Optimizing IT Infrastructure: Strategies to Control Technology Sprawl and Leverage Outsourcing

Optimizing IT Infrastructure: Strategies to Control Technology Sprawl and Leverage Outsourcing 

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses worldwide had to quickly adjust to survive. Companies scrambled to adapt to remote work, virtual collaboration, and digital transformation. Future plans to move to the cloud or utilize a tool like Zoom or Slack became NOW plans, with no time to think to optimize the solution. There was no other option. Organizations bought any and all tools to ensure they could stay alive. While these changes were necessary for survival, many companies are now dealing with the consequences of what is known as technology sprawl. 

What is technology sprawl? 

Strategies to Control Technology Sprawl Technology sprawl happens when companies over-invest in technology to address business needs, without fully assessing the optimal solution. This could mean buying one product for a particular use case and then another product for a different use case, even though both products have overlapping functions. The pandemic was a great example of technology sprawl. A company could buy Microsoft365 for email and Zoom for a video-conferencing tool, even though Microsoft365 includes Microsoft Teams. That same company could also buy GSuite for cloud storage but not email, since they already have Outlook from Microsoft365 (not to mention that Microsoft365 also has cloud storage of its own). Even worse, different departments might have adopted their own technologies without coordination, leading to fragmentation, lack of visibility, and inefficiencies in workflows. Due to the panic of the pandemic, companies didn’t have time to find the most optimal solution. They had to find answers and they had to find them fast.  

The result? A fragmented digital environment filled with redundancy, inefficiency, and financial waste. 

Why is technology sprawl a problem? 

Technology sprawl presents several challenges for organizations: 

1. Financial Waste: Managing numerous disparate systems leads to higher IT expenses. Redundant technologies result in unnecessary spending on licenses, subscriptions, and maintenance fees, impacting the organization’s budget. 

2. Fragmentation and Inefficiency: Adoption of disparate technologies by different departments leads to fragmentation and lack of integration. This causes inefficiencies in processes and workflow, wasting resources.  

3. Data Silos: Fragmentation leads to the isolation of data across multiple systems, hindering access and utilization. This lack of data integration makes informed decision-making difficult, as decision makers may not have access to comprehensive and up-to-date information. 

4. Security Vulnerabilities: Fragmented systems complicate security management, increasing vulnerability to cyber threats. Inconsistent security protocols across systems raise the risk of data breaches, malware attacks, and other security incidents. 

5. Complexity and Scalability Challenges: As the technological landscape continues to morph, organizations need to spend a significant amount of time scaling their operations and adapting to changing business needs. Integrating new technologies or expanding existing ones becomes difficult when you still have unmanaged technology sprawl. This may impede innovation and agility, hindering the organization’s agility and responsiveness. 

Strategies to Control Technology Sprawl

What are the benefits to addressing technology sprawl? 

Taming technology sprawl is no easy feat, but doing so will lead to substantial benefits, if the above section is any indication of that. 

1. Cost Savings: Addressing technology sprawl leads to cost savings. Once an organization has a good grasp on what is needed, they can reduce spending on licenses, subscriptions, and maintenance fees associated with unused or overlapping technologies. Streamlined processes and improved efficiency lead to lower operational costs over time. 

2. Operational Efficiency: Eliminating redundant technologies enhances operational efficiency. With fewer systems to manage, employees can focus on core tasks and strategic initiatives rather than troubleshooting. 

3. Enhanced Collaboration and Decision-Making: Centralizing data facilitates collaboration across departments and enables quicker, more accurate decision-making. Integrated data supports better outcomes for the organization. 

4. Improved Secured Posture: Consolidated technologies simplify security protocols, making it easier for IT teams to detect and respond to threats. This reduces the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks. 

5. Scalability and Innovation: Streamlined infrastructure enables organizations to scale operations effectively and adapt to changing business needs. Full visibility into the environment fosters innovation, allowing teams to implement new technologies and expand into new markets more readily. 


How can you address technology sprawl? 

Wrangling in technology sprawl can lead to great outcomes for your organization, but where do you begin? Here are a few steps to consider: 

1. Conduct a Comprehensive Technology Audit  

      • Begin by thoroughly reviewing your organization’s technology stack. 

      • Document all software, platforms, and tools in use, identifying redundancies and outdated systems. 

    2. Prioritize and Rationalize 

        • Evaluate technologies based on their alignment with organizational goals. 

        • Decide whether to keep, replace, or retire redundant or underutilized technologies. 

      3. Standardize Platforms and Integration 

          • Identify opportunities to standardize platforms and technologies across departments for better integration. 

          • Invest in solutions that streamline workflows and data exchange. 

        4. Invest in Centralized Data Management 

            • Implement a centralized data management strategy to ensure consistency, integrity, and security. 

            • Consolidate data repositories and establish governance policies. 

            • Invest in data analytics and business intelligence tools to derive actionable insights from integrated data sources. 

          5. Establish Clear Governance and Oversight 

              • Implement centralized governance and oversight mechanisms to regulate technology adoption and usage within the organization. 

              • Develop policies and approval processes for deploying new technologies. 

            6. Empower Change Management and User Training 

                • Provide training and support to facilitate the adoption of new technologies. 

                • Communicate the benefits of technology changes to employees. 

              Finally, monitor, measure, and iterate. Optimizing your IT environment is an ongoing process. Gather feedback, adjust strategies, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. 

              Do you have limited time/resources? Consider outsourcing. 

              There’s a lot that needs to be done to fully address technology sprawl. And pandemic or not, technology was, and is, always going to evolve at a rapid rate. To continue surviving, companies need to constantly stay up to date with technology, while ensuring their current environment is at least working. With having to maintain the environment which took so long to set up and constantly looking ahead to keep up, many organizations, especially mid-size companies, just don’t have the time to perform an audit and optimize their IT infrastructure, even though the benefits are substantial. If that’s the case, then consider outsourcing to organizations who are specialized in optimizing IT environments, like vCom Solutions. By leveraging external expertise and manpower, organizations can accelerate the audit process and experience the rewards of rightsizing their environment without having to spend the precious time to do so. 


              If your organization is suffering with technology sprawl, the earlier you can address it the better. Technology will only continue to grow, meaning managing your IT infrastructure will only become more complicated, making technology sprawl harder to control. The best time to conduct an audit and rightsize your environment was yesterday. The second-best time is today. Do something, whether it’s investing time and resources or outsourcing, to optimize your costs, prepare for the future, and provide business value for your organization.