IT Strategy, Planning, and Design
The IT environment continually presents new challenges to corporate management. It exists in a highly dynamic environment that is evolving at a dizzying pace. According to a 2012 white paper published by The Green Grid, the average life-cycle for most IT equipment is 3-5 years. This is true for not only the equipment being utilized, but the technological structure and approach used to support it.
Over the past few years your data processing requirements have changed. The IT Department no longer provides a set of tools used to make daily operations more productive. Today these tools have become the “competitive engine” at the center of all business operations. Inflexible IT systems and frequent outages go straight to the bottom-line, and impact such things as:
- The stream interruption
- Ability to maintain market competitiveness
- Sustainment of your company’s market share
- Damage to your organization’s reputation
- Increased exposure to litigation
- Potential regulatory compliance violations
Since it now serves as the “core” of your business operations, your IT structure can no longer tolerate being inflexible and out-of-date.
Unfortunately the cure is not as straight-forward as simply replacing out-of-date software, servers and infrastructure. In most cases the mission of these services have evolved, new capabilities have been requested, technological approaches have improved, innovations have emerged, and new vendors burst forth to challenge the established “industry leaders”. Further burdening your legacy IT architectural design are company mergers and acquisitions, “globalization” of the IT infrastructure, a shift to social media driven business, increasing federal compliance demands, and subtle changes to the economy.
Failure to proactively update the IT strategy can result in a plethora of problems, including:
- Difficulty supporting the business’s stated mission and objectives
- A rapidly escalating IT budget
- Overlapping of projects and duplication of efforts
- Growing IT environment complexity
- Difficulty in managing and monitoring operations
- inflexibility and lack of agility
- Increased risk of unplanned outages
If ignored, these problems will continue to build until a major interruption occurs or overall systems performance degrades to an intolerable level. Seldom will these deficiencies improve on their own, or resolve themselves over time!
We recommend adopting a process of rolling strategic improvements where the existing IT environment is regularly re-evaluated and re-shaped to incorporate emerging technologies and game-changing approaches. This requires a holistic review of end-to-end processes that generate revenues, not just the individual components involved.
The first step in implementing this activity is to clearly articulate and define a company’s short and long-term business goals, and determine how well the company’s current IT infrastructure is in alignment with this effort. Once the key activities and direction of the organization has been confirmed, then a gap analysis should be conducted to illuminate deficiencies between the current state of IT and the future demands that will be placed upon it. This information, along with budgetary and time constraints, will be used as the foundation for a new, forward-looking IT architecture.
The planning process is facilitated utilizing a number of information-gathering methods, including:
- An assessment of existing IT assets, requirements, policies, processes and procedures
- One-on-one interviews with internal technical leaders and thought leaders
- Questioners and surveys to specific audiences
- Management workshops
- Meetings with Stakeholders and special interest groups
- Direct feedback solicitation from internal users and end customers.
Once the company’s critical data has been collected and analyzed, only then can we start to develop a comprehensive, forward-looking strategy and design for IT environment transformation.
We can provide:
- Experienced IT strategy experts dedicated to high-level planning, design, and coordination
- A proven methodology specifically created for data center consolidation
- An array of tools and utilities specifically designed to simplify critical activities
- Individual and organizational accountability for the success of the engagement
- A consistent, methodical approach with an emphasis on attention-to-detail
Once engaged, we come to the project with no hidden agendas. We do not sell equipment or software, lobby incessantly for increasing the IT consulting head-count, or continually seek out unrelated project opportunities. Nor do we face any personal pressure to justify past architectural or deployment decisions. Our singular commitment is to ensure the timely and successful completion of the data center consolidation project at hand.
We recommend starting a discussion with us about the status of your existing IT environment, and articulating which issues you feel are the most important to address first. From this initial discussion we can begin to build out an approach that is unique to your organization, vendor-neutral and technology-agnostic, structured to meet your budgetary and timeline constraints, and measured with distinct milestones and check-points.
We place great emphasis on initial planning. Failure to plan thoroughly is second only to communication breakdowns as one of the key reasons why major projects fail. Time and money invested in the planning phase will pay excellent dividends further down the road.
If you’re ready to immediately update your current IT strategy and architectural design, please give us a call at (630) 513-9747. However, if you are aware that something needs to be done about implementing a strong strategic planning program but are struggling with how to get started, we have several assessment programs that can capture the information necessary to make good decisions about the strategic planning process. Please give us 30-minutes to help you bring clarity to this critical process.