Co-authored by Prenaven Naidoo
Our previous article looked at some best practice considerations for organizations seeking to enhance their IT operations monitoring capabilities. A key callout was that IT leaders must develop and maintain an ongoing commitment to transformation as they undertake this advanced monitoring journey. To successfully transition to an advanced state of IT operations, organizations must use a frameworks-based approach to achieve their target state. Frameworks provide a structure that enables leading practice adoption and consistency of solution design at scale while ensuring comprehensiveness in your approach so that no aspects of your transformation are overlooked. We recommend considering three frameworks, in particular:
- Monitoring capability framework – Allows for holistic capability development
- Visualization framework – Used to create better top-down visibility, tailored for personas
- Maturity framework – Helps in developing maturity and approach towards the target state
Monitoring capability Framework
Implementing yet another application monitoring tool from the market will not help you mature the IT monitoring capability of your organization. Instead, a holistic solution that addresses people, process, technology, and data aspects across multiple capability dimensions will make up a complete solution that provides the best return on your investment.
These capabilities are:
- Visualization and Reporting: Visualizing and understanding landscape health from a business service or function perspective is essential to drive focus and priorities for addressing issues. Defining the right kind of metrics and visuals for providing relevant insights, to the right audience, at the right time and through the suitable medium is essential to drive the best actions and results.
- IT Service Management: Monitoring needs to be integrated into IT Service Management processes like incident and problem management and management tools. Roles and responsibilities need to be designed in line with the new capabilities to provide proactive visibility where preventive actions might need to be taken more often than reactive actions.
- Event and Alerts Management: Event management and alerting, an extension of ITSM, should be focussed on as a specific capability, especially as the advanced IT monitoring relies on automated alerts and event management based on monitoring thresholds that need to be defined and established. In addition, anomalies need to automatically be correlated to identify incidents or problems, with corresponding alerts sent to systems and people responsible for managing remediation actions.
- Data Management: Data management is a critical building block as part of IT operations monitoring capability. Aggregating data from different sources governing and maintaining this data through cleansing and deduplicating is vital to have a trustworthy source of visualization and alerts that can provide actionable intelligence to IT Operations.
- Monitoring and instrumentation: Instrumenting your applications with a monitoring tool is a foundational element that needs to be in place for your monitoring capability. IT assets need to be monitored across application, integration, infrastructure, database, network, and security layers, to collect data that can provide insights about the health of the entire stack underlying business services.
We talked about stitching together an end-to-end view across IT operations in the previous blog post. Companies have done that in the past, but typically from an IT stack perspective. Traditional monitoring perspectives must be reoriented for top-down, persona-driven monitoring in this digital era.
- Top-down visibility: It is essential to develop visibility linked to business architecture by mapping the business to IT assets and metrics related to the health of these assets. This enables the entire organization to be focused on ensuring that critical business services are up and running with optimal performance. Drill-down intelligence needs to be available across different layers of the business-IT landscape, starting from Business visibility (across dimensions like products, channels, and customer journeys), supported by further visibility into application and middleware layer, network, and infrastructure and a cross-cutting security and compliance layer.
- Persona-driven visualization: It is also essential to have custom views presenting relevant information according to the needs of different stakeholders in the organization. For instance, a senior business or IT executive will be more interested in top-level metrics for business service quality, effectiveness, performance, end-customer experience, and engagement, as against an IT operations manager who will need more profound insights into infra health, availability, and performance of individual components, or an architect who will be most interested in performance, capacity, utilization and failure rates from a planning and design perspective.
Organizations need to understand their current state and aim to gain desired maturity levels as they develop advanced IT monitoring capabilities and approach their target state.
- The target: Organisations should look at achieving an IT monitoring target state that is business performance-oriented (vs. IT asset oriented), consolidated (vs. tools scattered across IT layers), holistic (vs. siloed across capability dimensions), proactively managed based on foresight (vs. reactive based on hindsight), and automated (vs. manual processes).
- Gaining maturity: Organisations need to understand their current landscape and maturity level, and then plan to progress through various stages of maturity to go beyond answering basic questions such as “are my IT components working”, “is the application working,” or “what’s the cause of this problem”, to “is the business achieving the end objectives” and “are we able to intelligently and proactively manage operations”.
- Approaching the target state: To achieve such a target while gaining maturity in IT operations monitoring capabilities, consider:
- Developing an IT Operations Monitoring strategy and roadmap
- Identifying business areas that stand to benefit most from IT operations observability and advanced monitoring
- Demonstrating the value of adopting advanced IT Ops monitoring by developing prototypes and implementing pilot projects
- Planning for scaled adoption of capabilities in an Agile manner that considers adopting new capabilities to address most critical business priorities, instead of going with a big bang implementation approach
- Incrementally transforming the culture, skills, and processes in the organization to support improving maturity
In the concluding post of this series, we will look at some of the specific benefits that can be expected by adopting advanced IT monitoring capabilities.
Gaurav Sharma is an experienced digital consultant with deep skills in business analysis, process improvement, human centred design and Agile delivery. He has advised and enabled utilities, telecom and banking organisations adopt Cloud computing, BI and analytics, process automation, artificial intelligence, mobility and digital channel solutions.
Prenaven Naidoo is a digital enthusiast focused on co-creating outcomes with Infosys Services, Utilities, Resources and Energy clients on their digital journey, by leveraging his extensive experience in Leadership, Digital Strategy, Operating Model Design & Execution of digital initiatives.