Each year, IT is tasked with a growing number of strategic or business-changing initiatives. There are more of these projects, and they are more important to the enterprise. In fact, IT’s ability to deliver on these projects directly correlates to the success of the business. Yet IT is not being given additional resources to handle this growing critical workload. So we’re all left asking: How does IT facilitate evolution and deliver innovation without more resources?
In order to be able to focus on what’s really important, IT may have to do a bit of housekeeping itself, in the form of taking a hard look at what’s consuming technical resources and management time. A great place to start is by looking at the organization’s basic IT infrastructure.
Here are 5 best practices for freeing up IT resources for strategic initiatives:
1. Evaluate IT Infrastructure & Associated Management Time
The first step is to evaluate what you can actually control. That includes IT infrastructure and the associated process management. The basic question: Are the infrastructure choices at your company adding or reducing process?
Consider this from a storage perspective. If you’re relying on traditional file system infrastructure, then your group is spending time constructing RAID groups, building volumes and shares, laying out those volumes or shares over traditional disks and so on. All of this is done in the name of storage – a critical component, but not necessarily a high-value strategic initiative.
2. Identify Solutions that Reduce Process Management
Once you’ve pinpointed those segments of your infrastructure that swallow up IT time, the next step is to identify solutions that reduce process management. Are there infrastructure choices you can make that will cut the time you need to dedicate to storage, data protection and restores? Is there a way to unify systems across different locations so you’re not dealing with a siloed IT infrastructure? Can you identify solutions that will limit the need for massively time-consuming projects like data migrations?
3. Consolidate Point Solutions
One of the easiest ways to reduce process management is to consolidate point solutions. I’ve worked with many IT leaders who complain about the overly complex and sometimes incompatible mix of infrastructure solutions they’ve come to rely on. They have one solution for storage, another for backup and still more for disaster recovery, mobile access and collaboration. Every added solution means more management upgrades, patches, refreshes, etc. And that means more time.
“Together, these 5 best practices for freeing up IT resources will help your group find more time to start those maybe-next-year strategic initiatives sooner.”
If you can find systems that unify two or more – maybe even all – of these point solutions, then you’re going to drastically simplify your environment and free up more resources.
4. Eliminate Backup & Other Time-Consuming Systems
Data protection is absolutely essential, but traditional backup solutions are precisely the kind of thing that IT needs to re-evaluate. Now that the cloud is a backup target, there’s no longer any need for extended, bandwidth-hogging backup pushes late at night or on the weekend. There are far more powerful and efficient ways to protect enterprise files and unstructured data.
IT should make it a priority to replace any time-consuming tools, but backup should get the first look.
5. Choose Scalable Management Tools
Ideally, IT should be viewed as a growth facilitator – a segment of the business that improves efficiency and agility. Management tools that unify IT infrastructure, and allow you to oversee storage, access control, data protection and more from a distance will be hugely valuable. This unified approach to infrastructure, in which silos are replaced with one overarching system, also makes it much easier to scale. New offices and locations are easier to incorporate when IT has a unified infrastructure.
Together, these 5 best practices for freeing up IT resources will help your group find more time to start those maybe-next-year strategic initiatives sooner. They’ll also help IT shift from a defensive posture to an offensive one, in which IT is driving and enabling growth and efficiency, not hampering them.