There’s a lot of talk in the IT industry about “best practices” — strategies and techniques that can improve availability and productivity while reducing costs. It sounds like something only the largest organizations would need to pay attention to. However, research shows that all businesses stand to gain by implementing IT best practices.
An International Data Corp. (IDC) study found that organizations fit into one of four groups when it comes to IT best practices: Basic, Standardized, Rationalized and Dynamic. Basic organizations spend a lot of money on IT and view it as a cost center. Standardized organizations have a more efficient data center and somewhat lower IT expenditures. Rationalized firms have very low IT costs, and view IT as a business enabler. Dynamic organizations view their IT as a strategic asset that they use to enable their business and propel it forward.
According to IDC, “an organization that moves from a Basic to a Rationalized environment has an opportunity to cut IT costs by 65 percent.” But how do organizations begin to implement IT best practices and reap those savings?
The first step is to standardize the IT environment. Without standards, even a simple environment can become very complicated. For example, if you have three servers from three different manufacturers with three different operating systems, you need to have expertise in all of those platforms. Who do you call for support? Which patches do you apply and when?
Having standards in place enables businesses to be much more agile when it comes to technology decisions and implementing new solutions. In addition, internal IT staff and external providers are going to be able to identify issues much more quickly, resulting in less downtime and lost productivity and reduced support costs.
Once the IT environment is standardized, organizations should ensure that proper procedures are outlined and followed to ensure consistency. Four key IT processes be implemented in at least a basic level:
- Configuration management begins with documenting the infrastructure as it exists and maintaining that documentation as things change.
- Change management means that every change is tested thoroughly before it is implemented and processes are established for backing out changes should problems arise.
- Incident management is the process of tracking every issue that comes up within your IT environment so you can take a more proactive approach to managing IT and identify trends that will ultimately allow performance improvements.
- Knowledge management involves documenting problems and resolutions and keeping that documentation in a central location so that support personnel can access it.
When implemented correctly, IT best practices create an IT environment that is continuously improving to help the organization reach its goals. Increased system availability increases productivity and morale. The IT department moves from a cost center to an asset able to push your business forward and increase profitability.
Atlantic-IT.net employs best practices in its outsourced IT services and support. We will help standardize your environment and ensure that it meets your business requirements. We will then help you move closer to becoming a Dynamic organization through 24×7 monitoring and proactive management following well-established processes.
By following IT best practices, organizations eliminate wasted expenditures and enjoy increased uptime, productivity and business agility. Let Atlantic-IT.net, your outsourced IT department, bring the benefits of our proven best practices to your IT environment.