Your business relies on technology. Fact. Regardless of the size of your organisation, there is a demand for an IT ecosystem that is manageable, affordable and fit-for-purpose.
This becomes more difficult the larger your organisation is. As businesses grow and IT systems have to evolve to meet new business activities and challenges, they can become inefficient and expensive to manage as more technologies and processes are added.
This is why standardising your IT infrastructure is beneficial. Although the extent of standardisation possible will depend on company circumstances – industry, company size and budget, for example – many benefits exist across the board.
1. Reduced Purchasing and Operational Costs
Standardising your IT infrastructure reduces the complexity of your systems as a whole. This minimises both initial procurement and ongoing operational costs.
Purchasing standardised infrastructure means you deal with fewer vendors or suppliers, simplifying your billing and procurement processes. It is also usually more cost-effective to upgrade all of your equipment at the same time as purchasing more equipment in larger quantities from a single supplier may allow you to negotiate a better package.
Complex systems using equipment from multiple vendors also demand high integration costs. Naturally, using fewer vendors reduces this expense. Some modern approaches to IT infrastructure even allow you to consolidate compute, storage and networking resources into one unified system which can be managed through a single interface. All from one vendor.
2. Streamlined IT Management
The more complex your infrastructure, the more time your IT team spend managing it. A network made up of hardware components and services all from different providers, for example, has multiple parts each with their own maintenance requirements.
Standardised equipment is generally easier to maintain. For example, consider that every new piece of software may need installation, staff training, maintenance, repair, upgrades, patching and more. But when all of your equipment works in the same way, these maintenance issues are far easier to address. This consistency also allows your IT team to specialise in managing a few pieces of equipment rather than keeping tabs on many.
3. More Scalable Infrastructure
There’s no denying that without a standardised approach, many organisations can face a host of challenges as they grow. What you currently use may be very different to what you will need in 2, 3 or 5 years, so it’s generally a good idea to anticipate having to add to your IT infrastructure in the future.
Standardising your infrastructure allows you to plan ahead because a simpler network with fewer parts can grow more easily. The building blocks of a standard IT architecture are reusable, reconfigurable components that make up an infrastructure ‘base’. As your system scales up, more identical parts can be easily added.
4. Shorter Problem Resolution Time
Using standardised equipment benefits all staff. The simpler your infrastructure is for non-technical staff to understand, the more effectively they can communicate issues to the IT team. This stops anything being ‘lost in translation’ and makes the problem resolution process more efficient, saving precious time and IT resources.
Troubleshooting common problems is far easier if everyone is working with the same equipment, networks or devices. The less variety there is in the software and hardware in use, the fewer different ways it can go wrong. This consistency across the board allows support staff to diagnose and resolve issues efficiently and minimise business disruption.
5. Faster Deployment
Being able to push out fixes or upgrades affecting your whole workforce can be a daunting task if you have a complex web of different systems in use. Generally the more complex your infrastructure, the more difficult it is to make changes when required.
Using standard equipment means it’s likely you only have to have one plan in place. This makes any necessary software updates, for example, faster to carry out and require less downtime. This means you can work in a more agile way as your company is more adaptable to ever-changing business demands.
6. More Secure IT Environment
If you’re still asking yourself, “Why IT standardisation?”, this one might sway you. From a security point of view, the simpler the IT environment, the easier it is to protect. You don’t have to monitor and troubleshoot numerous services. Instead, your technology and processes are consistent and any anomalies or suspicious activity can be identified faster.
Other Considerations With IT Infrastructure Standardisation
Infrastructure standardisation is easiest when starting from scratch or when you’ve identified a complete upgrade and overhaul of your IT infrastructure is necessary for business operations. However, uprooting your existing systems is not always feasible.
When considering infrastructure standardisation, be careful to balance your IT support needs with the needs of your staff. Involve your staff in the decision-making process if possible and get their feedback on what systems they need to do their job well, what their priorities are and if they have any concerns or pain points about the tools they already use. You might find that your existing network of systems is already not as cost-effective as you thought.
About EC-MSP, your technology partner
EC-MSP is one of the most trusted IT support providers in London. If you would like more help, advice, and support with technology for your business, contact us today to see how we can help.