IT departments are always challenged to reduce costs and improve services year over year. In past years, the IT department added value by selecting, installing and maintaining IT hardware and software to be reliable, available and secure. With the industrialization of this hardware and software, IT departments are now shifting focus to higher value work.
Choosing the Right Vendors and Products
Who is going to run and maintain your commodity hardware and software infrastructure? Start with an assessment of your existing infrastructure. Collect inventories, staff, and budget data to build your infrastructure service baseline. Align your infrastructure service areas to commodity systems versus legacy and proprietary systems. Using this baseline, then project your future growth, up or down in each area, and build a financial model that can be used to compare to the industrial service providers.
Benefits of Building a Baseline
This baseline can be used to drive continuous service improvement and it can also be used to benchmark against the industry to identify areas of transformation. The baseline exercise should be performed every 12-18 months to assure you are keeping pace with the new data center facilities, hardware, software, and services models. Briefly, the baseline assessment provides a number of benefits including:
- Immediate/current insight into how cost effective you are running your organization, and, more importantly, point directly at areas requiring improvement.
- Systematic approach to evaluating the current infrastructure environment and available alternatives.
- System to be used on an ongoing basis to evaluate both progress, as well as infrastructure alternatives.
- Foundation for organization/management level objectives for continuous improvement.
Aligning IT Initiatives with Enterprise Goals
Making sure that your IT department doesn’t become viewed as simply a cost-center can largely be accomplished by keeping operating and maintenance costs low, and by allowing IT to make the right decisions about vendors, providers, and products. Enterprises can’t function without effective IT, but it’s easy to forget this when IT operations are mostly “behind the scenes”. IT can be a true value provider when costs are effectively being managed and initiatives are being strategically aligned in order to achieve an enterprise’s overall goals.