The KISS Principle for IT.

kissYou know the KISS principle, right? Keep it simple, stupid. I’ve always thought that was a little harsh. But the idea is sound. Too much complexity complicates everything.

In an IT and network administration environment, the acronym can be used to mean something entirely different, but equally important: Keep IT Systems Standard. Not quite as sexy, but face it. Too many people working in too many different ways can, at best, choke productivity and at worst, compromise process and even security. Here are three reasons why maintaining IT standardization makes sense for organizations of any size.

1. Maximize Value. Working with one supplier—whether it be hardware, software or mobile equipment—gives you more purchasing power. That’s pretty obvious. You can reduce your per unit cost when you purchase more than one or two of anything, even over a period of time. But purchasing is only one part of cost. When multiple units can be pre-configured, tested and installed, an enormous amount of time and effort is saved, along with the cost associated with it.

2. Insure Compatibility. In today’s environment of apps, wireless connections, network printing, desktop, mobile and remote hardware and more, there are enough variables to deal with without introducing multiple platforms and systems. By creating a standardized hardware/software configuration, everyone stays on the same page and conflicts and errors are minimized. Even in the most sterile environment it’s difficult to eliminate all issues of compatibility. But the risk is minimized when standards are in place and adhered to. Pre-installed software, pre-configured settings and the exclusion of unnecessary vendor specific programs also keeps systems running more efficiently, increasing your overall productivity.

3. Superior Support. Problems will arise. They always do. But the more standard your IT operation is, the more quickly those problems can be resolved. Your IT staff and your IT support company can be familiar with each of your workstations, as well as any servers or other system architecture in place. No specific training or ancillary technical skills are necessary to resolve issues. This is especially important in small- to medium-size business with limited (or no) dedicated IT staff. Standardization is as important in a company with 5 workstations as in another with 50.

There are other reasons: easily track all of your assets, keep support costs low and allow for workstation sharing to name a few. All to say, the KISS principle of IT – Keep IT Systems Standard – is something to consider as your business grows.