New opportunities to improve financial performance in IT operating costs while reducing risk

If driving out unnecessary IT operating costs and risks are important goals for you, here are new opportunities to improve financial performance while improving your risk profile.

Over the years, many IT Operations organizations have developed highly manual processes and a patchwork of homegrown tools to accomplish tasks that include application release and configuration management. At the time, this was the right thing to do. Now, however, automation is driving down costs from errors and rework, slashing some application release and configuration workflows from days down to minutes and eliminating risks from reliance on one-off homegrown tools. Below are areas for improvement in 2017 that would not have been possible in previous years. We recommend investigating them with colleagues in IT Operations and DevOps.

Hidden IT operating costs questionnaire

On a weekly basis, how many hours are spent by IT

  • On routine middleware, database, and operating system configuration changes? (Keep in mind, there are usually multiple FTEs assigned to configuration change duties)
  • Standing up new middleware, databases & apps?
  • Migrating middleware?
  • Finding and fixing middleware, database and operating system configuration problems (fighting fires)?
  • Developing and maintaining application, database and middleware configuration tools,
  • Gathering configuration-related data and reporting for audits.

If you do not have this information, our Configuration Automation ROI tool can get you started with guidelines and some reasonable guesses based on our own surveys. You will see a line by line analysis that you can review and share with your colleagues.

Heavy reliance on manual, error-prone scripting is common.

IT Ops teams are in the dark about their environment. This causes errors and invites manual rework.

Hidden IT risks questionnaire

Beyond measurable IT operating costs, there is often a hidden but near-existential threat posed by relying on non-commercially supported homegrown tools and related tribal knowledge. Homegrown tools can easily become Franken-tools, growing in complexity over time and driving up hidden costs, driving down productivity and introducing unnecessary risk to the enterprise. Think through these questions for a moment:

  • Are you concerned if your key configuration scripting expert were to go on vacation or extended leave?  Are you concerned whether your team has the knowledge and process transparency to continue without them…glitch-free?
  • Are you concerned how well your organization would survive the loss of those same configuration specialists due to retirement or job change? All things equal, would you prefer having an accountable software partner who is “on the hook” for ongoing service, support, maintenance and road map improvements?

Many organizations have no backup plan for the loss of key employees. Others rely on teams to document their processes.

Brand Reputation and IT Compliance

What is the exposure of IT infrastructure to security and regulatory compliance risks because of well-intentioned infrastructure configuration changes that cause drift from compliance policies?

  • How much time passes before we discover a drift (an “out-of-bounds change”) from security policy has occurred?
  • How much transparency do we have into our full stack software infrastructure for our multi-tiered applications and their security dependencies?
  • How much time and effort does it take for us to audit and report our configuration compliance for critical regulations like PCI, HIPAA, and SOX?

Morale/ Opportunity to work on strategic projects

Lastly, consider that automating application release and configuration management can drive serious gains in IT productivity and in morale. Instead of continuing to keep custom tools on life support or to waste countless hours in fire-fighting mode due to a typo in a custom script somewhere, the IT team is now free to work on more fulfilling, strategic company initiatives.

Use our ROI tool to identify hidden IT operating costs and have your IT Ops colleagues request a demo of Orca’s workflow automations.

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Enterprise Architects   |   Dev   |   DBA Managers   |   QA   |   IT Ops   |   Security & Compliance   |   Disaster Recovery   |   CIO