Time strapped IT managers are often forced to prioritise “keeping the lights on” with their information and communications technology (ICT) ahead of exploring new strategies, or even getting around to analysing and optimising the environment already in place. This means if there are gaps in their infrastructure, they may slide “under the radar” while more pressing current ICT matters are attended to.
The danger of just “keeping the light on” is that any potential risks may accelerate over time. If IT managers remain fixated on where they are now, and less on planning for the short and long term futures, there is a real danger of quickly being left behind, particularly at the rapid pace that technology changes.
Maintenance costs now vs. expensive rectification expenses later
As an example, allowing product support to fall off and reach end-of-life could result in escalating future maintenance costs. We’ve found, in experience across various industry sectors, that customers who have to rectify a situation now end up paying significantly more than if they had addressed it six to twelve months earlier through regular maintenance and/or schedule product support and updates.
Approaches to risk
IT managers have clear perspective on and awareness of the risks, however they have often been hesitant to take measures against risks. Not always by choice, but perhaps due to time pressures, resource constraints, knowledge gaps or a combination of all of the above.
Although the cliché “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” does often hold up well, having information and processes to help predict network issues, breakages or bottlenecks will greatly reduce risk by being ready to act and reducing the impact any outages should they occur.
Budget pressure and cost savings
Today’s business operating environments typically involve “doing more with less”. From discussions with various IT managers, we know that budgetary constraints are at the forefront of their minds.
Most IT managers also have to be exceptional budget managers that run their departments efficiently. However, while they may know their own best practices and be widely read, it is difficult to find more efficient ways to manage cost savings.
The mobile revolution
The proliferation of mobile devices has also placed expectations on IT managers to implement wireless networks, though it is not as straightforward as many people may think. We’ve found through our deployments that providing good quality coverage and speeds, with the simplicity experienced from a home grade wireless network, requires a more secure and robust approach for a workplace environment.
We need to move to the Cloud!
With the industry buzz around the Cloud, IT managers are experiencing pressure from management to consolidate or move to the Cloud. However, some IT managers have turned to us for advice because they are unsure of what the shift to the Cloud means or what it entails, and importantly, what it means for their organisation.
Different IT managers have told us the Cloud means different things to them, so we used it as an opportunity to help them understand the benefits and risks of the approach. Through these types of honest discussions, the IT manager may realise that a move to the Cloud is not a good fit for the company.
An outsider insight
Controlling all aspects of ICT can be a fulfilling part of and a great source of pride for IT Managers, and any probing questions (justified or not) about risk may put the spotlight on their ability to do their job and deliver ICT goals. With increasing complexity, constrained resources and greater demands form management and users, it has become increasingly necessary to find trusted advisers with specialised knowledge.
The value we try to offer as an outside partner to an IT manager is our specialised insights and skills. We’ve found that IT staff at the admin level tend to be generalists than specialists, so there are situations where they are looking for external assistance.
As an external partner that works across industries and companies, we can offer insight, best-known-methods and cost-effective services. In short, we fill in the gaps by providing information, analysis and optimisation.
The benefit of foresight
Depending on the business environment, visibility is sometimes that is highlighted by IT managers as an important consideration. IT managers may not know what they have and/or what they need, and that is something we have been able to help with during discussions.
BTAS Snapshot is designed to provide an “early warning” look into a business’ network infrastructure. It’s not an audit or a consultancy, but a holistic overview of an ICT environment.
The purpose of Snapshot is not to just look at the technology, but to provide an executive or IT manager with a broader picture of their current ICT setup. It is a business-driven engagement measured against a key metrics looking at all aspects of the business, including finance.
Snapshot is a fixed engagement over four weeks, and is designed not to be a labour intensive experience for a business. While it provides insight into how more radical changes can be made to the ICT infrastructure, it is the “quick wins”, such as moving from ISDN to SIP, that will bring the immediate benefits to a business.
For companies that may not have the budgets, they can look at using the potential savings to fund some or all of the improvements. Not only can Snapshot help to justify any additional investments to an ICT setup, in certain situations it could also potentially cover the costs.