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IT ‘detox’ essential for a healthy business

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Detox may be a more common phrase among dieters but Citrix is advising CIOs and IT managers to undertake a thorough 'IT detox' to reduce inefficiency, risk and employee dissatisfaction across their enterprise and systems.

Nick Keene, country manager at Citrix Southern Africa, says businesses will see some major benefits, including shedding unnecessary spend, if they strip out the fat from their IT assets and reduce worrying clots in their network's major arteries.
The Citrix five-step plan for IT detox is as follows:
* Ensure approach to IT is understood and consistent – Departments or individuals going it alone and bringing devices or applications into the business 'under the radar' present a very real problem. Also, beware 'incrementalism' – the result of ad hoc decisions, all rational in their own right when addressing short-term or isolated problems, but which can easily lead to a long-term bigger picture which is incoherent.
* Stop carting around more devices than are needed – Also ensure all devices are fit for purpose. This approach won't just simplify the management overhead of hardware assets but should also make staff more mobile, more flexible and hopefully less prone to bad backs.
* Reduce the threat of data leaks – Ensure staff are not storing too much data on devices which are insecure, or storing any data which does not need to be saved locally. Look at ways of storing, securing and managing data centrally. Identify risk areas and ask, for example, whether staff should really be taking accounts or customer data home on CDs, memory sticks or even laptops? This will reduce the threat of data leaks while workforce efficiency will increase as duplication and conflicting versions of the same data are reduced.
* Reduce 'work miles' and business travel – Effectively assess how IT can save travel time – how virtual meetings and more effective collaboration can restore work/life balance and reduce the harmful environmental impact of travel. Sometimes there is no substitute for ‘being there’ but not all the time. Likewise look to reduce the need for trips back to the office for field workers if it is purely to file or fill out admin. This will reduce stress levels and increase their useful time.
* Align IT goals with business goals – Elevate above the bits and bytes of service delivery to focus on what the business is actually trying to achieve and define effective metrics to gauge whether it does.
A common theme throughout this IT detox plan is the need for IT departments to gain greater visibility into the business and establish exactly what is needed and what may be lacking.