Jesse St. Laurent is VP of Product Strategy for SimpliVity.
Efficiency is imperative for most companies to deliver greater business value. For IT teams, this goal has become increasingly important since digital information and the IT infrastructure supporting it are so important. Achieving an efficient IT organization means examining the IT infrastructure itself, the people who run the infrastructure, and the processes employed to manage the infrastructure.
Operational efficiency can be achieved by IT organizations that are spending time and resources—financial and otherwise—wisely. It’s a balance that starts with employing the right technology at the right time, while at the same time balancing people and processes intelligently. IT teams are under pressure to bring value to the business, and, to achieve that goal, they are using IT to deliver greater innovation and competitive advantage to the business.
How People Can Work Efficiently
When it comes to organizing members of IT to work most efficiently, both independently and as part of a team, it’s important to enable people to use their skills optimally. As IT has become more complex over the past decade or so, it’s become harder for IT employees to balance daily maintenance tasks with working on or executing new ideas and new IT projects. Today’s data center complexity is the result of many discrete devices and services, multiple management consoles to tend to, and the interoperability that must be established and maintained. Therefore, adding efficiency around the people factor means knowing which tasks to automate and which tasks to eliminate. The most efficient organizations are looking to simplify and streamline IT operations and use those with IT generalist job skills, rather than niche or specialist roles prevalent with a functionally siloed IT structure.
Technology choices naturally lead to changes in roles and efficiency, too. An April 2016 IDC white paper found that IT teams that adopted hyperconverged systems realized the equivalent of an 81 percent increase in time they were able to spend on new projects and innovation, as opposed to time spent working on maintaining existing infrastructure.
How Processes Become Efficient
The rise of a DevOps mentality isn’t coincidental in an era of complex IT. The tenets of DevOps aim for agility and flexibility in building code to result in a better product, faster. That also means that failing faster is a component of efficient design. For IT teams working with limited resources, embracing those concepts may mean setting up schedules to pause regularly to evaluate the process of a particular project and find areas of improvement. Today’s IT goals are much more focused on agility, which hasn’t been a priority—or technologically possible—for IT in the past. Working on IT projects and processes with agility and flexibility in mind is a new way of thinking. The consolidation of data center tools is a natural fit for more efficient processes and more agility.
How Technology Choices Bring Efficiency
For quite a long time, IT technology has been evolving with the goal of efficiency. Much of that is tied up with the advent of virtualization technology, which conceptually changed the way that hardware can be used. What came next, though, was a whole conglomeration of products and services designed to keep efficiency high in a new era of virtualized workloads. Most of those products were designed to be tacked on in various parts of a virtualized environment. Each of them on its own might bring efficiency—WAN optimization appliances move data faster, for example—but adding more discrete products doesn’t necessarily build an efficient IT infrastructure. As a result, today’s IT infrastructure is overly complex. But early adopters of virtualization found huge gains in efficiency, and early adopters, in general, can benefit when they choose the right technology. Both cloud and hyperconvergence trends lend IT teams much more time, resources, and flexibility, which greatly helps those teams become more agile.
Hyperconverged systems are rising in prominence as a way to cut out lots of those disparate IT components. In one example, the IDC white paper found that nearly 80 percent of survey respondents who have deployed hyperconverged infrastructure experienced improvements in backup and recovery or disaster recovery functions. That type of technology use can make a huge impact on an IT team that’s been struggling to meet backup windows or establish a disaster recovery strategy. Survey respondents also realized the equivalent of a 33 percent increase in budget devoted to new technology projects and purchases versus IT budget spent on maintaining existing infrastructure. These results reflect the efficiency value that new technology brings—while also providing the basis for efficiency with people and processes too.
Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.