A Guide To Effective Systems Management

Gain a Competitive Edge with Superior IT Systems Management

The reliable operation of your IT infrastructure is vital to your business success. Inefficiencies, recurring breakdowns, and hidden vulnerabilities can have a devastating impact on your company’s reputation, competitive position, and financial performance. No matter your industry or market niche, as your business grows, so do your IT requirements―including your need to efficiently manage, update, and safeguard vital business applications and systems. Without a diligent and focused approach to systems management, your IT department can become quickly overwhelmed, opening your IT infrastructure to increased levels of vulnerability and risk. That’s where leveraging the resources and expertise from an outside consultant can provide immense value. A good consultant will work closely with your internal team to define your business requirements, identify strengths and weaknesses, and prioritize activities to advance your business and ease your administrative burdens. In this guide you’ll discover:

  • How effective systems management can help improve business performance
  • The benefits of an optimized systems management approach
  • Key evaluation criteria for maximum return on investment
  • The advantages of working with an expert partner

Bolster and Sustain Your Business Growth


Systems management encompasses all of the components and tasks involved in monitoring and managing your IT systems and in ensuring that they perform optimally. On some level, much of what goes into systems management is “invisible” work. If your systems management team is doing its job correctly, you may not even notice their operations. But if these tasks are going undone your entire network, and your business, will feel a sharp difference. Virtually every aspect of modern business relies on an effective IT infrastructure. Whether you’re running a restaurant or an online store, you likely rely on your business systems and applications to track inventory, record sales, and communicate with customers and vendors. When your IT systems break down or stumble, your business can take an immediate hit as well. Your IT environment has many moving parts to manage and maintain. From monitoring network performance and scheduling backups, to tracking warranties and managing capacity, there’s a lot to consider. The right systems management strategy, coupled with skilled expertise, will allow you to address your most pressing business and technology challenges while helping to reduce costs, optimize resources, and keep your IT systems operating at peak performance.

Effective systems management can help protect your business against the fallout from downtime and unforeseen threats, whether caused by accidental or malicious intent, power outages, or natural and man-made disasters.

Every IT environment has different needs. That’s why effective systems management requires a customized approach, taking into account key infrastructure requirements, risk factors, performance capabilities, and cost savings. A well-planned and efficiently executed strategy will help you:

  • Improve asset and resource utilization, allowing you to preserve in-house talent for more strategic priorities.
  • Mitigate risks and safeguard data through better security, compliance and backup and recovery practices.
  • Optimize reliability and availability of services and applications for greater productivity and enhanced performance.
  • Improve collaboration through better integration and connectivity of systems and resources.
  • Reduce costs and optimize efficiency by automating systems management processes.

Exceptional IT Performance: Today’s Business Imperative

Optimize Your Systems Management Approach

In today’s high-speed, hyper-connected world, it’s no longer enough to simply keep the lights on. It’s essential that your IT systems, devices and networks operate at peak performance all the time. That’s where systems management plays an increasingly vital role―providing the strategic direction and optimum balance of resources you need to drive productivity, increase efficiency, protect assets, and gain an important competitive advantage.

Disparate IT systems and components pieced together through mergers and acquisitions often have limited integration capabilities. Meanwhile, legacy platforms require increased management resources as they age. Over time, these mounting deficiencies and service demands can create short-term support gaps, integration challenges, and scalability barriers. Ideally, your system management solution should offer both break-fix solutions and monthly fixed-rate packages, so that you can choose the option that’s right for you, both now and as your business needs change. When implemented correctly, an effective systems management strategy facilitates greater productivity and leaves you free to focus on more pressing business priorities. Criteria such as size and scope of your IT environment, number and diversity of devices, and depth of expertise and capabilities all come into play when planning an optimum systems management approach. Following is an overview of some of the core components that comprise a robust systems management program.

  • Asset management: Maintaining an accurate inventory of all hardware, software, and other assets within your IT environment is critical for protecting against potential vulnerabilities, ensuring optimum compatibility and performance, and saving money by tracking which products you’ve already purchased. With effective inventory management, you’ll know whether your systems are running up to date software, are supported by warranties, and are patched with the latest anti-virus definitions.
  • License and warranty management: Keeping track of all of the licenses and warranties on your system can be a tedious, time-consuming task―but an extremely important one, since it allows you to keep tabs on exactly when support or warranty coverage on your equipment is going to run out. Outsourcing this task can help remove a substantial administrative burden while reducing your support costs.
  • Capacity monitoring: Insufficient CPU bandwidth or disk space can result in workload disruptions and unplanned downtime. Using best practice techniques and tools, we continually monitor the capacity of all your workstations and servers, along with your networks and storage devices. Capacity monitoring allows you to be proactive and address issues before they turn into more serious problems.
  • Configuration management: The latest configuration tools allow you to monitor for configuration changes, checking to see, for example, whether logon accounts have been changed, or whether any other changes have been made to your systems and software. For optimum results, you’ll want to review your server configuration and compare it to the ideal state, where you expect it to be; we will then report back to you on any ways that it differs from the norm.
  • Automation and change management: Many IT management processes can be automated to enable more efficient use of your internal resources. Network automation tools can provide insights into faults, performance, availability, bandwidth, and IP address management. The best systems management tools will help you centralize and automate patching and software updates, as well as backups and restores.
  • Performance monitoring: Regular monitoring of server, storage, network, and client devices can help reduce outages and improve performance. When a potential problem arises, performance monitoring tools can create alarms and notify administrators of potential or actual failures, capacity problems and other network or IT system-related events.
  • Help and service desk management: With the right support capabilities, your IT teams can create and issue tickets, track changes, flag faulty assets for repair, and resolve problems from a single dashboard.
  • IT security and compliance: This task involves running anti-virus and malware programs and implementing robust threat detection and data protection defenses. An outside consultant can also provide guidance and recommendations on regulatory compliance and IT security concerns.

Elements of an Effective Virtualization Strategy


Although most companies use some form of virtualization, many are not optimizing its full potential. Part of the reason is the rapid pace of technology change. Another reason is poor planning and a failure to carefully evaluate important implementation criteria. To optimize the full potential of virtualization, it’s important to begin with a well-planned, coherent strategy. While no effort can account for every potential scenario or obstacle, a good plan should emphasize transparency and flexibility; include a detailed assessment of technical resources and business requirements; and follow best practice policies for data protection and recovery. Even if you plan the ideal virtualized project for your current needs, your expectations will ultimately come up short if you don’t incorporate flexibility into your design. Cloud and virtualized environments are rapidly evolving, and many IT implementation models are already transitioning to hybrid configurations to some extent. That proportion will continue to shift, so IT must build and maintain infrastructures that can adapt, scale and evolve to meet shifting business needs and market demands.

Central to developing a sound virtualization strategy is understanding the details of your current IT environment. This means identifying the types of applications you run, which physical servers are installed, how they utilize resources, and their function and purpose to your business goals. Getting a clear picture of what already exists and how it is used will help determine the best approach.

In some cases, the biggest error is creating a virtualized environment to begin with. Not every device or system necessarily needs to be virtualized. In some instances, you may need or prefer the performance or characteristics of a physical machine. Consider the following aspects of your IT environment:

  • Which applications and data reside on which server? How are they used?
  • What level of availability do these applications require?
  • Does any single application depend on others to run?
  • Do you anticipate changes in scale due to expansion or acquisition?

Gaining this level of technology insight will help you make more accurate investment decisions and is instrumental to shaping an effective long-term strategy.


Leverage the Expertise of an Experience IT Partner

Leveraging the benefits of new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and the cloud can help drive innovation and propel business growth. But it can also stretch the limits of your IT management capabilities.

At ZAG Technical Services, we can help remove the chaos and complexity of managing your IT systems and infrastructure. Our team of expert integration and technology management consultants will assess your IT environment, identify weaknesses, streamline processes, and deploy best-of-breed solutions based on your unique business requirements.

ZAG provides systems management services and solutions across several core areas:

  • Inventory management
  • License and warranty management
  • Capacity and storage
  • Configuration management
  • Server and network performance and optimization
  • Automaton and change management
  • Security and compliance

It’s difficult enough to find and train new IT talent, but how do you know they are qualified to maintain and manage your critical business systems? Our experienced systems management experts are skilled at managing rapidly evolving technologies and complex IT ecosystems. We place top priority on continuously monitoring, updating, patching, servicing, and managing your infrastructure and systems at an optimum cost. At ZAG, we go beyond traditional IT management approaches and work closely with you to understand your needs, uncover your pain points, and define your goals. Leveraging the latest technology and support techniques, we then implement a flexible solution that aligns with your business objectives. Our team will guide you as your business grows and your support needs change. While there is no quick fix for managing today’s complex technology requirements, you can put your mind at ease by teaming with an experienced partner. ZAG will help you assess your management gaps and identify obstacles and vulnerabilities in your IT environment. We’ll help you address immediate pain points, but also plan for incremental capabilities that your company may need over time.

Our comprehensive IT assessment provides deep insight into your IT operation, identifying opportunities for cost optimization and making sure your business strategy is supported by your existing technologies. We provide a step-by-step plan for implementation, including a detailed review of key projects identified as top priorities for meeting your business goals.

For more than 20 years, ZAG has been helping organizations shape their IT strategy, manage inventory, protect assets, and keep technology current, compatible, and compliant. We’ll work with you to identify gaps in your current processes, implement standard methodologies, improve the performance of remote systems, and help make your infrastructure more agile, scalable, and efficient. Our flexible delivery model is designed to fit your unique business and IT requirements. With our full-service managed service provider (MSP) solution, you get the benefit of ZAG’s top -of-the-line tools, for a flat monthly fee; this includes the full array of ZAG’s MSP services. For more scaled down needs or those with an in-house IT specialist, our break-fix service offers a pay-as-you need option with the added benefit that comes with partnering with an established IT consultant like ZAG. With ZAG, you are never locked into a contract, and you are never confined to any single way of managing your IT operation. We continue to assess your performance, stability and efficiency and provide guidance and recommendations to propel you forward.

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