At its core, IT is supposed to be an innovation generator for any business.
It needs to make meaningful contributions in areas that promote strong business performance and it needs to do so on a daily basis. To get there, your average IT infrastructure needs to be in a constant state of modernization…
… which is difficult when business leaders are still holding onto those legacy IT assets long past their expiration date.
On the one hand, relying on legacy equipment does make some degree of sense. “What we have now gets the job done,” people say to themselves. “Why do we need to change anything at all?”
But while the job may be getting done, it isn’t getting done particularly well. In fact, it may be creating a number of artificial limitations for your organization during a time when you can’t really afford to deal with them. Let’s take a look at the constraints of legacy IT that consumption-based IT models solve.
The Security Factor
By far, the biggest challenge that legacy IT brings with it is one of security. Cybersecurity threats are evolving more rapidly than ever, and many IT departments simply don’t have the manpower necessary to keep up with all of the security patches for traditional equipment.
Not only that, but if the assets in question are no longer being supported by their original vendor, they’re not getting patches or updates at all. This means that any security flaws found in them are permanent, which creates an equally long-term backdoor into your infrastructure just waiting to be taken advantage of by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Integration, or a Lack Thereof
Along the same lines, traditional hardware has to cross a significant number of barriers to integrate with some of the more modern solutions that you’re using – taking precious time away from your team.
For data to flow freely across your organization, all hardware and software needs to be able to send and receive data at all times. Without a native level of integration (and one that most legacy IT lacks), this isn’t just difficult – it’s impossible.
Little-to-no Room for Innovation
Your business is constantly evolving – or at least, that’s the way it should be. But if your legacy IT infrastructure is caught in a state of permanent stasis, you’re spending so much time just trying to get everything to work the way it should that you’re leaving no room for the innovation you need to survive.
Even in a best case scenario, you’re still relying on “state-of-the-art” technology from a few years ago while your savvier competitors modernize their infrastructure (and make significant gains in the industry, too).
Consumption Planning and Scalability
Another major issue that legacy IT creates is that you always end up paying for assets that you’re never really utilizing to 100% of their potential. Between compute, storage and networking equipment, you essentially have to guess today at what you think you’ll need six or 12 months down the line. Not only does this dramatically eat into your return on investment, but it makes it difficult to scale your organization at the right pace as well.
Where’s the Support?
When dealing with legacy IT, you no doubt have countless relationships with OEM partners that you’re trying to manage. When something breaks in the middle of the night, you need to hope that you can get that OEM partner on the phone to get things up and running again. If you can’t – as is more often than not the case – it’s going to wait until the support you need is finally available.
Every minute those assets spend offline is a minute you’re not advancing company initiatives, which is absolutely the last position you want to find yourself in.
The Danger of Information Silos
Equally complicating things is the fact that legacy IT tends to create information silos – meaning that critical information is essentially “trapped” in one solution, unable to make its way to others (and other departments). This means that the people who absolutely need access to critical data and insight to do their jobs probably don’t have it, potentially harming the quality of the work they’re able to do AND your relationships with your customers as well.
The Myth of “Convenient” Workarounds
Finally, it’s common for people to come up with workarounds to solve things like the integration or information silo issues outlined above. While this may work well on the surface, it’s time consuming and frustrating for your employees to say the least. Plus, it’s taking already menial tasks and making them take two or even three times as long as they should – only adding to the amount of time your employees are spent dealing with issues instead of properly serving your customers.
The Solution: Consumption-Based IT Models
Thankfully, consumption-based “as a service” IT models can step in and dutifully solve all of the issues mentioned above and then some. You don’t have to worry about keeping up with all the security patches and bug fixes for your assets because this is baked into your subscription model from the start.
With regards to integration, consumption-based IT has APIs already built-in and expertise for access to necessary modifications – meaning that everything “just works” together, exactly how it should. You also get access to far better consumption planning because everything is available in an on-demand capacity (meaning that adding resources is as simple as making a phone call to your partner), and far better support is at your fingertips so you’ll no longer be waiting hours to get through to an OEM partner for help.
Consumption-based IT isn’t just the direction that technology is headed in. It’s where technology already is. All you have to do is take advantage of it.
About the Author
David Gerrity is the Director of Cloud Solutions at Comport, a leading cloud and IT solutions company. Their cloud brand, ComportSecure focuses on delivering consumption-based IT Solutions including IaaS, DRaaS, BaaS and Hosting to organizations of all sizes. Prior to joining Comport, David was President of a healthcare consulting firm, delivering clinical application and workflow advisors to help healthcare providers streamline their operations.
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