Despite research predicting a three per cent contraction in the UK economy in 2009¹ and business failures up 59 per cent on last year,² the survival of UK businesses lies in their own hands, particularly if they still take practical measures such as driving far greater productivity from their existing IT systems, according to Centiq, an IT services provider focused on the data centre.
The company says organisations that take practical action to discover their IT infrastructure’s ‘hidden capabilities’ will markedly improve the performance of their business systems and transform their cost efficiencies - without embarking on new capital expenditure.
Centiq believes that despite having expanded their IT systems in the good years, many companies have failed to set up system assessments to optimise the investment made and to drive out operating expense despite tougher economic conditions.
Glyn Heath, Centiq CEO, said: “Many chief executives are trying to find ways to reduce their cost of service or boost return on capital employed but many still don’t know what is ‘under the bonnet’ of their IT system when getting better value from it is now a top priority.
“With credit tighter and staff costs frozen, one of the less widely publicised options open to chief executives is to work more closely with their IT manager to review their critical business systems’ performance against their revised business targets. This joint approach enables companies to plot the performance gains they need in the tough economic climate and then make informed adjustments to their existing IT infrastructure to help deliver on targets.”
Glyn Heath said: “Auditing IT systems gives the board and CIO a much clearer picture of what needs to be done and helps them discover the ‘hidden capabilities’ of IT infrastructure. System modifications, many at a low level, could make all the difference in ensuring a business’ survival in these exceptionally demanding trading conditions.”
Centiq highlights three practical steps that boards and their IT departments should be taking now to harness their business and IT systems’ potential towards survival:
Action 1: Check the health of your IT: using proven monitoring frameworks, companies should carry out ‘health checks’ to measure, monitor and optimise their IT infrastructures, driving down operational costs and making business systems more adaptable to new priorities.
Action 2: Consolidate your resources: virtualise storage pools and organise your critical data sets into high availability, non-critical and archive levels to clear and optimise storage space and make company databases leaner and far more responsive to customers; additionally, consolidate and virtualise applications spread across multiple platforms onto central servers, to improve asset utilisation, reduce power and cooling costs, IT maintenance costs and time and free up resources for front line services.
Action 3: Out-task and outsource to focus on your priorities: Review and out-task time-consuming and non-core processes, so your business can focus on customer-facing activity and strengthen its ability to innovate.
Centiq believes that the ‘measurement and management’ approach brings immediate and long term advantages. Glyn Heath explained: “Businesses that fully understand their IT system transactional abilities will achieve rapid efficiencies and greater service flexibility without having to sanction further IT investments. In today’s climate, improved system flexibility and streamlined data centre operations could be the difference between business survival and failure.
“Thinking ahead, putting resources into measuring and optimising your IT systems also provides board executives with a ‘road map’ to support clear decision-making, essential efficiency drives, staff training and gearing up for growth when confidence returns.”
¹ PricewaterhouseCoopers “Dealing with debt” – talking point report, March 2009.
² BDO Stoy Hayward, Industry Watch, March 2009.
Centiq (centiq.co.uk) is dedicated to helping clients meet the daily challenge of effectively containing the risk inherent in technology change in their business by making their computing systems efficient and agile and more adaptable – systems fit to deliver on their business aspirations. With a genuine depth of experience in migration, optimisation, management & measurement, Centiq uses tried and tested methodologies and benchmarking to ensure that complex change becomes predictable and repeatable processes. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Nottingham, UK, Centiq has successfully developed and grown a blue-chip customer base covering sectors including government, healthcare, retail and telecommunications.