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How Companies Can Move Beyond Patchwork IT Solutions

By Stacey Farrar, product marketing manager at BitTitan, and Christopher Chesley, North American digital workplace growth leader for SoftwareOne

When the COVID pandemic hit and companies were compelled to extend operations outside of their office walls, they faced a sizable challenge: How do you enable users to work regardless of where they are? A lot of the tools that enable remote work were not in place. This wasn't about executing long-term strategy-it was about creating patchwork solutions to address a set of urgent and immediate needs.

But the patched-together legacy systems and tech stacks that arose during the shift to remote work are no longer serving organizations. These patchwork systems of multi-vendor solutions create a drag on collaboration, innovation, and overall productivity.

In SoftwareOne's Patchwork Workplace Report, 500 IT leaders were surveyed about patchwork solutions, and 71% reported that their current IT setup has at least some patchwork elements, such as multi-vendor solutions (often around cybersecurity). Only 29% said that their company systems were completely centralized, which indicates that most organizations have room to centralize their networks and applications.

In other words, there are many reasons why different applications and solutions come to be clustered together. However, when you have a number of individual solutions that don't communicate with each other, productivity and innovation suffer and take significant hits.

Five concrete ways to move your company beyond patchwork solutions

Ninety-three percent of organizations with patchwork elements in their IT infrastructure report suffering from adverse effects to some degree, and 78% of IT leaders agree patchwork systems make it harder to achieve business goals. So, with that in mind, how can organizations with patchwork systems eliminate disparate tech stacks and create a seamless work environment?

A great place to start is by evaluating where you stand on what we call the Five Pillars of Workplace Maturity. These pillars are pragmatic tools that IT leaders can use to build a modern workplace that encourages productivity and collaboration.

1. Cloud Office

"Why do I need a VPN to open a Word document?"

If you find yourself having to answer this question from workers, stop wasting time and valuable resources on outdated legacy systems and upgrade to a cloud office. Cloud computing can unlock centralized employee access, improved security, and data backup and storage. The cloud can also help you achieve cost savings and drive efficiencies across your organization. A cloud office is a true form of working from anywhere.

2. Content Services

"Where do documents live? How do I share them?"

If this question comes your way, your company needs to digitize operations and files to streamline business ops, and in doing so, reduce physical paperwork and employee frustration. With content services, you can enable employees to securely access files from anywhere and return to work faster, saving time and money.

3. Hyper-Automation

"Is this the best use of my time?"

44% of the IT leaders reported that one of the main complaints with disparate tech stacks is the lack of automation and the manual processes they have to repeat. Meanwhile, 36% said that patchwork systems negatively impact productivity.

But with hyper-automation, you can automate manual processes to reduce risk and increase productivity. Employees don't need to live in fear of hyper-automation-in reality, it can do much to optimize workflows and create time and space for more engaging work.

4. Unified Communications and Collaboration

"Why must I use different tools to work with different teams?"

How can anyone be an expert in 15 different systems? The more systems you have, the more interfaces you need to connect to. And the more interfaces you have, the greater the likelihood of something going wrong. In other words, patchwork systems not only stifle innovation but drain resources as well.

Patchwork systems can arise from a variety of factors. Still, over half of IT leaders (52%) say decision-makers' attempts to please the entire workforce by including everyone's favorite tool/program are partially to blame. Having unified communication, collaboration, and conferencing tools ensures that your users can collaborate with anybody at any time-regardless of where they are-on any device. Take the time to understand your organization's needs and wants for tools and systems, then remove any redundant tools with duplicate capabilities.

5. Emerging Applications and Technology

"How can we modernize our tech stack? Will it change how we collaborate in Cloud Office?"

Ninety percent of IT leaders agree that eliminating patchwork systems would make it easier for their company to outpace competitors. With emerging applications and technology, you can ensure your organization and employees are agile in the face of disruptions and fully prepared for the future of work.

Putting the core pillars in place

Nearly half (48%) of the IT leaders say their company plans to do a significant IT upgrade to streamline patchwork systems within the next year. Meanwhile, almost a third (29%) are already in the midst of a migration. If your organization isn't planning to do the same, it risks falling behind the competition and hindering employees' abilities to do their work.

In the face of a rapidly evolving work landscape, maturity trumps the insecurity of lesser-evolved systems. If your organization understands that it's time to build a clear pathway to a modern workplace, then it's time to put in place a well-integrated system that allows for seamless operation and easy maintenance. Let's take a closer look at the steps involved in that process.

Consolidating possible solutions for patchwork IT

The first step in this process is assessment: You must assess what your needs are and find solutions that can ensure your needs are addressed. Next, identification: Pinpoint which solutions aren't serving operations and can be eliminated. Then it's time to find migration software that can support your needs.

Executing a migration to help resolve patchwork IT 

A migration is the most unified way to resolve patchwork IT, but it's also a significant undertaking. The first step is to assess your environment and make sure you have the full scope of understanding of what data and solutions need to be moved. Get input from stakeholders and end users to ensure they are on board with the changes being made (for example, moving from Microsoft to Google).

Then, ensure all data and information are moved properly (with the right tool), so end users can still access their mail and documents even if it's in a new location. Next, be sure that all parties are aware of the risks involved. If not migrated properly, companies can lose important data while trying to eliminate redundant applications and solutions.

How to mitigate the risks of resolving patchwork IT

End users may not understand how to use the new applications in question, so proper change management is critical to helping ensure your end users have the resources and training needed to use the new solutions once the patchwork environment is resolved.

Implementing the right migration tool is also incredibly important. Having the right tool will help you assess the size and scope of data that needs to be moved, as well as ensure it is migrated to the right locations for easy accessibility (and less confusion for end users).

By following these steps and precautions, MSPs and IT professionals can resolve a patchwork system and keep it from happening in the future, creating smoother operations and end-user productivity to keep business moving forward.



Stacey Farrar


Stacey Farrar is a product marketing manager at BitTitan, where he oversees go-to-market strategy and product messaging for MigrationWiz. His areas of expertise include cloud automation, SaaS, product marketing and management, digital marketing, customer engagement, and business development.

Chris Chesley


Chris is an experienced technology professional with decades of experience in the industry. He has worked for leading companies such as GreenPages, Quest Software, and Ecora Software, and has a deep background in architecting client solutions. Chris has over 15 years of experience with digital workplace technologies, specifically with the Microsoft 365 suite.

In his career, Chris has designed and implemented infrastructure solutions, provided demonstrations, managed customer relations, and developed successful problem-resolution strategies. He is skilled in various technologies, including end-user computing, virtualization, storage, backup, unified communications, and collaboration.

Published Tuesday, May 23, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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