Technology is never-ending. It is constantly changing and evolving, and today’s IT teams are, without a doubt, enjoying the benefits of faster and better technology. However, this results in IT complexity. Enterprise IT environments are becoming more complex by the day, and the teams need to manage them and also work on innovations. They are assigned to simplify IT complexity on top of managing and developing an array of operating environments.
Mobile technology is on the rise, workplaces are currently more spread out, and IT teams are tasked with figuring out how to secure remote workers’ mobile devices, protect the network, and support their productivity. While also being able to streamline overlapping technology so they can minimize compatibility problems and reduce redundancy.
IT complexity is extremely high in most companies, and this will be an ongoing trend. However, that does not mean that a lot of complexity is necessary.
IT complexity can translate to reduced flexibility, agility, and higher costs in a company. Therefore, it is important to reduce IT complexity, which is invaluable to your company. It is not easy, but it can be done.
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When Does IT Complexity Happen?
A company needs to simplify IT since it can help prevent the build-up of invaluable IT complexity, which is often difficult to reduce. Complexity gradually builds up, and it usually stems from various causes.
Some of the most common drivers that make IT complexity occur are:
- an improper understanding of the complexity costs
- inadequate IT governance with decision making that is not centralized,
- and mergers and acquisitions.
Another common factor is the historical fondness of IT organizations always saying yes to business propositions without critically looking at the long-term and companywide results of these infinite individual decisions.
As aforementioned, complexity grows over time. This is because systems that are meant to perform a specific task are modified and morphed to perform tasks that they were not meant to perform. So when different technologies overlap each other, complexity occurs.
When you get a new system, you need to get rid of the old one. When you do not, it makes your system redundant and costs money. There is little innovation and this prevents your organization from identifying new business opportunities.
Therefore, it would be best to get rid of the old systems, find out what needs replacing and replace them as needed.
Luckily, you can significantly reduce and even eliminate unnecessary complexity if you use the right approach. The impact on IT performance and costs will be significant. The effort to effectively simplify IT can reduce infrastructure and application costs by 30% or so. It will also give your IT enterprise greater agility and flexibility and possibly improve the general ability to support the organization’s business objectives.
The Dangers of IT Complexity
As mentioned earlier, IT complexity stems from multiple factors and not just a single course. They are also build-up gradually. For instance, more factors that may lead to complexity include the cloud gaining rapid popularity, leftover redundant technology from a merger and acquisition, the sudden shift to remote work, and a poorly planned innovation. All these add different specific challenges. Other than that, they also introduce threats to your organization that can affect all corners of your business. Starting with the productivity of your employees to disaster recovery and business continuity. The most common dangers that are usually related to IT complexity are,
Most organizations always fail to eliminate old systems when they innovate and add technology, which leaves different systems performing the same function at various efficiency levels. IT is tasked with maintaining all the systems, redundant or not, and this takes away the time that can be spent on higher-value tasks and innovation.
Increased Cybersecurity Risks
It is challenging to secure a complex system because remote endpoints, third-party service providers, and more vendors have access to your network, creating and increasing security gaps and vulnerabilities. Since the attack surfaces of companies have broadened, cybercriminals have also increased their threat volume against enterprise-level businesses.
Inefficient Backup and Recovery
The more complex IT environments get, the harder it is to efficiently backup because its data may be spread across different platforms. IT has to juggle multiple infrastructures, so it is hard to have one backup and recovery strategy to cover everything.
Downtime Stopping Business Operations
Regardless of the size of your business, downtime is bad, but it is more devastating for enterprise-level businesses. The damage you sustain to your reputation, and your bottom line will depend on how long your critical systems are unavailable.
Compliance and Regulatory Issues
Each IT complexity layer leaves room for oversight and mistakes, which can lead to possible legal issues and hefty fines, and you do not want to be on the wrong side of a compliance audit, especially if you are in an industry that is highly regulated. If the third-party service providers you work with do not take compliance seriously, they leave you open to liability.
How to Reduce IT Complexity and Ensure Business Continuity
The above-listed are some of the dangers of complex IT in an organization. There are multiple reasons why it is essential to simplify IT. For instance, when you reduce complexity, it eliminates all the complex processes that are unnecessary and often prevents change, growth, speed, or increases the cost.
The reduction of complexity makes you rethink processes, which can help your company grow significantly. Reducing your IT complexity is not just about cutting costs. It also forces you to understand the source, allows your IT team time to focus on innovations, and identifying opportunities. Listed below are ways to reduce IT complexity to ensure there is business continuity if you experience a crisis.
1. Identify the Causes
As mentioned earlier, adding new systems without getting rid of the old ones is one of the top causes of complexity. Unintentional dependencies make cleanup harder as time goes by, so IT must phase out the old technology to prevent this from happening.
2. Create a Road Map for Your Business and Future Goals
It is essential to know your business’ direction because you can save yourself later expenses and time by future-proofing your technology early enough. Therefore, if you are sure of a future push in innovation, create an environment that will scale to support your goals than adding complexity in the future.
3. Automate Testing, and Reporting
Manual testing and reporting add unnecessary responsibility to your IT team and are inefficient and time-consuming. Automate any tasks that do not require human intervention and are repeatable, so you can free up time for your team to focus on innovation.
4. Maximize Visibility Using a Centralized Management Console
Your business continuity strategy must include a backup solution and data protection providing a centralized management hub to fight complexity. When you troubleshoot problems and track key performance metrics from one location, it takes out the guesswork of how healthy your applications and systems are at all given times.
5. Consolidate Infrastructure in the Cloud
Cloud-based infrastructure is a popular choice for most organizations because they realized the cost, flexibility, and security of moving to the cloud. Some organizations still maintain a part of their infrastructure on-premises, either by regulatory mandate or by choice.
6. Be Proactive with Backups
Your backup strategy does not have to be complex, even if your IT environment is. The ideal backup plan involves the 3-2-1 approach where you need to have three copies of your data, store the data in two different media, and store one copy off-site. The cloud would be an excellent choice.
The Bottom Line
Although the improvement of technology has simplified a lot of tasks, it is also pretty complex. Most IT environments today are rather complex and can be hard to manage. It is even harder to protect against loss of data and downtime in case of a disaster. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your business is to plan for business continuity proactively and reduce complexity. Doing this ensures that your company can quickly bounce back with little disruption.
It is worth noting that not all complexity is bad. We live in a highly distributed world, so complexity is inevitable and likely not to change any time soon. There is a significant difference between bad complexity and good complexity. The complexity that is derived from multiple layers of outdated systems is bad complexity. However, systems that are sophisticated and far-reaching are by necessity complex. As long as complexity is logical, that is good complexity.
It is essential to reduce IT complexity. When you choose to work with Teamstack, you do not have to compromise security for convenience, and you can choose both. Teamstack is a cloud identity and access management platform that provides your workforce with secure, convenient access. It works with 500+ applications, greatly simplifying the entire process. Get in touch with us for a consultation.