quick with optimized cost. Provisioning entails analysis of the business capacity and provides agility in prioritization.

Hardware Capacity Planning

Capacity planning is useful in reducing the cost of hardware infrastructure. It adjusts the IT resources to meet the changing business demands. It optimizes resource investments to match the speed and delivery expectations.

Underprovisioning leads to service degradation, while overprovisioning wastes budget. Capacity planning ensures that enough resource is available. It entails analysis of performance requirements.

The first step in capacity planning is to identify priorities. If cost-saving is the priority, then optimize underutilized resources. For lowering risks, identify shortages and align capacity without sacrificing quality. Another goal is resource usage visibility. To achieve this, real information to unanticipated performance issues must be available. Avail of monitoring tools to assist you in gathering data.

Understanding your priority improves your hardware provisioning process. Define your scope based on actual metrics. Create a capacity blueprint to understand the provisioning needs of your company.


Create a Capacity Blueprint

In the absence of capacity planning, there is no clear idea of the business requirements. The tendency is to double the resources available. Having idle resources is a waste of money and an inefficient way of provisioning.

The recommendation is to create a capacity blueprint.

Creating a blueprint guides you every time you need to do capacity planning. The blueprint is a visual presentation of the company’s capacity requirements. It facilitates provisioning decision making.

Create a simple diagram of all the data sources. It includes platforms, applications, services, policies and other factors affecting the business. Identify metrics and non-metrics items that you need in your capacity planning inputs. Use the diagram to show how you will achieve your capacity goals. Include how you will manage cost, risks and visibility priorities.

The capacity blueprint may vary for every organization. Creating one facilitates decision making. The blueprint also allows transitioning to a new capacity planner easy.


Analyze the Software Provisioning Options

The organizational provisioning is not complete without the software required. These include the appropriate operating systems, device drivers, middleware, and applications. Usually, distributors bundle the software with the hardware as a package. You can also avail of configuration setup if you lack the expertise.

Another consideration is the applications you need in your daily operations. For example, payroll system, accounting, or HRIS. You can avail an off-the-shelf software. Or, you can have a customized application.

Some off-the-shelf software offers feature customization. Another option is for you to adjust your process to the tool.  You can also subscribe to Software as a Service (Saas) available online. The pricing is usually per user or by tier of users. The advantage is you can stop your subscription anytime.

The customized application can capture your business process. However, it takes time and more expensive. If you have an in-house software development, you can control the software management. If you need to outsource, be sure to work with a software company with a good track record.

Most big companies go for enterprise systems. They invest in an integrated system that serves their purpose long term. Startups and small companies cannot afford these systems. It’s more practical for off-the-shelf or Software as a Service (SaaS).


Harmonize Your Provisioning Process

Who owns your provisioning process, and who participates in the decision making?

There is a need to have a process owner, capacity planner, and a data monitoring specialist.  It is not necessary to assign one person for every role. You can add the responsibilities to the existing positions of your organization. For example, assign the process owner responsibilities to the operations manager. Data monitoring is usually part of the IT responsibilities.

The process owner ensures adherence to the provisioning process. It conducts process audit and drives improvements. The capacity planner conducts regular analysis to ensure enough resources is available. The data monitoring specialist handles data gathering and reporting.

Provisioning process makes sure that optimization of resources happens all the time.

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