By Kip Thurston, Vice President & General Manager
Spring is coming. For many organizations, it’s a hopeful time of year. January and most of February are filled with budget discussions, but by March and April, those negotiations are (mostly) behind us. Best of all, there’s still plenty of time left in the year to make things happen.
To get the rest of the year started off on the right foot, we suggest a little in-house spring cleaning. Below are three ideas, any of which could be blown up into a major project. However, even minor efforts in each of these areas can help you realize some quick wins.
#1 Out with the Old
Almost every organization has some part of their IT infrastructure that’s getting a little long in the tooth. Now may be a good time to consider which of your applications and data sets can be moved from aging on-premises hardware and into the cloud. You can get immediate performance (and security) improvements and make hardware upgrades and maintenance a thing of the past.
Tip: Clouds are not an all or nothing strategy. Most organizations we work with use some form of hybrid IT, with their applications and data spread across public and private clouds as well as on-premises data centers. Taking this approach can help you manage your budgets wisely, ensure data security, and get the performance you need.
#2 Remove Waste
Organizations in industries from manufacturing to healthcare are well-acquainted with the “lean” philosophy. The objective is to remove waste from processes, i.e., anything that doesn’t add value for the customer. This concept can be applied to IT processes as well. Everything you do, from upgrading systems to running the help desk, is customer-focused, although in the case of IT, your customers are often sitting in the same building.
Tip: Start by mapping out one of your more challenging processes. This should be done as a team exercise that involves individuals with first-hand knowledge of the process. For example, if you’re going to examine system maintenance processes, be sure to include the technicians who perform the work, not just their managers. Be open to a few “ah ha” moments. Many IT leaders can learn a lot about what actually happens in their departments from these discussions.
#3 Improve Asset Utilization
In this case, we’re not talking about your infrastructure. Instead, we’re referring to your most important asset – your people. Many organizations, especially small and mid-sized
organizations, ask their IT staff to wear multiple hats, e.g., SQL administrator one day and security specialist the next. While it’s good to develop skills across a wide variety of disciplines, this approach can leave some of your most talented IT staff feeling unfulfilled. The personalities drawn to IT often like to be seen as “experts” in their field, and when they jump from one thing to the next, they never have the time to develop that level of expertise.
Tip: Work to understand your IT employee’s aptitudes and interests and help him/her carve out a niche that leverages both. Raising employee morale and job satisfaction can help you reach business goals faster and weather the ongoing IT skills shortage. Of course, taking some things off one employee’s plate means you’ll either need to add it to someone else’s or outsource those tasks to a managed service provider.
Once you begin the process, it will be difficult to stop at only a few modifications. Spring cleaning is invigorating and might be just the thing to breathe new life into your IT
Kip is responsible for the management of day-to-day operations of TierPoint facilities in the Mid-South Region, which include Little Rock, Arkansas and Nashville / Franklin, Tennessee data centers. His focus on facilities management and customer service range from facility monitoring and maintenance to structured cabling, server configuration, and basic troubleshooting assistance. No day is the same for Kip as he leads and assists his local team in a variety of areas: capacity planning, supporting new business opportunities and providing high-level tours and facility insight.