Practical steps towards infrastructure optimisation

by Martin Atherton and Jon Collins

The business demands more and more from its investment in technology. The IT department might feel as
though it is running to stand still. From these seemingly opposed view points, how can IT and business
leaders take practical steps towards improving the organisation’s ability to deliver its own services?

Introduction

The purpose of this paper is two-fold. The first is a simple call to action about taking a step back from
the coalface to consider the value that IT brings to the business as a whole. In the current business
climate many organisations will be tempted to make IT investment decisions without being in sufficient
possession of the facts, in terms of either what users need, or what IT is able to provide.

Imagine a scenario where one area of the business is over-provisioned while another lacks access to
information to improve a particular activity, such as lead generation or customer service. A blanket,
‘no new projects’ policy would not solve the problem or highlight the over-served area. This kind of
defensive stance could hamper the business’ chances of pulling through difficult economic conditions.
Taking the step back then, even though it might feel uncomfortable and even counter intuitive, it is
important to allow IT and business leaders to gain perspective and balance.

The second goal of the paper is to help organisations think about what might constitute the
fundamentals of any approach for driving understanding and insight into their IT infrastructure. Here
we propose a non-partisan, jargon-free ‘see the wood for the trees’ methodology. If you are going to
take that step back, you need a plan, and the simpler the better.

Some organisations may be wondering where to prioritise their budgets, while others may not even
realise that certain capabilities they have are outmoded or duplicated, because they simply haven’t
had the cause to examine them for some time.

Whatever your starting point, read on for some practical tips to help you start thinking about improving
the way that IT supports the business.

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