cartoon-style image showing an IT management person at a cluttered desk, overwhelmed and frustrated by numerous tools and devices. This colorful and exaggerated scene effectively highlights the chaos and complexity of dealing with multiple tools, clearly conveying the person's stress and frustration.

Tool Sprawl: IT should focus on Better Efficiency and Security

The term “Tool Sprawl” is gaining some traction lately. It may just be my opinion inside my own digital bubble.

It’s a term used to describe the accumulation of multiple IT management and/or monitoring tools for the same or similar purposes.

Companies have been acquiring numerous tools, often, to deal with particular processes and augmenting the complexity of this administration. This can be due to team silos, increased investments without a clear strategy, or a lack of dedicated professionals in critical areas like security and governance.

Remember: Bigger budgets doesn’t always mean more security nor quality.

These reasons contribute to a vast number of tools being used in companies around the world. Many professionals of the same company may be participating on events or exploring solutions for their inside problems and decide to invest on them.

Infosecurity Magazine has covered a report where a vendor polled more than 1000 enterprise security decision makers in US and UK, and it found that between 2019 and 2021, the number of security tools in companies raised in almost 20%. In other words, Tool Sprawl is getting worse.

In a short time, these investments start to be hard to manage and teams don’t even get the chance to profit of these solutions. Or even worse. Companies may already have solutions acquired in long term contracts that might be just underutilized on a daily basis.

The Tool Sprawl reduce visibility, since there are too many systems to be observed, increase complexity, once the fragmented IT environment starts to rise, and diminish teams performance due to a lack of organization and standardization. Not to talk about costs.

Companies can and should address tool sprawl by identifying and eliminating redundant tools, bringing the remaining ones into a single – or as single as possible – and unified platform for operations.

This may be done defining strategies of acquisitions and processes and talking directly with vendors to check if the tools don’t already cover their necessities and may be just better understood, team trained, or processes changed in a short or medium term.

Imagine the possibilities of having just one tool for inventory, ticketing, change and problem management, deal with projects, eliminate – or at least diminish – the use of unlimited email messages, communication between pairs and 3rd party actors, financial and warranty followups and alerts, contact management and also see all of these in maps with exact localization points.

No extra tools. Everything at the same place and with a possibility to integrate some other tools that must be kept for different purposes but with their info being useful inside the main platform.

It exists. And the strategy must contemplate this way of thinking. Before buying tools for every new need, check it out with current vendors or gather information with other departments about their real necessities and coordinated processes. Collaboration and planning is key.

This article was first posted on my LinkedIn account. Follow me there for more insights and updates on IT management and related topics.






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