When considering how your company can get ahead of its competitors, you've likely already thought of the obvious tactics, such as better marketing, better offers and greater visibility. Although these strategies can deliver some big gains, getting ahead can also be achieved by upgrading your IT infrastructure to boost company performance and productivity.

You may already know what's slowing down your internal IT operations--and you may have relegated those issues to the back burner. But moving those concerns higher on your priority list and solving them now as opposed to later can give you the chance to not only improve operations, but also give your business the foundation it needs to truly grow and thrive--and even overtake your competitors.

A new infographic by IBM reveals six ways that an upgraded, more reliable IT infrastructure in place can:

  • Eliminate internal silos through better communication
  • Improve customer experience
  • Predict and respond to changes in your industry

Eliminate Internal Silos Through Better Communication

Too often, organizational silos occur within a company, hindering a business's ability to harness the complete skillsets of its employees. Breaking down those silos depends not only on strengthening internal communication, but providing a system robust enough to handle high levels of activity.

With a more reliable infrastructure, employees can easily consolidate, analyze and share data from different sources, allowing better collaboration among departments. When people have a better means for cross-departmental teamwork, they'll have the ability to generate new ideas, make work processes more efficient and lay the groundwork for better productivity, all of which add up to making a company more competitive.

Improve Customer Experience

More and more frequently, marketers are relying on big data to craft a valuable, customized and tailored customer experience. By providing a 360-degree view of consumers' transactions and their activity on social media, big data can allow your company to gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior and act on market insights more quickly.

Yet this requires a network with fast enough processing power to analyze massive amounts of data and enough capacity to store it. With an infrastructure that can support these needs, your organization can make connections between your customers' Facebook interactions and your sales data, or find parallels between your Twitter feed and your PayPal transactions.

By implementing a dependable system that allows you to collect and analyze big data, you'll be able to create a targeted, personalized approach that wins over customers and gives your business a competitive edge.

Predict and Respond to Changes in Your Industry

Big data can give your company insights into more than just consumer behavior. With an infrastructure that's optimized with your business goals in mind, you can stay aware of marketplace trends and developments that can let you take immediate action and gain a competitive advantage.

When your infrastructure is designed to suit your business goals, you can continually adapt your processes and improve your operations on a consistent basis. With the ability to manage data and identify those points, you can quickly respond to--or even predict--changes in your marketplace.

By closely monitoring your brand's performance, you can follow up with customer concerns on a quicker timeline and increase their loyalty to your brand. An infrastructure that uses data to your benefit makes obtaining your business goals even easier.

Getting Started

Don't already have an IT infrastructure in place that can support your data needs and business goals? A better infrastructure will allow your business to not only gain a competitive edge, but also protect your valuable data, prepare for future growth, improve internal communication and more.

You can read more here about the six ways a better infrastructure can improve your business.

Published on: Dec 16, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.