In research published by Gartner last month, IT departments could reduce costs by as much as twenty-five percent and in as little as three years by following ten steps. Three of these steps really stood out to us, and we thought they could use a bit of additional detail. We've included these below, as well as our suggestions. Of course, it is important to remember that following the steps without proper systems and processes in place could increase cost.
- They [IT Managers] should also look to consolidate their infrastructure and operations; with consolidation being closely related to standardization, integration and virtualization.
Standardization is absolutely necessary. The old proverb reads, "A place for everything and everything in its place." This works for IT as well. Especially, if we add a similar proverb of our own, "A process for everything and everything following a process." Basically, if you are going to standardize, you need to understand the needs of your business, and how your IT organization can provide for those needs. This is accomplished best through process mapping. Often through this exercise consolidation is achieved logically and naturally.
Most importantly though, as processes are identified, strategies for managing change should be closely integrated within your IT organization and the IT Service Management (ITSM) solution you deploy. As consolidation can often maximize exposure and reduce time available to address issues caused by improper change management.
- IT support - which typically makes up 8 per cent of total IT spend - can be scaled down by automating the more standard support calls
First and foremost, you should have an understanding of which issues you tackle with the highest frequency. Then you should take a look at if and how this can be automated. In addition to automation, many solutions can be provided up front to a user through a self-service portal or knowledge base. Finally, a great deal of unnecessary and non-value add communication can be eliminated by publishing the services a user has access to. This is most commonly done through the implementation of a Service Catalog, a necessary feature for any ITSM solution.
- Enhance IT asset management (ITAM): this will identify and assess cost reduction opportunities.
Understanding what assets you have and how they are configured is essential to reducing cost in an IT organization. However, we'd like to take this concept even further. When looking for best practices through standards such as ITIL, the central element should be a an implementation of a Change Management Database, or CMDB. A CMDB not only tracks assets, but also the relationships between assets. Plus, with auto-discovery tools like those from ChangeGear, you can quickly see every asset on your network as well as the inter-dependencies mapped out, visually. This means your team can provide value by monitoring configuration settings and changes, versus the endless, and error-filled, task of maintaining similar documents manually.
Image: Flickr, Images_of_Money