Simplification can be helpful, but only if you do it right.
IT is complex – there’s simply no getting away from that. But just how complex it needs to be is another matter entirely. Far too often, businesses have IT solutions that are badly in need of simplification, but because they don’t realise this fact, they struggle on with what they have. So what’s the solution?
First of all, you need to understand what is meant by complexity. When talking about IT, IBM came up with a helpful definition in its paper ‘An Introduction to IT Complexity and the value of measuring and understanding it’. Broadly speaking, when something has many parts, all working together, it is complex; when something is unnecessarily complex, it is complicated.
This is important, because a certain amount of complexity is inevitable, and there’s no point in making something simpler if it becomes less useful as a result. In the case of cyber security, for example, a multi-layered approach is recommended, and simplification could potentially lead to greater risk.
So, in short, your aim should be to identify and eliminate unnecessary complexity.
Consequences Of Complexity
If your IT solutions are too complicated, it can have significant implications for your business. Among them:
- Wasted resources: If you lose track of what you have in your IT systems, they may be neglected.
- Performance problems: A slow network, for example, can be the result of unoptimised connections.
- Security risks: Without full visibility, you may be at increased risk of cyber attacks.
- Compatibility: Interactions between different components and software may be problematic.
- Difficulty in troubleshooting: Identifying the root cause of problems is often trickier in more complex systems.
- Reliability issues: The more you have, the more there is to go wrong.
- Difficulty of use: Users may struggle to operate your IT solutions effectively.
Although businesses should aim for simplicity in their IT solutions, it should not be done at the expense of usefulness. The trick is to identify only complexity that can be eliminated without compromising functionality. In some cases, that may not be possible at all, because the complexity of that technology is fully justified. However, in our experience, there are several areas in which firms can usually simplify their IT without detriment to their business. These include:
- Online email exchanges: A lot of businesses don’t need an on-site email server but would get along just fine with Microsoft Exchange Online.
- Network optimisation: Over time, networks tend to grow larger and more messy. This can result in loss of performance and reliability. Removing unnecessary devices and reorganising connections can improve this.
- Consolidation of providers: When you have one company supporting one thing and a different company supporting another, it can making getting help slower than necessary. Consider consolidating service providers to reduce confusion.
- Managed IT support: Managed services mean you always know what you’re paying and what you’re going to get.
- Cloud servers: Do you really need a server cabinet for your file sharing? If not, an Azure cloud server could simplify not only the daily management of your server but also software licensing for it.
- Replacing legacy systems: Older IT solutions may have a couple of problems. For a start, they may not be as easy to use as newer technology. Also, in some instances, one new technology can do the job of several older ones.
These solutions won’t suit every business, of course, but they’re worth considering, if you’ve never done so before. We’d be willing to bet that most organisations will have at least a few areas of their IT that would benefit from being less complex.
The best way to find out? Give us a call and arrange an IT audit with us. We’ll be able to tell you what’s working for you and what’s not.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
Ernst Friedrich Schumacher