Tight budgets and efficiency challenges are par for the course in state and local government. To keep pace with rising taxpayer demands for richer, more reliable online services and stay compliant with ever-growing regulatory requirements, government IT teams are increasingly moving away from legacy technology and undergoing IT consolidation.
The good news: Public sector CIOs are making progress, at least at the state level, according to the 2017 NASCIO report, Shrinking Data Centers: A Playbook for Enterprise Data Center Consolidation. Of the CIOs surveyed, 42% reported they had completed data center consolidations in 2016, with 47% percent saying consolidation was ongoing and 11% percent planning to consolidate.
Data center IT consolidation offers several advantages
Let’s break them down.
- Cost efficiency. Consolidating your environment and reducing your infrastructure enables you to limit expenditures on equipment and maintenance to lower your overall operations costs.
- Better visibility. With consolidation, architecture is easier to monitor, and traffic and volume are more visible.
- Tighter security. With less to manage, there is less risk exposure and fewer targets for exploitation.
- Enhanced disaster recovery. Consolidated infrastructure means it is easier to get back up and running and keep business going in the event an incident impacts data and mission-critical applications.
Because of the benefits, many state and local governments are looking to reduce spending and streamline operations through consolidation. According to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, state CIOs are increasingly looking to consolidation, with 42 percent reporting that they had completed data center consolidations in 2016, up over just 14 percent a decade earlier in 2007. Another 1 percent said they were planning to consolidate.
Challenges and Factors to Consider When Approaching Data Center IT Consolidation
While the benefits are clear, the process is not without challenges. What do you need to consider first when approaching a data center consolidation strategy to improve security, reduce operational costs and increase efficiency at your public sector organization? Consider the following steps for undertaking a consolidation strategy.
Paint the big picture.
Sit down with all stakeholders so that all concerns are vetted and all needs met in undertaking the consolidation. As the NASCIO report advises, “A state should understand needs, requirements and potential issues before setting a target date or launching any initiatives.”
Set a timeline.
A clear timeline of goals will offer the organization and idea of expectations so that personnel and process will know when and how to expect potential changes and disruptions.
A detailed list of assets impacted ensures all bases are covered when it comes to considering systems impacted and possible outcomes.
Conduct a cost analysis.
With budgets always a concern in government, a thorough cost analysis will be key in anticipating additional funding necessary, as well as proving ROI for the project.
Keep lines of communication open throughout the process.
Keep stakeholders constantly apprised of any developments, surprises, adherence to the timeline and other relevant information as the consolidation is underway.
Are you ready to undertake a data center consolidation to enjoy the benefits and advantages it offers long term? OneNeck specializes in assisting government agencies with a tailored approach that is mindful of both your organization and individual technology needs. OneNeck can help consolidate your existing environments with cost-effective, scalable, secure and flexible infrastructure solutions necessary to make a difference. Contact OneNeck IT Solutions to find out more about how they can help you get started today.