Better Together: Why You Should Consolidate Your Enterprise IT

Less is more. Good things come in small packages. Size isn’t everything. We all know the sayings and the many contexts in which they can be used, yet while the veracity of these idioms is generally open for debate, one area they arguably ring true for is when applied to tech.

Here, Peter Hall, head of marketing for WM Reply, argues why holding back on IT modernisation means missing out.

I grew up in the 90s, a time before the mobile phones were omnipresent, when internet access was only achieved via dial-up over a landline (and not reliably at that), directions were either memorised or printed out. It was a time some have described as ‘the fucking worst’, although I wouldn’t go quite that far myself as it wasn’t without charm, and boasts some seriously impressive tech innovations we can still appreciate today.

Yet as much as nostalgia might give these times a definitive rose-tinted hue, I think many will agree times have moved on for the better, with smart phones making an immeasurable impact on our daily lives. It shouldn’t go without saying there are inevitable downsides to their ubiquity, but there are undeniable benefits, too. No longer do we need an mp3 player, phone, even keys or a wallet on your person. Now all you need is one piece of kit and you’re good to go. By bringing different services and tools together in one place you can effectively do more, with less.

There are of course still loyalists to the old ways, a need reflected in the nostalgia-driven release of the repackaged Nokia 3310 a year ago, continuing healthy sales for vinyl and cassette, and the healthy market for repackaged retro games consoles, but the consolidation of technology into one tidy package has undeniable benefits for efficiency, ease and streamlining – not to mention pocket space.

And it’s not just consumer technology that this is true for, it’s the same with enterprise IT, too. Tech in all its forms should, after all, be synonymous with innovation and efficiency. The various enterprise software available today can provide everything a business needs in one place, in a seamless solution that can be tailored and suited to their specific needs. As a result, gone are the days of information silos, manual file transfers, limited inter-department communications and data held on separate non-compatible systems.

Resistance to change is, however, a common human trait. This is even truer when taken at scale, with hundreds or thousands of employees needing to be factored in. The prospect can be daunting and complicated, not to mention potentially costly in the short-term, with the dual challenge of migration and adoption sitting high on any business leader’s list of worries when contemplating a switch. But in the same way tech constantly refines, improves and streamlines itself, so should your business. Making smart choices for the long term for your company won’t just save money, but will grease the wheels of change to enhance security, improve efficiency, and boost productivity.

Yet even aside from these benefits, the argument for consolidation is oftentimes helped by other particularly compelling reasons. This could be in the form of licensing cost savings on over time switching from Jive to Yammer, or the need to protect your way of working in light of changes from the companies that provide the software you use (in 2018 Microsoft required users to consolidate all Yammer networks into one to avoid total data loss in  subsidiary networks). Whatever the reason, though, it invariably pays dividends.

However, to reiterate, just because consolidating your systems might be the smart move, no-one ever said it would be easy. Data migrations bring with them a whole host of issues, from the logistics of transferring historical content, to retraining and gaining employee engagement. A large-scale intranet migration could easily take up to 18 months to complete. Bandwidth may need to be increased if moving systems and storage to the cloud en masse and staff could require training on new software before the changeover is complete to ensure the changeover is as smooth as possible.

Yet as with many things in business, if you are able to plan far enough in advance and manage the change, your business can soon begin reaping the benefits of genuinely joined-up working across departments and locations, connecting employees throughout your organisation with seamless collaboration on countless tasks.

Nostalgia has its place, and commitment to established ways of working can still get you so far, but when it comes to enterprise IT, playing the long game and looking to the future is a sensible way to secure a bright one for your business. Want to make your business the equivalent of a smart phone? Consolidate now.

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