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7 Points of Friction in Managing IT Infrastructure Change

Managing IT Infrastructure Managing IT InfrastructureIn the IT department of a large enterprise, change is a constant. Across the entire infrastructure spectrum, constant changes in hosting, networks, telecom, content delivery and support services give your enterprise an opportunity to seize competitive advantages. However, keeping pace can be arduous. You can’t be trapped in no-bid, 10-year, full-IT outsource contracts with evergreen auto-renewals. You can’t cruise on autopilot. You must stay knowledgeable about the evolving state of the industry. And you must commit to a change management process. Can you identify common friction points? Managing your changing IT infrastructure needs can be filled with friction, which makes everyone’s job difficult.

7 points of friction in Managing IT Infrastructure

  1. Loyalty to a strategic partner. Blind loyalty can be debilitating for an enterprise. It’s critical to have suppliers that provide ongoing value to the enterprise and never rest on their laurels. Additionally, large enterprises are dealing with multiple suppliers. Putting one ahead of the others can create friction between partners, which inevitably impacts the enterprise.
  2. Excessive complexity. Complexity builds as systems and platforms are layered together. Unwinding the complexity can be painstaking, risky and political. Even when everyone agrees systems need to be streamlined, making it happen is often difficulty to make it happen.
  3. Lack of internal consensus. Commonly, different viewpoints emanate from the C-suite and technology departments. Aligning vision and goals can be a huge advantage for an enterprise, but doing so is not easy.
  4. Clarity on current state. Many enterprises struggle to understand what they’re buying, from whom, and for how much. This is particularly true if multiple acquisitions have taken place or procurement is decentralized. Before a change project, enterprises must have a verifiable snapshot of their current state, including bills and contracts, usage patterns, where the organization stands on key categories and metrics. They must also understand various idiosyncrasies of contracts and platforms.
  5. Agreement on potential target outcome. Prioritizing change needs tends to create a friction-filled series of meetings between stakeholders in IT, finance, the C-suite and suppliers. Before launching a change project, you need an approved target outcome—and it should be sanctioned from the top.
  6. Distraction from the day-to-day. The old “replacing-the-engine-while-flying-the-plane” analogy comes to play here. Change is disruptive. Key staff members are pulled away from their primary job to deal with RFP cycles and solution design.  Unforeseen complications and hidden costs spring forth. Emergencies and budget shortfalls emerge. Friction arises with existing providers who are not prepared to evolve at the same pace or meet your financial and performance targets.
  7. Alignment between IT and IT suppliers. Though many businesses claim they treat their customers as partners, very few actually do. It starts with aligning goals, understanding responsibilities and noting accountability. The enterprise must create and enforce alignment.
Remember, change is necessary for success. Your first step in creating better ways to manage change is to identify the points of friction you’ll need to address.

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