Is IT environment complexity standing in the way of your ability to make better use of cloud computing technologies? You’re not alone.
My daily conversations with prospects frequently have an undertone: “we’ve got a complexity problem,” they’re saying. Often, these IT organizations are not merely looking for software to help bridge this gap, but are looking for ways to help strategically alter the direction of IT at their business. Ideally, doing so in ways that help them to reduce complexity, unwinding a bit of the tangle that they have created in order to solve problems for which no single-package solution existed at the time.
Successful IT organizations also tend to be ones that implement simpler solutions.
Cloud computing infrastructure technologies themselves are not necessarily simple, but the ways that IT organizations interface with them often are very well understood and defined. IT organizations want to move away from existing methods of end user access, and toward a more seamless, integrated (i.e. cloud-like) look and feel to their IT enterprise. Ironically, the very complexity that organizations want to solve with cloud-backed technologies becomes a relatively large chasm that must be crossed in order to be successful. The only real answer to this problem is a game-changing approach to how solutions are designed, implemented, and procured.
There are three ways IT organizations can help bridge the complexity chasm in their environments:
Reduce risk with simple solutions
IT risk is incurred when a project requires a significant investment of time and/or money, and has a chance of failing to meet the original business need. The more expensive and time consuming a project is, the higher the risk should it ultimately fail. For this reason, reducing the time and cost required to implement a solution can significantly reduce the risk of that solution. Restated, simple solutions that can be rapidly vetted, installed, configured, and put to use by the business reduce risk by saving time. Restated again, don’t be afraid to fail fast.
Avoid typical enterprise software buying cycles
With the swipe of a credit card, IT consumers compete with their IT organizations by access a multitude of resources. Shadow IT is certainly costly, but decision makers should take note not just of the technologies their users are purchasing, but also how they’re purchasing them. Look for products that provide needed capability, but that also allow you to break out of the traditional negotiate a huge contract and pricing mechanism (only to have to be repeated in a year). These buying cycles are at odds with the ease-of-access expected with cloud.
Select technologies that ease troubleshooting
Effective troubleshooting is a challenging skill to master, yet complex solutions absolutely require this to be the most developed of an administrator’s skillset. Why is it, then, that many enterprise technologies pile on the complexity in ways that force organizations to rely even more on their staff’s troubleshooting skills? Selecting tools that are able to short-circuit long workflow dependency chains will help IT teams unwind some of the complexity inherent to solving challenging IT needs. For instance, an orchestration event constructed in a hub and spoke model is far easier to diagnose than a branched linear process, as there’s a common point of reference that can indicate exactly what, where, and why a process failed.
In summary, there are frequently many possible solutions to nearly every technical problem, but although they may solve your initial problem, those that are needlessly complex are more likely to create a pile of their own. Conversely, technical solutions that are simple tend to show value quite quickly, enabling the IT team to field a significant quick-win technology to grumpy end users.
Reducing overall complexity in the IT environment removes barriers to new technology adoption, including cloud, and is a critical success requirement on the journey to becoming a more agile IT enterprise.