We’ve all seen through departmental purchases or sprawl or mergers and acquisitions, companies can be saddled with a dozen content management systems, multiple customer relationship management packages and so forth. What’s more, when users get frustrated by overly complex enterprise software, they sometimes take matters into their own hands and use simpler cloud services instead.
What’s an IT Pro to do?
This morning on Twitter, Alan Pelz Sharpe from the Real Story Group suggested that consolidation might not be as clear cut as you might think, and in fact, even if you sucessfully combined systems, what would stop them from proliferating willy-nilly all over again.
Sometimes, even if you and your colleagues are world class planners, the situation is simply outside of your control, such as a big merger that brings an entirely new organization with its own tools and its own way of doing things.
One of the factors in a successful merger is finding a way to bring together sometimes very different cultures. If your first act after the merger was to dictate that all the purchased company’s systems that didn’t match yours had to go immediately, you might not make a lot of friends in the new company. People would feel lost having to suddenly learn how to use a new set of tools. It would be chaotic.
So it’s not as simple as it might sound to consolidate. Further, Pelz Sharpe suggested consolidation is expensive to pull off and you might not always get the results you hoped for. As with any decisions, there are expected outcomes and unintended consequences that happen for any number of reasons.
But ultimately it makes sense to do an inventory of all the tools you have in use across the entire company, see what kind of overlap you have across each category and to get rid of the duplication. But even with this approach you need to be careful.
I have a friend who works at a large company. They standardized on a particular tool and told every department across the company they had to do the same. Makes sense, but one department was highly efficient using another tool and getting good results. Did it make sense to reduce that department’s productivity to get everyone on the same tool?
Those are the kinds of decisions you have to make when it comes to consolidation. The important thing is to know what you have and be flexible. There are going be to be cases where it might make sense to let folks keep doing what they’ve been doing because it’s good for the business.
If you keep in mind that the goal is to run the business better, rather than make a new set of rules, you should be fine.