Written by Patrick White
unreliable and inefficient IT infrastructure It’s plaguing companies across all industries.
Many leaders are so focused on driving innovation that they fail to prioritize streamlining and consolidating their IT infrastructure. The result is inefficient IT operations, unstable environments, and high operating costs.
What’s worse, most leaders are unaware of how growing “IT sprawl” is impacting their operations and customer relationships.
How to identify if your IT footprint is growing too much
I have over 20 years of experience working in global IT across multiple industries. Many companies have freed up physical space and increased flexibility by shrinking their IT footprint. I’ve consistently seen six signs that companies are facing IT sprawl.
- Integration issues: Attempting to integrate too many variations, technologies, and services into one cohesive system results in massive IT proliferation.
- Difficult to find talent: The ongoing IT skills gap and the diversity and complexity of an organization’s IT systems can make it especially difficult to find specialized employees to manage a variety of systems.
- Complex maintenance contracts: Having too many products and systems in your IT environment can lead to confusion and repeated revisions to contracts to account for new infrastructure.
- Ever-increasing costs: The more extensive your IT footprint, the higher your IT costs per person. These costs vary widely by industry. IT costs for an oil company are different from those for a call center company. It is important for leaders to know the benchmarks for their specific industry.
- Low utilization and siled data storage: Servers and infrastructure can be underutilized, and having too many environments, applications, and platforms creates significant inefficiency and duplicative functionality. Siled data storage is one of the most visible indicators of IT sprawl.
- shadow IT: IT sprawl is further exacerbated when non-IT personnel deploy and manage their own IT assets and systems (for example, when engineering teams install and manage application servers without IT personnel’s knowledge). and may pose security, availability, reliability, and other risks.
Many of these signs and symptoms are a direct result of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), the decentralization of IT departments, and changing priorities for CIOs. Companies that have undergone a number of M&As may have accumulated an IT infrastructure that is not organized or integrated.
Similarly, companies with distributed IT can be managed across geographies, functions, and offices, making governance and management extremely difficult. Additionally, if a CIO lacks a concrete strategy or has ever-changing priorities, the enterprise’s IT breadth increases unnecessarily.
Preparation is key when dealing with your IT footprint
Before you begin, it is important to do the following: Discovery, inventory confirmation, communication work:
- Build for the future of your business. To make the best IT decisions, you need to know what your business currently uses and what it plans to use in the future. (You may think it is important to modernize IT in 200 locations, but your organization may have plans to retire those 200 offices.)
- Be aware of your end users’ IT usage. Understand how your users apply IT and what can and cannot be migrated without business interruption. If you move a server 3,000 miles away from her and that server is used hundreds of times a day, your end user’s business will slow down significantly.
- Prioritize streamlining: Progress cannot be achieved without rationalization. Before creating automation, you need to be aware of what and how IT will be used.
- Communicate the plan with all stakeholders. All parties must be informed and consented throughout the process. Some teams may be using older apps, and moving away from those apps could be detrimental to your business if you weren’t aware of the upgrade.
- Complex technical requirements are expected. Technology leaders need to be involved in every phase from day one to help the business make the right decisions.
Customer use case
I recently worked with a global infrastructure company that was facing significant risk, outages, and business impact from servers reaching end-of-life status. We help this company refresh, consolidate, and virtualize physical and virtual servers and storage around the world, perform data center and office infrastructure discovery, and deploy new virtualization hosts and clusters. and eliminated as many physical servers as possible.
As the implementation progresses, the company is experiencing significantly fewer outages across its sites, resulting in:
- automated incident troubleshooting,
- Reduce network latency with local output via Palo Alto Prisma,
- standardized network enterprise routing technology, and
- Established world standard configuration and verified by automated compliance checks.
5 steps to shrink your IT footprint
To reduce your IT footprint, we recommend the following five-step workflow:
- Discover: Run discovery to create an IT inventory of servers, storage, applications, and services.
- analysis: Analyze inventory, capacity, age, utilization, and performance.
- review: Review analysis results with users to identify opportunities to rationalize, consolidate, or retire applications and services.
- create: Create a design, cost case, and plan that includes a modern, streamlined, and integrated IT infrastructure and capacity for new features and services.
- Execute: Execute plans to rebuild, migrate, decommission, modernize, and centralize your IT infrastructure.
IT and business leaders should also be involved. Note that reaping the benefits of a reduced IT footprint requires initial and ongoing investments, such as new hardware, repair work, and update work. Upgrades may also require changes in user behavior, such as eliminating parts of shadow IT.
Healthy IT footprint
Organizations are constantly changing, including M&A, divestitures, and digital transformation. By consolidating, optimizing, and streamlining your IT infrastructure, you create both efficiency and resiliency, freeing up your time and budget to focus on innovation that better serves your customers and business.
See how Kyndryl can help Modernize your IT environment Accelerate your business goals.
Patrick White is a Vice President and Account Management Partner at Kyndryl.