Take the big view

Modern IT systems are critical to the success of almost every business. From huge e-commerce operations to industrial manufacturing, government organizations, or a simple consumer Web site, IT underpins everything. As modern IT systems get more and more complex, looking after them is becoming a larger part of every business. Even for the simplest businesses there are Web servers to manage, email systems, a bewildering variety of desktop applications, and internal communications systems. Larger enterprises have to manage these across multiple domains, on multiple servers, as well as handling routers, switches and other hardware, and do so with increasing reliability. The advent of cloud-based servers and SaaS applications adds to the complexity.

If not well managed, these can get out of hand very quickly. Individual users, departments, or business units may adopt their own technology that works for them, but doesn’t integrate with the rest of the business. This can work adequately at first, since everyone is happy with what they are using, but when you operate on a larger scale, it can result in chaos. The answer is to adopt an enterprise management solutions approach where you look at the business as whole and implement ways to manage everything from the top down.

Uniformity & standards

The main reason for adopting an enterprise management solutions approach is to ensure that everyone in the business is adhering to a common standard and is using the same tool set as far as possible. If your company standard for documentation is docx, then you don’t want some people using older versions of software that only create doc files. They may be happy with the copy of Word or OpenOffice they’ve been using for ten years, but it won’t help when they have to share documents with others and they’re not in the same format. It’s also helpful for IT support if they know that there is only a single version of each application in use, rather than having to maintain support information for many different versions.

On a more complex level, you may have multiple business units each providing e-commerce. Rather than let each business unit create its own payment systems, you need to create a central payment system with a common API and require that all business units interface to that. This will reduce your overall development workload and increases reliability.

Maintaining distributed systems

IT systems are usually physically spread around multiple locations. An enterprise management solutions approach ensures that they can be managed and maintained from one or more central points with a single interface. This means your IT staff don’t have to visit every PC when they need to upgrade an app, and they can look after everything from Web servers to databases from their laptop or mobile phone.

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