Most companies spend a majority of their IT resources on maintaining technologies and systems. This is especially true for companies with a mish-mash of technology. But by standardizing IT, companies can make things a lot easier on their IT resources—whether they’re in-house or subcontracted.
Standardizing IT is a way to save money, increase customer satisfaction, scale more easily, achieve organizational goals and improve competitiveness in the near and long term. And, if done thoughtfully, it doesn’t have to be painful.
A Time-Consuming Mish-Mash
Many companies lack standardization within their technology—from brands of computers to types of firewalls to data storage to cloud vendors.
It’s not uncommon to hear about companies that have Windows laptops, Mac desktops, different telephony providers for each office and a host of technology servers that don’t communicate well with each other.
With such a wide range of technologies to deal with, IT personnel spend almost all their time familiarizing themselves with the various technologies and scrambling just to keep the whole thing going. (Studies show that about 75% of the average IT budget goes towards keeping existing systems up and running.)
Easier, Better IT
A standardized technology environment is much easier for IT resources—whether in-house or subcontracted. They can maintain existing technologies with less work and more easily and quickly deploy new technologies and services.
When IT departments work with a standardized set of technologies and service providers, they know everything they need to know, beforehand, for quick and easy deployment. Because they’ve already vetted each piece of equipment and worked with every service provider.
If an organization needs 15 new laptops for its sales staff, for example, the IT personnel will know immediately which ones to provide, how much they cost, how to set them up appropriately and how long it will take to get them to the salespeople. The techs will be able to set the new laptops up and deliver them to the sales staff all ready to go—plug and play.
Service is easier and faster too. If a problem arises with a piece of equipment, the techs can deal with it much more quickly because of the experience they’ve built up on that piece of equipment. If it’s a problem with a service provider, the techs will be able to handle that quicker, too, because of the longstanding relationship they will have built up with the service provider.
With resources tied up in juggling the various parts of a disparate technology environment, IT departments are too busy maintaining the status quo to implement anything strategic. A standardized environment frees up IT resources for strategic efforts that have real impact on business.
Three broad pillars support the core businesses of any organization: its people, [its] processes and [its] technology. Standardization at the core level negates variability…It enables consistency, predictability, uniformity and, in a way, flexibility of operations…
In short, by standardizing IT at its core, organizations will not only realize higher efficiency and productivity at the back-end but will also enable differentiation at the front-end. [And] standardization is not restricted to any company or industry, its size, scale of operations or nature of business.
Reducing what a company spends on IT alone can have a dramatic effect not only on internal budgets but on a company’s overall bottom line. And directing those savings towards strategic efforts can create big gains.
For instance, top performing IT organizations that drive enterprise optimization have on an average 26% higher allocation of their IT spend toward strategic initiatives. What’s more, higher spend on strategic initiatives correlates with superior business satisfaction.
According to our analysis, organizations with a higher percentage of IT spend on strategic initiatives have on average 37% higher business satisfaction ratings.
A Painless Transition
While transitioning is a daunting task, it doesn’t have to happen overnight and it doesn’t have to disrupt business.
With a careful plan implemented over time, companies can successfully transition to a single equipment standard with all technology on a single platform, without any setbacks.
By letting needs help guide the process—for instance, how personnel will actually use a new laptop or other piece of equipment in the real world—companies can make intelligent decisions that provide real benefit.
(For example, it doesn’t make much sense to buy a tablet when an employee really needs a laptop. So, price and a desire for standardization alone can’t drive technology decisions.)
Companies can also make better technology choices by vetting new equipment beforehand. This is something that standardization makes easier over time because the more IT personnel work with a particular brand or suite of products, the better they’ll know what works best for a given scenario.
(For instance, in the laptop versus tablet example, maybe a tablet isn’t powerful enough and a laptop is inconveniently large. In that case, something like a Microsoft Surface tablet might actually fit the bill, because it’s basically a full laptop in tablet form. This is something the techs would know.)
Thirty-Seven Percent Higher Satisfaction
By standardizing IT wherever possible—equipment, data storage, applications and even processes—companies can reduce IT workload and costs, provide better products and services to their customers, reach lofty goals and increase competitiveness, now and into the future.
Raising business satisfaction ratings by 37% is nothing to sneeze at. That’s a number that translates to happier customers, repeat customers and a better overall bottom line.