Taking stock of the IT environment

Practical steps towards infrastructure optimisation

Published/updated: March 2009

by Martin Atherton and Jon Collins

The business demands more and more from its investment in technology. The IT department might feel as though it is running to stand still. From these seemingly opposed view points, how can IT and business leaders take practical steps towards improving the organisation’s ability to deliver its own services?


The purpose of this paper is two-fold. The first is a simple call to action about taking a step back from the coalface to consider the value that IT brings to the business as a whole. In the current business climate many organisations will be tempted to make IT investment decisions without being in sufficient possession of the facts, in terms of either what users need, or what IT is able to provide.

Imagine a scenario where one area of the business is over-provisioned while another lacks access to information to improve a particular activity, such as lead generation or customer service. A blanket, ‘no new projects’ policy would not solve the problem or highlight the over-served area. This kind of defensive stance could hamper the business’ chances of pulling through difficult economic conditions. Taking the step back then, even though it might feel uncomfortable and even counter intuitive, it is important to allow IT and business leaders to gain perspective and balance.

The second goal of the paper is to help organisations think about what might constitute the fundamentals of any approach for driving understanding and insight into their IT infrastructure. Here we propose a non-partisan, jargon-free ‘see the wood for the trees’ methodology. If you are going to take that step back, you need a plan, and the simpler the better.

Some organisations may be wondering where to prioritise their budgets, while others may not even realise that certain capabilities they have are outmoded or duplicated, because they simply haven’t had the cause to examine them for some time.

Whatever your starting point, read on for some practical tips to help you start thinking about improving the way that IT supports the business.

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