Complexity: The New Buzzword in the IT Hivemind

Complexity The New Buzzword in the IT Hivemind.png

As enterprises everywhere adopt the ‘next big things’ in the hybrid cloud space – multiple IT execution venues, multiple clouds and multiple capabilities – they’re inadvertently adopting a lot of complexity. This can be intimidating, but complexity can actually make an organization work better. The proof is in the pudding – or better yet, the honey.

Learn from the beehive

The beehive is nature’s best example of the benefits of complexity. The 50,000 bees living there each contribute to the hum of activity within: caring for the young, guarding the colony or foraging for food. They communicate with one another through dancing to show the direction of nectar and pollen.

All this complexity generates the final product of honey, which is both integral to the bees’ survival and a must-have on many of our breakfast tables. Each drop of honey is the product of many layers of complex organization that the bees have perfected; attempting to simplify this process would be counterproductive.

So what does a hive of bees have to do with IT?

With the advent of cloud computing and the plethora of options when it comes to IT workload deployment, IT organizations are starting to mimic beehives with their many layers of complexity.

Enterprises are choosing complexity because it delivers value in the form of:

  • Differentiated offerings
  • More efficient applications
  • Happier customers
  • Lower costs

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When things get too complex

All this being said, there are instances where complexity becomes detrimental. In the apian world, bees will sometimes build honeycomb in undesirable or dangerous places, which in turn brings instability and makes it difficult to harvest their honey.

When it comes to IT, it’s not uncommon to overspend on cloud computing. A 451 Alliance survey found that 58% of respondents were over budget on cloud costs – and 8% said they were spending 2-4x their budgets. With their cloud usage out of control, 38% are experiencing sub-optimal application service levels. A quarter of those surveyed said innovation was being negatively affected.

The moral here is that complexity is a good thing, but it needs to be developed deliberately. Optimization of this complexity can be done through data-driven decision making and the support of managed service providers.

The move shouldn’t be complexity for complexity’s sake, but growth for the sake of better results.

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