333 for IT

So, it was after dinner the other evening and I was in the mood to veg.  I turned on the TV and went to Netflix for something to watch and found a little documentary called “Minimalists”.   I don’t know what caught my eye but as I watched it, I was fascinated by the application to IT.

Admittedly, most things do.  But with that caveat, the stories that these people told of being bogged down and encumbered by all the “stuff” they had was compelling and sounded familiar.   These were not hoarders but reasonable, successful folks who just came to a point in their lives where the collection of “things” was causing them stress and costing money they had better use for.

They all spoke of the incredible freedom and peace of mind that came from limiting their possessions to only the bare minimum necessary to live; nothing extraneous.  Only things they needed every day.  Gone were the extra cars, the boats, the sporting equipment they used only once or just a couple of times a year.  Their closets were clean and organized, their garages had space for a car!

Now don’t get the idea that I jumped on the bandwagon.  I did not but, it did get me thinking of the implications to what we have done in IT for that past 30 years and how it has created some serious “stress” and an accumulation of tools, applications and hardware that sometimes looks like a Rube Goldberg Machine.

My favorite story was of Courtney Carver http://bemorewithless.com , a woman with MS who decided to eliminate stress and simplify her life by simplifying her closet.  She committed herself to 33 items of clothing, shoes, and jewelry for 3 months.  After the 3 months, she could replace an item but she could never have more than 33 items at a time.

In my MANY years of IT consulting, I have seen companies with vertical application lists exceeding 1200.  Many, if not most of those were replicating functionality of one or more other applications in their ecosystem.  But the biggest issue was the amount of time and resources (read money) that were spent in maintenance AND the risk it posed on the company.  Every separate application was a point of failure.  Every interface/API was a potential point of failure.  Just keeping up the security patches and upgrades required a team and more software and tools to support.

What is needed here and what I have helped previous clients with, is 333 for the IT closet.  Maybe 33 apps and tools is a stretch, but limiting the number of applications to only those needed to support the business and eliminating duplication, is a requirement for a stable, sustainable IT.  It reduces RISK and COSTS LESS.  What does that mean for the CEO/Owner? It reduces their stress and allows them to sleep better at night.

Lower cost of IT, lower risk, and less stress for the C suite.  That has to be something everyone wants – right?