By Andy Jonak
There are so many IT solutions out there today that I feel we all live in a perpetual state of overwhelm. Look at the staggering number of infrastructure IT solutions available on the market. There are solutions that focus on backup, networks, monitoring, management, on-prem & multi-cloud, optimization, efficiency, and the list goes on and on. How do you select the right solutions are for you and your firm’s IT environment?
The first way is to talk to your trusted partner who will help guide you, and those of you that follow and read my blog know that I talk about how and why you should use and rely on trusted partners. The second way is to evaluate these solutions and how they would work for you in terms of their efficiency and simplicity. Let's explore that this month.
With so many solutions covering many aspects of IT out there, which should you choose? Well, the value received from a particular IT solution can vary from firm to firm, which, of course, makes sense as everyone judges value differently. Firms need to identify what they define as value to them, but I feel a prudent way to start is looking towards efficiency and simplicity.
Let's define these, as I see them, for purposes of my argument/discussion/challenge/rant this month—take your pick. Here's a simple way to look at them and how I would define them for the IT world, which by the outcome they deliver. A solution can be one, or it can be both, but, in the end, it must provide value.
Here are the definitions:
Efficiency: Worth the money invested and drives business value
Simplicity: Implemented quickly and straightforward way and people use and embrace it
Think about many of these newer types of solutions available. Solutions include Cohesity, AppDynamics, HyperFlex, Office 365, Skybox Security, Komprise, etc. and just about any cloud IaaS/PaaS/SaaS solution. What common between them? They are all about delivering efficiency and simplicity, and there are many more by many more vendors. Some are newer, born into the cloud-era, while some are a rebranding or updating of an existing legacy product, or solution, making it easier to use and more efficient.
I will also argue that if a firm had to select one of the two (efficiency or simplicity) in a solution, they were considering that the one that provides the best experience in terms of simplicity would win over efficiency. I feel this is a recent phenomenon in our industry. In the past, I would say that efficiency always won out. People weren’t as concerned as to how difficult a solution was to manage and use, as long as it was efficient, it was fine or acceptable.
That certainly has changed thanks to firms like Google and others who brought simplicity in how their products are used for their retail solutions with beautiful UX designs. We all know that the morphed into people on the business side who want those types of UX's for their business solutions. They wanted and expected that, and the market gave it to them. The age of great looking dashboards, simple point and click, and easy to use interfaces was borne and are here to stay. As part of that simplicity, many solutions are complex and efficient in how to do things on the back end while providing a simple front end. That is the best of both worlds in terms of efficiency and simplicity. Even if a solution is very complex, it can be simple on the front end in how you use and interact with it.
So what is the message here? Many of the newer, popular, IT solutions today what IT departments and professionals need, which is efficiency, while being simple to use, which is critical. When solutions bring both of these to the table, people will want to use them, and they will be looked upon as solutions that allow people to get things done and be more efficient, which is precisely what we all want for IT, right?
Efficiency is good, but simplicity AND efficiency together are even better and what solution creators and manufacturers are striving towards with their solutions. You should strive for the goals of efficiency and simplicity with the solutions you consider for your environment as well. You’ll be glad you did.