The Challenges of IT Consolidation

Centralized IT networkIT consolidation is all about downsizing, centralizing and simplifying your IT infrastructure.  This is usually accomplished by:

  1. Standardizing all of your equipment and software
  2. Physically shifting equipment in remote offices to one main data centre
  3. Virtualizing IT resources (cutting back on the amount of equipment you need to do the things you do)

The benefits of consolidation are numerous.  In addition to helping you save on space and energy, it also makes IT management a whole lot easier and less expensive in the long run.  It can also help to improve your overall workplace productivity — provided, of course, that you do it right.

And therein lies the rub.  With the potential to impact employees across multiple branch offices, IT consolidation is no simple undertaking.  Without proper planning and risk management, attempting to consolidate can ultimately result in poor network performance and decreased productivity.

So, what can you do to ensure that your consolidation efforts go smoothly?

Effective consolidation requires a thorough understanding of the way that the different components in your existing network interact, and the dependencies between them.  Furthermore, it also requires understanding on a human level — it’s important for your IT personnel to consider the people who are going to be impacted by changes made to your network and make adequate preparations to ease them through the transition.

Actually applying this knowledge presents a second set of challenges.  While it may be difficult to predict every potential bump in the road, mapping out your network can help you to anticipate risks and get the best possible outcome in the long run.

The most important thing to understand is that most consolidation initiatives are on-going.  It’s a good idea to stagger your efforts, to allow time to react to any problems that might arise.  Moreover, it’s important to gather information on a continuous basis, so that you can adjust your course as necessary.