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Re-Tooling Your Way to a More Efficient Enterprise
As businesses push to transform operations, it’s a perfect time to take a closer look at your systems and drive efficiency by re-tooling.
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By Kyler Johnson
To create a more efficient and streamlined enterprise, businesses often find themselves tempted to bring in brand new systems that promise major improvements over the status quo. This can be a viable strategy in some cases – and it will impress stakeholders that prefer to shake things up. But it comes at a cost. Swapping out the old for the new will require heavy doses of training to get everyone up to speed, and that’s just for starters.
There’s another option – optimize what you currently have. In other words, your current systems may not deliver the best possible experience for your users, but you can change that.
Before deciding whether to acquire entire new systems or software, businesses should take full stock of existing systems and processes. The goal: to effectively understand where efficiencies can be created by just re-tooling what you already have.
This blog will examine how enterprises can take stock of their systems, and offer best practices for IT teams with small budgets looking to re-tool. We’ll also provide examples of rejigging a system to improve performance.
The Importance of Self-Analysis
As noted earlier, the first step involves taking a full, 360-degree view of internal systems to determine hurdles and how best to overcome them. Getting a download on the overall performance and status of systems can paint the picture of where processes are bogging down, and the complex reasons behind bottlenecks that create inefficiency.
This also includes asking questions such as: Is this technology being under- or over-utilized? Is it dormant or active? Is it still commissioned? Is it scheduled to be decommissioned? How much space is it taking up? These questions will help inform next steps: how to either move on, or re-tool for improved efficiency.
After conducting a full assessment of internal systems, teams must talk to their front-line workers and business users about what’s working and what’s not. It’s important to remember that a lot of IT and business leaders aren’t familiar with the day-to-day operations, meaning they are removed from the daily snarls and issues that users face. This can create knowledge gaps where leadership thinks a system is performing fine. But the frontline end user is dealing with a whole host of issues, such as bugs or system failures. This is what makes communication so important.
Creating a culture of communication between frontline workers and leadership is paramount, as the end users can act as a real-time insight pipeline. One way to achieve this culture is to host regular standup meetings with employees, led by people who are already experts in using the systems. This allows direct access to a subject matter expert who is well-versed in the technical details, and who can offer ideas that may not have been tested before.
After the thorough analysis is complete, IT teams can get to work re-tooling their systems to work in a more efficient, streamlined manner. Any processes and systems that directly impact customers and revenue should be prioritized, as they’re often handling the most crucial datasets for a business.
After re-tooling, it’s crucial to test the current performance against the previous performance to establish benchmarks. While in development, there should always be a testing/beta phase where the old and new processes work concurrently; this ensures feedback around efficiency and what is accepted among users. Often, businesses will introduce a new system without testing it alongside an existing process. This creates a situation where there is no benchmark, and the business may run into the same challenges as they had before.
If the re-tooled process is customer-facing, then the same questions that are asked internally regarding performance should also be asked to the consumer. Feedback from customers is essential, as they could move to a competitor if they’re unhappy with the new process.
Getting by on Small Budgets
Smaller businesses with tighter budgets are often more likely to undertake re-tooling. Larger organizations typically have more capital to spend on new software and other services, but the smaller organizations often must get work with what they have.
One example: a customer that has decommissioned nodes and is looking to increase storage capacity. The company completed the assessment, realized their nodes are taking up physical space, and determined they need more storage. After the nodes have been decommissioned and the compute power removed, one way to re-tool and re-use that system is to employ a software-based storage solution. This way the company only pays for software licenses that run the storage solution off the decommissioned hosts.
As the current solution was constrained by space and only utilized as a short-term backup solution, the new storage solution helped store long-term backups to meet postponed backup compliance standards. This new idea also enhanced the company’s current solution by improving throughput and reducing network bandwidth for end users. Creative thinking and self-analysis like this can help companies of any size – particularly smaller ones with smaller budgets.
Taking an honest look at what you have and re-tooling systems is a surefire way for businesses to continue driving innovation without breaking the bank. As businesses push to transform their operations, the time is now to look within at your systems and find ways to drive efficiency by re-tooling.
Kyler Johnson is a Master Technologist in HPE Pointnext, Global Remote Services. He has worked in technology for 10 years with a focus on innovation, automation, and consulting. Kyler strives to ensure his customers are highly satisfied for the present and future. When he is not focused on the customer, he enjoys reading, horseback riding, and gaming.