Modernizing your IT structure can provide a solid foundation for improving performance and reducing expenses. With tech of the 21st century mobilizing survival-of-the-fittest, sink-or-swim mentalities, dated tech can quickly increase costs and slow performance, especially when old IT interfaces with freshly evolved apps.
Outdated infrastructure usually includes complex systems in outsourced environments. These systems are often wrapped up in contracts that could cost millions and span years. Unfortunately, these obsolete contracts slow the time to market, reduce productivity, and create security vulnerabilities.
Luckily, if recent IT upgrades make you look like you’re running Windows ‘94, there are steps you can take to update. Here are six tips for modernizing your IT structure.
Upgrading your IT infrastructure offers several benefits. Modernizing the IT structure reduces outsourcing expenses for many companies, often by tens or hundreds of millions. A modernized IT infrastructure offers more computing and storage efficiency with speedy delivery and requires fewer resources to maintain.
Innovative and modern IT infrastructure offers better service for all users, including a help desk with multi-lingual support. It opens opportunities for innovation as modern infrastructure includes access to pay-as-you-go technology and AI applications. It also allows organizations to consolidate their data centers with real-time threat protection.
If your IT system is slow, expensive, and dated, it’s time to modernize to increase flexibility and incorporate more innovative applications. One way to update the IT infrastructure is by incorporating new technology like SUSE Linux Enterprise Server’s multimodal architecture. The cloud-agnostic design allows swift transition to the public cloud, including Alibaba and Oracle.
Making significant changes to a modernized IT system can disrupt user experience in the short term. Roll out major IT updates in stages to avoid downtime.
Create conditions for change
Just like a freight train can’t stop on a dime, implementing change in a large organization takes time. Before making intimidating IT infrastructure changes, companies need to prepare senior leadership for the shift.
After working with an outsourced IT company, leadership considers the vendor to be a business partner. Senior leaders need to realize that the vendor is only following through on the contract, which could be several years old.
A true partner will research and develop new technology and share it with you. Because a contracted vendor does not have a direct stake in your company’s expansion, they may fulfill their contractual obligations and nothing else. Senior leadership should be aware that just because you have an IT contract does not mean your company is getting every update that it should.
If IT modernization will affect the bottom line, stakeholders should be part of the conversation. Leadership should have the company’s best interest in mind, and a major IT infrastructure upgrade can help increase the bottom line.
However, every case is different, and some businesses might find that an upgrade does not make financial sense. Organizations should evaluate the ROI of a massive overhaul like upgrading IT infrastructure before committing to any changes.
Evaluate the existing vendor contract
Before making changes, organizations should look closely at their current contract. After five to ten years of working with the same IT vendor, many companies can save around 30 percent by shopping around for other providers.
IT services change and adapt as quickly as any other industry. Companies that stick with the same vendor for too long may be flushing money down the drain. Businesses considering a change can request market comparisons for cost-modeling, and these will usually show savings and more modernized services with other providers.
Reevaluate your infrastructure design
Upgrading infrastructure often involves reevaluating and redesigning your strategy to find the best value for money. Modernized IT infrastructure requires balancing cost-optimization, collaboration, security, responsive performance, reliable data analytics, and remote convenience.
The new infrastructure also needs room for virtualization, rapid deployment, cloud scalability, and innovative AI use. Companies should also decide what aspects of their old infrastructure to keep, whether to own or lease the new technology and how quickly expansion should happen.
Look to server consolidation and rationalization
Modernized infrastructure often uses fewer physical servers and server types. Consolidation reduces the overall number of servers, while rationalization reduces by type. Organizations looking to update should evaluate their server inventory to determine how many and which types of servers they use the most.
After taking stock of your servers, look for inefficient proliferation that only meets ad-hoc needs. You may have extraneous equipment that was once a quick fix hanging around and draining your resources. Once businesses have identified unnecessary services, an IT team can develop a standard infrastructure management plan and determine the next steps.
Reduce the common locations through consolidation and automation, and decide how many and what type of servers your business needs. Trim the fat, and keep the rest.
Dig through service catalogs
Any significant business upgrade requires market research. For IT, this research will take place using service catalogs. These portfolios consist of the products and services that vendors offer to business partners. Look first at the standardized offerings for the most cost-efficient options. The tiered choices usually include customized technology, which can significantly increase costs and complexity.
Service catalogs show how vendors support IT strategies and growth. When companies use a vendor’s service catalog, the two organizations can communicate more effectively about the potential for IT-driven collaboration and competitive advantages. You, as the representative, also have a better understanding of what’s on offer.
Select an IT vendor
Companies often struggle to modernize their IT infrastructure on their own. Working with a new IT vendor can cut time and save money, but the new vendor needs to understand your company’s goals, strategy, culture, and practices. Stakeholders should consider several factors before choosing a new vendor.
Since technology rapidly changes, a new IT vendor should have an improvement model to adopt innovative emerging technologies like AI. Your new vendor should explain how they research, develop, and add new tech for clients like you.
If you plan to sign a multi-year contract with a new vendor, take the time to evaluate their advisory potential and organizational fit. Your stakeholders should understand the vendor’s commitment to helping your company perform. The vendor’s working culture should also mesh with your organization’s culture and vision.
The vendor should offer a quote for both the transition and regular maintenance throughout the contract. Talk to multiple vendors to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Modernizing your IT structure can be intimidating, especially after developing a working relationship with a pre-existing vendor. But making the change can save money, reduce complexity, and improve the bottom line.
Before choosing a new vendor, companies should closely evaluate their current systems and decide what needs changing and why. Companies should also look closely at new vendors’ offerings and how each vendor meshes with your company culture. With the right vendor and resources, you can bring your business into the future.