4 Steps to Managing Information Technology Efficiently during Divestitures

John, the CIO of a Fortune 50 company, needed to perform surgery on the organization’s systems. His task was to cut away the technology that supported two divisions slated for divestiture. While doing so, he had to ensure that technology for his organization and the buyer’s hummed along without interruption. The goal of divestment, to increase efficiencies and profitability, was top of mind with every decision he made. This seemingly herculean challenge was even more daunting because of its tight deadline.

Many CIOs in John’s situation might feel like they’re trying to conquer mission impossible. However, by using detailed data they had gathered about their IT infrastructure and taking a methodical step-by-step approach, John’s team met the deadline, kept operations up and running, and ensured the buyer had the information they needed to create an efficient IT infrastructure.

Take Inventory

John’s company had been using Galileo, an IT infrastructure monitoring solution, for five or six years to monitor its IT environment 24/7/365. The data it collected enabled the IT department to look at the technology that supported each of the divisions being sold, including their configuration, performance and utilization levels.

Within the monitoring solution, they could tag and group assets. This feature enabled them to separate the servers, storage, SAN, and applications devoted to the divisions being divested. They analyzed their performance, capacity, and utilization and looked at historical data to project growth trends. Some of the servers and storage were practically out of gas or trending rapidly in that direction. Others were almost comatose with less than five percent capacity in use. This data gave them a window into the actual needs of the divisions, showing there were opportunities to reduce the technology currently allocated to them.

Decide How to Transfer Technology

The next question was how to make the move. Did the divisions need to keep running during the technology transfer without skipping a heartbeat? Or, could they afford a weekend break? Most companies have to keep operations flowing continuously so as not to risk losing the good will of their customers.

In a minority of cases, businesses can shut down operations and conduct a forklift technology move. Because this type of transfer is riskier than duplicating assets and running in parallel, it takes detailed, methodical planning. One company that did this backed up all its data and shut down operations at nine o’clock on Friday night. They hired professional movers who picked up two or three tractor trailer loads of IT equipment and drove them from the east coast to Tennessee. The movers delivered the equipment Saturday night. A crew was on hand. They set up the equipment, hooked it up to the network, and the infrastructure was alive and well for business at seven a.m. on Monday morning. Such a move, however, doesn’t always go without a hitch.

In this case, John’s company had to keep the divisions running non-stop; they could not consider a forklift move. Because of this constraint, they established a transition period of six months. John kept computer operations running at his company.

Have the Buyers Analyze Their Needs

Based on the data from his monitoring solution, John told the buyers exactly what equipment and applications they needed to duplicate. The list was not a delineation of the hardware and software allocated to those divisions. Instead, it detailed actual untilization of resources.

The buyer looked at the list to determine how much of their new requirements they could absorb into their existing infrastructure. John’s company had allocated 100 servers to one of the divisions the buyer was acquiring, but only used 20 of them. Given the growth rates, it looked like they would need 25 servers within the next couple of years. So, the buyer needed to find 25 servers to support their acquisition.

The buyer used a monitoring solution to look at its own technology’s configuration, capacity, and utilization. This analysis helped them determine whether they could absorb these servers and any other required technology into their existing infrastructure, or whether they needed to make a capital investment.

Make It Happen

When the deadline arrived several months later, John’s company shut down its support. The buyers had the right technology and were prepared to manage their new needs without leaning on John’s team for assistance. John’s team then repurposed the technology that had been allocated to the divested divisions to ensure the most efficient use of resources.

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