One of the biggest cost factors that businesses encounter when it comes to IT support and computer infrastructure involves system complexity. It is a simple axiom of the computer world that the more complex a system becomes, in terms of both software and hardware, the more expensive it will be to both maintain and administer.
System complexity also tends to slow daily workflow, as even a cursory example will indicate. When two or more word processing platforms are in place, employees may have to ‘stop and think’ about which tool they should use for each and every document. In addition, employees exchanging data may have to deal with file format incompatibilities; even when conversion programs are readily available, the very act of converting such documents tends to create a lag in the production and transferability of the workflow. Internal IT staff will then have to perform updates on two or more programs instead of one, sometimes on a staggered schedule that interferes with their ability to complete other necessary tasks.
Several IT solutions can help reduce system complexity to a more manageable level. While many businesses have already adopted a single word processing solution, over 75% of those surveyed currently use two or more database management programs. This lack of standardization increases their costs. Case studies suggest that consolidating data down to two or, better yet, one database management program can help businesses to save as much as 25% on their data processing costs.
Another key improvement companies can undertake is to automate administrative functions on their databases. This will reduce system complexity by enforcing a standardized set of routines that are applied as appropriate. By having the database system complete routine ‘drudge’ tasks on its own, employee time can be freed up so that they can focus on more important tasks.
IT outsourcing is another solution for database management. When routine processes are outsourced, they can be performed behind the scenes so that database resources are simply ready as needed, instead of waiting for the time and attention of on-site personnel who have more important tasks to complete that are closely linked to profitability and the bottom line. Among the many database functions that can be handled by outsourced IT support are data backup and server monitoring.