Complexity – The Killer of Agility?

complexityI’ve said a few times that the data center of today isn’t the data center of yesterday nor is it the data center of tomorrow. In fact, in “The Data Center of Tomorrow” I wrote that the: “data center will be a combination of internal and external systems that combine to create an agile, efficient and effective technology delivery platform.”

While I believe that will be the case in the near future (if it isn’t already the case today), the data center of tomorrow has the potential to add complexity to the organization’s IT systems and platforms. This complexity may just be a simple replacement of other types of complexity or it may be adding complexity to the data center. Either way, complexity has the potential to be an agility killer if it isn’t managed or planned for correctly.

Complexity has always existed within the data center. From the first day of data center existence, IT professionals have had to manage complexity but in recent years there’s been quite a bit of growth in complex systems within the data center. With companies increasing their use of virtualization within their data centers, connecting data centers with the cloud and implementing new platforms and systems every year, the level of complexity continues to increase.

Without proper thinking and planning, this complexity can have a negative effect on agility within the data center. There are a few things that organizations can do to attempt to manage complexity within the data center while keeping agility at the forefront of the IT group and the data center. A few ideas for managing complexity are:

  • Get visibility into the platforms throughout the organization to ensure that the IT group understands what platforms the business has
  • Get visibility beyond the platforms to allow IT to understand the business processes that are driving platform changes
  • Ensure open communication channels between all groups within the business to ensure when a new platform is needed or wanted, IT is informed and involved in the decision making process
  • Have a proper business technology strategy that drives all technology projects.
  • Build a technology council and invite members from all areas of the business to allow different opinions and insights into the technology strategy of the organization

As you can see from these ideas may not seem that great at first, they are a starting point for understanding the technological systems and platforms within the company. By understanding your platforms, you can understand the complexity that exists (or might exist in the future) and help keep agility alive.

This post is brought to you by Symantec and The Transition To The Agile Data Center.