IT Capacity Planning – Capacity Management

Capacity defined...

"The maximum amount or number that can be received or contained."

In the business world, the word “capacity” has a very broad meaning. It can pertain to the amount of data (in gigabytes) that a hard disk can contain. In some cases, it can refer to the maximum amount of data that can be received through a communication channel under ideal conditions. And it can also refer to non-technical stuff like the amount of work an organization can complete in a stipulated period of time.

When it comes to IT, however, capacity planning and management refers to the estimation of bandwidth, hardware, and software resources that a business needs to function optimally – allowing them to cater to their customers’ demands and needs without any delay. Aside from hardware and software resources, IT capacity planning and management also anticipates the traffic a business will experience as it grows.

A Quick Look At The Process

While IT experts and consultants use different tools and methodologies to map out an efficient capacity plan and management scheme, the whole process can be drilled down into 3 steps:
  • The first step requires looking into the current and future needs of the business’ customer or target market. This involves thorough knowledge and analysis of the business’ strategic plans and how it fits into the target market’s trend.
  • Next on the list of steps is Resource Capacity Management. This step addresses the capacity of the technologies being used by the business. This involves looking into hardware, network, software, and infrastructure resources – analyzing if these resources provide the most cost-effective solutions for the business to achieve its current and future goals.
  • Of course, someone has to run and keep those technologies in tip-top shape, and this takes us to the third step: Service Capacity Management. The third and final step is concerned with the services and non-technology resources (ex. manpower or personnel) that use the technology resources.

Why Is It So Important?

IT Planning Capacity is an objective effort to deliver the computing infrastructure and power necessary to keep up and support expected workflow demands in a way that delivers acceptable service levels while minimizing costs.

Capacity planning tries to answer several IT-related questions like:
  • Which technology resources are essential for the business to survive and thrive?
  • Should you buy a new server that might be rendered obsolete in less than a year?
  • Do you have the needed bandwidth to cope up with normal and peak traffic levels?

The list of questions it tries to answer goes on and on. For small business owners who’re more concerned with finding more customers for his products and services, capacity planning may sound like something that can be put off ‘til later. Nothing could be farther from the truth however!

From the definition above, we can pinpoint numerous advantages afforded by having a thorough, well-thought-out capacity plan – advantages and benefits that no business-owner would turn down. Here they are:
  • Informs You Of Your Business Maximum Capacity: Performance, load, and capacity tests (which we’ll look into in next articles) – all of these allow businesses to objectively see where they’re at as far as the maximum amount of workload they can handle goes.
    And this is BIG! By knowing your enterprise’s maximum capacity, you can anticipate how to deliver satisfactory service and keep your clients happy; what and when to give your resources an upgrade; what to do to achieve your revenue and growth goals; and more.
  • Easier Budgeting: Capacity planning pins down the personnel and technologies a business needs to maintain current operations and reach business goals. Such information becomes even more important when creating annual budgets and marketing plans – being able to closely estimate your expenses lets you develop financial projections easier.
  • Increased Scalability: Technology changes – very rapidly if I may add! The latest technology today will be obsolete in 24 to 36 months. Through detailed IT capacity planning, you can determine which technology resources (ex.: computers, memory modules, processors, etc.) to buy to keep up with your business’ current AND future demands.
    It lets you get the ‘tools of the trade’ – equipment and services – you need for growth without overspending.
  • Prepare For The Unexpected: Running a business is like playing a game of chess. You have magnificent business plans and schemes you can’t wait to put into motion. But like in a chess game, things usually don’t play out according to your plans.
    Just take unexpected traffic peaks as an example. Peak sales periods; holidays shopping; cyber monday; or promotions and discounts – all of these and more can cause traffic to go off the roof. At first sight, it sounds good! After all, every business wants MORE sales and MORE profit.
    However, unexpected traffic peaks also entail risks. If your business and its IT resources are ill-equipped to cope up with the torrent of traffic, those sales can easily turn into refunds and complaints because you can’t accommodate customers fast enough. Through IT capacity planning, you’ll be prepared to take on these unanticipated traffic spikes and milk them for what they’re worth.

Not Enough Capacity, Not Good For Business – An Example

Maybe you’re still not buying the important role of IT capacity planning in a business’ success. Let’s take a look at an example.

Let’s say XYZ Retailer launches a series of online marketing campaigns and promotions without thoroughly assessing their maximum capacity and without notifying the IT department about it.

Within a week into the campaign, traffic to the retailer’s website started increasing, which is good! But about two weeks in, the unprecendented number of eager customers ordering online turned out to be too much for the XYZ Retailer’s IT resources to handle – leading to a site crash and leaving thousands of online shoppers frustrated.

And as if that’s not enough, an active blogger with thousands of followers blogged about their negative experience with XYZ Retailer – dealing more damage to the company’s reputation.

YES, without IT capacity planning, the most effective marketing campaigns and initiatives could backfire. Without anticipating the future demand and providing sufficient processing capacity to deal with it, such campaigns will leave dissatisfied customers and lost revenue in its wake!

Our IT Capacity Planning Consultants Are Here To Help!

The example above (which is very common by the way) doesn’t have to happen to your business. Here at SPRE Labs, our IT capacity planning experts and consultants can and will get the job done:
  • We’ll Help You Every Step Of The Way: Our engineers will analyze your business applications through rigorous performance testing; review your business application and infrastructure requirements; and map-out a thorough yet flexible capacity plan and management scheme for your business.
  • We’ll Prep You For The Future: So you have grand plans for your business? No worries! We’ll help you get there. Our IT engineers will guide you in establishing processes for new applications – from app design; production; and all the way to deployment.
  • We’ll Help You Cut Down Costs: Finding an in-house IT specialist can be a pain: First, you need to advertise your job opening and that can be expensive. Then there’s the time-consuming hoops and loops of interviews and assessments you have to perform. Once you think you’ve found the man for the job, you got to provide sufficient training. And even after that, there’s no guarantee that he’ll deliver…and if he doesn’t, the vicious cycle starts all over again.

  • Having worked with numerous clients and under various business IT environments, our consultants have both the knowledge and experience to deliver the IT capacity plan your business needs to succeed. You get the expertise of an in-house specialist minus the hassle and expenses entailed by the hiring process!

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