IT modernisation is a marathon, not a sprint…

SME’s are faced with multiple challenges that need to be approached strategically and logically. Unfortunately, the digital transformation is usually the last to be implemented as it is not the “inspiration” for the business. Creating and implementing an IT roadmap inline with your company goals can however be a great way to protect your business and more importantly your valued clients.

Great MSPs (Managed Service Providers) do this all the time as they have the time to look at the bigger picture. For these reasons implementing new technologies and taking the reactive aspect from IT can, not only help modernise your business but increase internal working efficiencies and even give you a competitive advantage. Hidden IT costs (Software licences, new computer/servers, ransomware) can dramatically increase your capital expenditure. A lack of foresight when it comes to tech can easily bring any business to its knees stopping you from working and blocking customers from reaching you.

Despite these problems optimising IT operations in the face of escalating business demands 44% of organisations that have planned to undertake digital transformation projects have still not yet made process, operational and/or technology modifications to their IT environment a recent IDG Research survey commissioned by Insight Enterprises’ Cloud + Data Centre division revealed.
One-third (15%) of the total respondents have not even begun discussing strategy. The other two-thirds (29%) have started the conversation but taken no action.

Roadblocks to IT modernisation;

Legacy software, systems and infrastructure is generally the major roadblock for most businesses. Outdated/legacy infrastructure, processes or tools are among the top five factors hampering IT modernisation efforts. Also ranking high were data privacy/security, budget and too many competing priorities.

Cloud strategy without the right advice and oversight can be difficult to execute. Major hurdles for business owners or your chief tech officer is determining which workloads should move to the cloud. Without the tools to support and monitor cloud applications changing the IT mindset to a cloud-centric approach can become daunting to any business.

Adopting the cloud can dramatically cut costs for a business and bring a greater degree of flexibility to many vital functions. Having this workload taken off your hands can truly give you the freedom to concentrate on your business. An MSP like WestSpring already has the cloud-related processes and practices in place and ready to implement including cloud networking, security and basic cloud-based access.

Stalled and abandoned projects are common for us to see many of our clients reported having suspended or dropped one or more initiatives because of unexpected complications. In our experience the usual culprit is inadequate analysis and planning.

None of this may be surprising to anyone who has had a ringside seat to IT transformation efforts. Even under the best of circumstances, IT modernisation for the uninitiated can be a multi-year undertaking with weeks and even months (for larger businesses) required simply to create the roadmap. WestSpring’s expert consultants really come to the fore here, shaving huge amounts of time off the process. People, process and technology changes need to be implemented in stages, whether filling skillset gaps (through training), re-platforming applications, or testing new cloud deployments. Many of these changes need to be fine-tuned or even aborted if they don’t pan out as expected.

Staying on track

Here are a few rules of thumb to help understand more about IT modernisation for your business

Always start small

The sheer scale of the IT transition can be daunting and causes many businesses to put the brakes on their activities. Many think the project scope” is too big and are stuck or don’t know where to start. Having an IT consultant breaking the job down into manageable parts dramatically takes the pressure off and will help keep the wheels of innovation turning. Starting with one business unit or a specific need our experience of what obstacles to avoid will limit the potential damage a rushed or unplanned approach can do when implementing an IT modernisation project yourself.

Let your business goals shape your strategy

Are you trying to improve customer communications? Change the way they purchase from you? Launch a new product or service? WestSpring can help you focus on one mission at a time and let your needs drive the conversation rather than allowing your IT makeover to be a burden requiring steering by your in-house project manager.

Don’t assume your legacy infrastructure needs to be put out to pasture;

Unless you haven’t invested in your core infrastructure for many years, you should be able to harness your legacy systems to support some of your digital transformation initiatives. You will, however, need to allow for some restructuring to portions of your environment based on application dependencies as well as how your business is using each application. Our mapping tools can perform the technical analysis, but you will also need to involve the people in your organisation to fully understand what’s required. WestSpring generally help smooth this process by offering training on outdated methodologies and technologies.

Don’t bite off more cloud than you can chew

Trying to move all workloads to the cloud at once, can result in failure if done without guidance. Even if you have adopted a cloud-first mindset, it’s a multi-step, and generally multi-year process that typically requires re-architecting applications, re-skilling teams, addressing governance issues, and a try-before-your-buy-everything strategy to avoid runaway costs. WestSpring will remove this major headache and give you a clear RoadMap leaving you informed but taking the pressure off the decision-making process. Taking a consultative approach can seem slower, but it’s important to use a phased-in approach so costs don’t spiral out of control this will most certainly pay off in the end.

And that’s the fundamental lesson. IT modernisation is a marathon, not a sprint. Whether you forge ahead by yourself or use third-party consultants like WestSpring to accelerate the process and dodge the inevitable landmines, keep moving and don’t let avoidable roadblocks slow you down. It may take some time to complete the journey, but you’ll get there eventually, be rewarded as individual projects reap business benefits along the way, and ultimately create the modern IT backbone that will help keep the business engines cranking at full speed.

If you would like to know more about how to protect your business data or would like to arrange an IT System Health/Security Review, feel free to call the WestSpring team on 0117 403 455 we can assess and deliver a full road map outlining your IT needs and we will be happy to talk you through getting your business protected and secured.