IT 'detox' essential to a healthy business

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New Year resolutions should apply to companies as well as individuals, according to IT solutions provider Citrix Systems..

The company has advised IT managers to undertake a thorough 'IT detox' to cut inefficiency, reduce risk and mitigate employee dissatisfaction across the enterprise.

Richard Jackson, area vice president at Citrix, reckons that businesses will see major benefits through such initiatives, including reducing unnecessary spending.

Citrix suggests five steps that all IT managers should consider to effectively strip out unwanted systems:

Ensure that the approach to IT is understood and consistent

Departments or individuals going it alone, and bringing devices or applications into the business 'under the radar', present a very real problem. Beware of 'incrementalism', the result of ad hoc decisions which are rational in their own right when addressing short-term or isolated problems, but can easily lead to an incoherent long-term picture.

Stop carting around more devices than are needed

Also ensure that all devices are fit for purpose. This approach will not just simplify the overheads of hardware asset management, but should make staff more mobile, more flexible and hopefully less prone to bad backs.

Reduce the threat of data leaks

Ensure that staff are not storing too much data on devices which are insecure, or storing any data which does not need to be saved locally. Look at ways of storing, securing and managing data centrally. This will reduce the threat of data leaks while increasing workforce efficiency as duplication and conflicting versions of the same data are reduced.

Reduce 'work miles' and business travel

Effectively assess how IT can save travel time, and how virtual meetings and more effective collaboration can restore work/life balance and reduce the harmful environmental impact of travel. Sometimes there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings, but not all the time. Likewise look to reduce the need for trips back to the office for field workers if it is purely to file or fill out admin. This will reduce stress levels and increase useful time.

Align IT goals with business goals

Rise above the bits and bytes of service delivery to focus on what the business is actually trying to achieve, and define effective metrics to gauge whether it does.

Jackson explained that a common theme is the need for IT departments to gain greater visibility into the business and establish exactly what is needed and what may be lacking.

"If I could suggest a New Year's resolution for the IT department, it would be to get out there and talk to people," he said.

"And if I could suggest one for chief executives it would be to make sure that the chief information officer is on the board because that's the only way they are going to get complete visibility into all areas of the business."
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