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Guidelines for Success

The IT infrastructure is an intricate and complicated web of technology, processes, facilities, and people. It only makes sense that you should plan carefully and put the kinds of controls in place that will ensure its success from the outset. There are four main areas that need equal attention when implementing and managing your IT infrastructure: Unless you deal with complexity and change properly, invest in personnel, keep a broad scope, and plan to manage your IT infrastructure carefully, all will surely transform into an affliction that affects the health of your organization.

  • Complexity and change. There are an infinite number of ways to connect the hardware and software in your IT architectures. In practice, only a few work. To add insult to injury, IT architectures are highly integrated, so modifying one component often will affect the operation of others, no matter how apparently isolated they are. That can lead to disaster in an undisciplined infrastructure. After all, change is the way of business in nearly all organizations; new technologies, new software releases, hardware upgrades, and new user requirements are the norm in today's distributed computing environments. You can't avoid the problems and constraints that complexity and change bring. You can, however, facilitate and manage them through structured, standardized IT architectures.

  • Investing in personnel. You need a well-trained staff capable of implementing and managing your IT infrastructure. Sure, training is time-consuming, and it places an extra burden on limited resources, but that's "penny-wise and pound-foolish" thinking. Plan for adequate personnel training from the very beginning, and use a variety of alternative curricula such as computer-based training and online information services.

  • Broad scope. Make sure that the plan and design of your IT infrastructure has a broad scope. Although typically departmentalized for efficiency, organizations don't exist for long if parts of the business starve. Don't "balkanize" the design, or it will surely become an impediment to change—worse, it can cost you plenty for interconnectivity and interoperability after the fact.

  • Managing well. Put in place the applications, tools, and practices that will help manage your IT infrastructure. Don't wait for a disaster to happen; invest in forethought and planning. Preventive medicine is less difficult and less expensive, plus the patient usually lives.

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