A lot has changed with the enterprise architecture over the last 25 years along with the tooling and methods used for monitoring and reporting on business performance. Tracking IT services and workloads that run across cloud-based applications and converged/hybrid infrastructure has never been so challenging.
Today the complexities have only grown with the array of IoT devices and shared/virtual systems used across multiple providers. With the mass migration to the cloud, visibility has suffered a bit at many levels across the enterprise making it harder to isolate at risk conditions, root-cause issues, and business impacting problems. With the added skills gap and talent drain, how can you possibly manage? Accountability often becomes the focus of everything during times of improvement and “transformation”.
With all the new and automated capabilities available today that allow organizations to become better at planning, predicting, and preventing – the enterprise still struggles to improve things like operational response, change management, and proactive collaboration. The demands on corporate culture will continue to grow and these new approaches will require new ways to interact with our business partners, customers, and stakeholders. The find success in the near future, it will require executive innovators who are decisive to step up and embrace new solutions, capabilities, and approaches that will help grow their business and offer protection over their roles (in the form of “results”).
Today, IT and Operations is either becoming a larger part of the business or being completely outsourced. Regardless of where it is, the operational state continues to deteriorate and under-perform. The impact of this is often felt at the business layer though the lack of visibility needed for decision making and seeing only limited positive change. We’ve been doing a lot of the same for many decades, but how do we change at the enterprise level? How do we simplify complexity today and into the future? It’s definitely not easy to turn a big moving ship. These are just some of the challenges that need to be solved. The forecast for IT and Service Management will be pretty weak if we don’t apply some focus to things like culture, collaboration, and innovation.
To help guide the efforts, the team at CirrusPoint has provided a few points that are at the top of our list for advice for those looking to transform. They are based off of decades of helping clients reach their goals and we believe they are absolutely essential for enabling success. We hope they provide some value and insight and don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to explore further.
Be Smart about AI
There’s so much talk about “AI” but what the heck does it really mean for IT and Operations? It seems that everyone keeps selecting the picture of the person wearing the virtual reality headset, but it’s much broader than that. It can be used in IT Service Management for things like reducing cost of resources and improving operational service. But how?
AI can be used to “Automate the Intelligence” needed to pinpoint a root-cause problem among many symptoms reported or isolate anomalies in performance trends. It can be used for automatically fixing problems and providing notification. Even more so, it’s about being able to spot and “sense” situations and impact as they are brewing and provide early warning so we can prevent things from getting worse. There are many aspects of AI, but how you select it depends on whether your organization is in a proactive innovator or just a laggard in the reactive state. Either way, consider that there is tremendous value in using AI to improve the operational quality of the service that’s provided to your customers.
One way to add AI into the mix and get a quick-win is by applying AI to NMS, specifically for the purpose of automating root-cause detection and correlating and differentiating problems from symptoms. If your organization is still “writing rules files” for network management then your most likely far behind on the innovation curve. Writing rules is a thing of the past and should be replaced with more automated approaches that are supported by discovery, analysis, and relationships.
Orchestration goes beyond just collecting and manipulating data
The enterprise architecture today is only growing in complexities. Just think about how many tools and screens you have as options to look at today and view data. Where exactly is the starting point though? How do you correlate all the many sources of data in an orchestrated way? What is the common real-time source of truth? These are all questions that need to be answered. Integration solves some of the challenges however we must integrate appropriately and orchestrate data so we can increase the range-of-use for information and reporting. Often integration flows in the wrong direction. Organizations need to have a complete picture of what the end-state architecture should look like and where and how data should used.
Orchestration goes beyond collecting and consolidating or sticking all your events to a ticketing system. It involves things like auto-discovery, analytics, automated analysis, and self-service reporting. These are the things that can help improve operational effectiveness and start to dissolve the reactive mode that exists today.
It’s really about prevention
With all the new complexities being introduced, it will be difficult to “prevent” if we continue to work in isolated silos and align staff by product vendors or technology capability. Orchestration is not just about bringing data, tools, and event sources together – it’s about bringing people together in real-time to share the perspective on how they operate and depend on each other for service assurance.
Lighten up on the ticketing system infatuation
There’s a lot of excitement since moving ITSM to the cloud, however the ticketing system is a reactive system and it will always be since it is used after issues have already occurred. If viewed as the holy grail for centralization, then organizational teams will always be in reactive mode waiting for the next thing to break instead of preventing it. Too often, the central allure of a CMDB, data lake, or the cool ITOM platform feels promising, however achieving success and establishing any sort of prevention-focused behavior will require an intelligent and real-time source of reporting that the ticketing system cannot provide.
Find Some Business Meaning
We talk a lot about connecting IT with the business, but what does that really mean? Where does the business go for the current status of IT? How do we view IT based on the business services being consumed and supported? Most of the sources currently used for service management or reporting lack any real business meaning to allow executive leaders to plan and assess risk/impact. Ensuring future success will require the ability to bring logical assets/entities into the mix for reporting.
The security and monitoring tools used today spit out tons of costly machine data, but what does it mean to the business and how is the operational state impacted?
Organization need to focus on how to logically align data, assets, and transactions in their environment so they can get ahead of issues and customer impact. Using analytics more efficiently to assess the business will help make better real-time decisions. Having business logic defined also helps operations get out of the mode of just fixing things that may have no real impact. Also, when IT knows who might be impacted it becomes easier to prioritize. Think about how your Critical Ops team could benefit. There’s lots to be gained by knowing what part of the business is impacted and what resource(s) to engage or devote to an incident, regardless of the time of day (or night). Many costly all-hands calls can be avoided.
A final thought…
Regardless of whether assets are on-prem or in the cloud, the corporate enterprise must commit to having a transparency over IT that everyone can have access to. This requires an executive innovator and an organizational leader to drive and sponsor innovation. Best of luck in the future with your transformation!