It’s everywhere I tell you–as far as the eye can see…

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Is that a server farm I see before me? From here to there no matter where you look the blinking lights are there…everywhere. The problem with IT Sprawl is first of all its not evil. Its not a horrible disease that causes a telethon to spring up. It is however a delaying problem.

What do I mean by a delaying problem? A delaying problem causes one of the two great conversations to occur which delays all IT projects.

  • What will this cost?
  • Do we have to change or upgrade anything users have to use?

The second one is really a variation of the first one (it costs money to make changes – but there is a time cost that is greater with the second one).

This conversation delays any upgrade or system change every time. IT Sprawl is hopefully going to grow into an exception. The overall reality of IT Sprawl is that in fact it will cost money.

Our initial assessment process has a cost associated with it. That is immutable. Even if a vendor were to “give away” the assessment there is still cost with it. I played that game for years helping Lotus Domino customers (a free assessment is never free – you pay for it eventually.)

There is also an initial consolidation cost that will occur. In many cases the automation and management functions required to run a viable managed portfolio of applications doesn’t exist. In fact, other than a couple instances, I have only seen vendor specific management and automation consoles (again there are a couple of exceptions). The vendors of course argue that they manage their stuff better than anyone else could, but is that really what the overall solution needs? The cause of IT Sprawl was the inflexibility of vendors overall. The lock in and end state NON-Portability of their overall solutions.

In the end however the reality of IT Sprawl programs (or you can also call them Application or Enterprise Portfolio Management programs is that they will save money.

  1. You won’t be locked into a long term specific platform or solution.
  2. You have solutions that are flexible and meet your users needs today and tomorrow.
  3. You won’t have large enterprise transitions occurring as often
  4. You will only run and manage the compute power you need when you need it
  5. Agnostic management solutions will allow you to effectively manage across all solutions not then requiring the best of breed vendor specific solutions.

The great exodus from mainframes resulted in less control for IT. The consumerization of IT may be the chance to reign all of this back in and control IT Sprawl under the guise of making it all work together.

.doc