Spring Cleaning in the IT Closet: Why Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Should Clean up Thoroughly, too

In our last blog post, we wrote about the importance of a thorough spring cleaning in the IT closet. Most of the time, the CIOs of large companies are aware of how important well-organized application landscapes are.

But what about smaller companies? The rationalization of the application portfolio is a major project that often appears too comprehensive for small and medium-sized businesses. The name alone sounds as if a lot of time, money, and resources were required. However, the usually rather cost-driven small and medium-sized businesses should also not be deterred from doing a thorough spring cleaning. There should be clean-ups in every company, no matter the size, because they can also be very beneficial for smaller businesses.

Everything is relative

In a villa with 4 bathrooms, the spring cleaning takes more time than in a two-room apartment. The same applies to cleaning up the IT closet. The bigger the company, the more comprehensive is the application landscape. For this reason, cleaning up a small company takes less effort than cleaning up a large, internationally operating business.

Is it worth it?

So, if the IT landscape is not that comprehensive anyway, is the project even worth it? The answer is yes, for sure. If you think that you do not have a lot to clean, just take a look at your personal computer or laptop. Think about the last time you cleaned it, and remember how many unused applications and “lost” data you found. Every company has a ton of these, but most of them do not know because they do not care to take a closer look.

Saving potentials

However, just because you do not see the dust in the corner, does not mean it is not there. Recognizing that you actually do not need application X and Y, and that you could as well get rid of them, can save money. Money you would have to spend for maintenance and updates, for example. We talked more about this in our first blog post about spring cleaning. However, the second aspect we mentioned is even more important for small and medium-sized companies than for bigger companies with their own IT department: consolidating know-how. If only a few employees are responsible for the IT, you quickly get to the point where only one remaining person knows how to use the outdated technology. This is a good reason to keep the architecture updated at all times.

Getting an overview

By the way: Even in the unlikely case that you do not find dust in the corner or unused applications in your system when doing the spring cleaning, it can still be extremely beneficial. Because one thing will happen for sure: You will take a close look, and you will get a good overview of which systems manage which data in your company, who uses the systems, and how they interact. Having this detailed overview is crucial for another step that is currently of huge interest for small and medium-sized businesses: moving to the Cloud.

Moving (in)to the clouds

If you want to outsource data and/or processes into cloud applications, you have to know exactly which data, transactions and departments are concerned and which interfaces have to be taken into account. A thorough inventory, which is the first step of the spring cleaning, will help you get all the necessary information.

Due to their flexible scalability, cloud solutions have high saving potentials, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. Therefore, when doing your clean-up, it cannot hurt to evaluate which processes and data could be outsourced into cloud applications. And thereby, you already take the first step on the ladder leading to the clouds.

Looking for a partner

As we have seen, organizing and getting an overview of a company‘s application landscape is important for all companies, no matter the size. For small companies that only have a limited budget it is even more important that the spring cleaning is well planned and that responsibilities are clearly divided and communicated. This way, the project can be carried out smoothly and efficiently.

It is important to look for a partner who is familiar with the rationalization of application portfolios and has already assisted companies in doing the spring cleaning. Thus, you can rest assured that the benefits outweigh the costs and efforts, and that not only the data streams, but also the employees will benefit from a better organized company.