Enterprises considering an IT consolidation strategy must ensure that consolidation of systems management tools and infrastructure policies and procedures are included in plans.
To do otherwise can offset the benefits achievable through IT consolidation.
While the business impact of converting end users from one application to another is easy to understand, the consequences of changing the underlying IT infrastructure platform will be much less apparent.
Operational processes and procedures refined over many years and left to mature in a production environment will need to be transplanted to provide an equivalent set of services in completely new surroundings.
Where IT consolidation is driven by virtualisation, the challenge is often to contain server sprawl.
Each new virtual machine needs its own set of management tools to be dynamically configured and ongoing operational demands must be catered for.
If the risks and overheads introduced through significant manual intervention are to be avoided, automated configuration, management and monitoring of all operational tasks is imperative.
Consolidating IT operations to a service delivery or outsourcing provider can help manage costs but may also impose constraints that limit future business growth.
Companies have to ensure they get a foundation IT platform that can scale in-line with future growth and offers granular controls down to business unit level.
Adoption of standard operational procedures, naming conventions and automation of manual processes can mean enterprises get the best from their service delivery provider.
Many datacentres rely on legacy applications, which are getting increasingly difficult to support and maintain as senior IT developers retire. IT departments have several consolidation options – modernise, migrate or manage their legacy applications.
While each option can breathe new life into ageing systems, non-invasive, cross-platform automation and monitoring of IT workloads is the most effective way to get applications talking to each other.
In a company buyout, finance and accounting systems are consolidated, which usually necessitates a corresponding consolidation of IT systems.
Companies need an agile IT infrastructure to support business data aggregation and conversion of end users to corporate applications.
Many individual mundane tasks within this exercise must be repeated many times, especially if the organisation is complex. Automating these activities enables companies to complete the integration of acquired companies more rapidly and with less pain.
Users don’t have to rely any longer on an old IT operations run book or the fading memory of a senior software developer.
Automated procedures can mean errors are dealt with more effectively, analysing resource use and responding quickly to provision additional resources in a virtualized environment.
Organisations seeking to rationalise business processes and procedures through IT consolidation can similarly benefit from creating automated process templates that map and execute functional tasks.
This workload can run repeatedly on behalf of multiple business units with almost zero maintenance overhead and provide companies with the scalability that can drive future business growth.
When consolidating IT, organisations need to introduce new processes, procedures or technologies. Instead of repeating old bad habits, IT departments can automate all workload wherever applicable from day one and not as an afterthought.
Stefan Zeitzen is senior vice president for sales and services at UC4 Software
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