No matter what their size, shape or specialisation, the temptation of investing in upgrades to existing technology is one that is faced by almost every single business in operation today. In an increasingly competitive world, the difference between meeting targets and falling short is becoming increasingly slim, with more and more IT departments attempting bridge this gap by enabling employees to become more efficient and productive through new system upgrades.
However, at the same time, it seems that fewer organisations are asking themselves what will happen to the existing technology they own. Perhaps more importantly, even less are questioning how significantly this newly-redundant equipment can impact upon their bottom line. The best example of this problem is evidenced by the growing labyrinth of data networks that exist within global enterprises today. With advances in technology continuing to gather speed, these businesses find themselves increasingly upgrading, bolting on and investing in new technology, to add to their existing data networks as a means of staying ahead.
This is fine in principle until you consider that, as a result of this investment, the number of companies who are leaving behind a considerable wake of expensive legacy infrastructure is increasing exponentially. It’s also true that the larger an organisation is, the greater the likelihood they will be forced to deal with significant challenges around their data network inventories.
These challenges are then exacerbated by poor inventory management and then, as employees leave or move without rationalising the networks they’ve built or sharing their knowledge, the picture becomes even more muddied.
To solve this problem there are a number of steps that businesses can take to make sure that they are not only planning forwards, but also backwards, when it comes to managing the costs accrued by their data networks.
As a first step, an organisation needs to give themselves a regular health check to see what equipment they have, what it adds to the overall business performance and what results they have delivered. This should help IT departments to identify inefficiencies, redesign and strip out the unnecessary equipment and will allow them to move further up what I call the ‘maturity line’ as a result.
Above all, however, it’s clear that in order to beat the data network conundrum, a closer control of spend is required. The easiest way to achieve this is to shift the owners of governance closer to the business itself. Typically, governance is the last thing that’s looked at in any kind of restructuring or M&A activity, which means it can be easy to lose money as a result.
Getting this right up-front and aligning it with specific business objectives can not only save money (as much as 10 per cent of the network spend in my experience), but can also help businesses to identify equipment they do not need. As a result, it could save organisations from getting lost in a spiral of inefficiency, and could even produce significant savings too!
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