IT sprawl, from a fresh perspective

Have you ever hit a mental roadblock while working on a puzzle? You just can’t see the missing jigsaw piece or find the correct word. So, you take a break from it. Then, the next day, there’s the answer, right before your eyes. Solving the puzzle turned out to be a matter of looking at the problem with fresh eyes – a change in perspective.

While solving the problem of IT sprawl is far more complex, a change in perspective may be just what’s needed to find the right answers. When an enterprise notices itself surrounded by an expanding network of disparate software applications and disconnected data silos, it can be hard to see the extent of IT sprawl, how it’s impacting business or how to rein it all in.

However, one approach is to look at it the way urban planners see and tackle sprawl.

What would an urban planner do?

Like IT sprawl, urban sprawl is the result of uncontrolled growth, which for cities and towns can result in inefficient traffic patterns, spread municipal resources and lower quality of life. Urban planners combat sprawl by designing and implementing strategies that manage expansion over time.

For example, urban planners examine usage patterns and population growth to foresee future needs. In the same way, as an organization evolves, IT can plan for increased business capacity and accommodate more users. By taking a strategic approach to investing in solutions, combined with an enterprise information platform that integrates with existing and future applications, IT leaders can have seamless scalability already in place when tomorrow’s needs arise.

Urban planners also work to improve transit efficiency, making it easier for people to commute, access resources and enjoy city amenities. Similarly, IT can help business users by streamlining the routes they take to access data. Instead of having multiple systems that force users to hunt and search across repositories to find the information they need, IT can implement a single information platform that’s able to gather an organization’s most critical content in one place.

A new view could change everything

No doubt, IT sprawl, with its tangle of systems and ad hoc applications, can be a tough challenge to overcome. However, by approaching the problem the way urban planners fight sprawl, you may gain the fresh perspective needed to solve it, once and for all, at your enterprise.

For more tips on how to master IT sprawl by thinking like an urban planner, read our new ebook.

John Phelan

Describing himself as “not your typical VP,” John Phelan is executive vice president and chief product officer at Hyland. He joined the organization in March of 1999 as a quality... read more about: John Phelan

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