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DevOps and Security Glossary Terms

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Tool sprawl - definition & overview

In this article
What is tool sprawl?
Why does tool sprawl matter?
The impact of tool sprawl on IT
The business impact of tool sprawl
The value of IT tool consolidation
How Sumo Logic helps with tool consolidation
What is tool sprawl?
Why does tool sprawl matter?
The impact of tool sprawl on IT
The business impact of tool sprawl
The value of IT tool consolidation
How Sumo Logic helps with tool consolidation

What is tool sprawl?

Tool sprawl happens when a company accesses an unnecessarily high number of IT tools that individually address different use cases.

Key takeaways

  • Tool sprawl happens when a company accesses an unnecessarily high number of IT tools that individually address different use cases.
  • With tool sprawl, each tool potentially creates a data silo, which often requires manual data translation between utilities, causing bottlenecks and other barriers to development.
  • The inefficiencies and setbacks caused by tool sprawl can have a lasting impact on an organization, not just in the IT department, but throughout the business as a whole.
  • Sumo Logic is an integrative, cloud-based analytics service that consolidates SecDevOps implementations for better observability and security.

Why does tool sprawl matter?

Disparate tool engagement means organizations often experience a negative ROI on tools used, as more time is spent navigating between them than completing actual work.

With tool sprawl, each tool potentially creates a data silo, which often requires manual data translation between utilities, causing bottlenecks and other barriers to development. Confluent information will be stored and processed disjointly, resulting in avoidable redundancies and inconsistencies.

In this period of rapid digital transformation, there likely exists a specific tool that deals with exactly that one problem with which your organization is dealing. Because of its specificity, this tool does not efficiently interface with any of your other programs in use or bear any other use cases, but what it does it does so very well, and so you decide to bring it on board.

But having one more tool in your tech stack means the lid won’t easily close anymore. And when you’re looking for a tool you need, you’ll have to do a lot more digging than you otherwise would to find it. Furthermore, if you break a tool, it might take longer to notice it’s broken and proceed with repairs.

The inefficiencies and setbacks caused by tool sprawl can have a lasting impact on an organization, not just in the IT department, but throughout the business as a whole. It is critical for modern companies to recognize the problems tool sprawl can cause, and develop a solution that avoids some of these pitfalls without compromising data security and development.

The impact of tool sprawl on IT

Having unchecked tool sprawl can make it difficult for your IT professionals to do their jobs.

Business effectiveness and efficiency are dependent on IT performance and productivity. However, tool sprawl and fragmentation can slow essential processes and create more work for the humans working in IT. With better tool integration and consolidation, this could have been avoided.

Tool sprawl can have long-term effects on your IT department, including:

  • Decreased IT productivity. Having the right tools in place is necessary for IT teams and can increase performance and productivity if used effectively. However, too many tools force complexity in day-to-day processes, increasing the time it takes teams to complete tasks and reducing productivity.

  • Lack of visibility. Disparate, poorly integrated IT tools make monitoring and troubleshooting processes slower and more complex. This means that performance and security problems will be harder to detect and address.

  • Less time for innovation. More tools mean more monitoring, troubleshooting, and repair performed on existing utilities and less time spent on their improvement and advancement, as well as the improvement and advancement of development, the IT strategy, and your organization’s service.

The business impact of tool sprawl

Problems in IT can lead to more significant issues at the organizational level.

  • Increased cost. Every tool comes with its own inherent product expense but also represents the cost in both time and employee wages for the teams needed to monitor, maintain, and run that particular tool.

  • Data silos. Otherwise, correlative data cannot be compared, integrated, analyzed, or used efficiently when kept separate in different utilities. Access to deeper insight and opportunities for innovation are lost when data silos are built by tool sprawl. Learn more in our guide to log analytics and log management.

  • Lack of collaboration. When different teams are accessing different data sets – or the same data filtered through different, disparate dashboards – this creates barriers to understanding and communication, making cross-departmental, cross-team, and cross-product collaboration nearly impossible.

The value of IT tool consolidation

Reducing the number of tools you use or organizing your tools with a dedicated consolidation solution enables collaboration, communication, and better, more efficient monitoring and data access for improved productivity and innovation in IT distinctly, as well as across the entirety of your business.

Especially for SaaS organizations, better business-IT communications allow you to strategize IT operations and software performance to meet organizational goals – something that might not be possible if your IT pros are busy navigating a maze of monitoring tools.

Tool consolidation helps to break down data silos, which then can reveal better possibilities for organizational advancement, empowered by efficient IT processes and a cleaner toolkit.

How Sumo Logic helps with tool consolidation

Sumo Logic is an integrative, cloud-based analytics service that consolidates DevSecOps implementations for better observability and security. With Sumo Logic, you can securely integrate multiple cloud products, native applications, and other tools into one dashboard for more efficient IT processes, without needing to sacrifice your favorite, use-case-specific utilities.

Start a free trial today to see how you can optimize your analytics.

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