A lot has changed with the enterprise architecture over the last 25 years along with the tools and methods used for monitoring and reporting on business performance, and tracking IT services that run across applications and infrastructure assets. Today the complexities have only grown to include IoT, converged network devices, and virtual systems. With the mass migration to the cloud, visibility has suffered a bit across the enterprise lately making it harder to isolate root-cause and business impacting problems.
With all the new and automated capabilities available today that allow organizations to better plan, predict, and prevent – the enterprise still struggles with improving the operational response to situations that have already occurred. The demands on corporate culture have only grown with the introduction of DevOps and new approaches that require new ways to interact and collaborate with our business partners, customers, and stakeholders.
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 under-perform and in some cases it has become even less effective than it was 20+ years ago. The impact of this is often felt at the business layer though lack of visibility for decision making and with our customers though poor performance. We have been doing this for decades so how do we change? It’s not easy to turn the big moving ship as they say. At the same time, how do we improve and simplify things along the process? These are some of the challenges that need to be solved. The forecast for IT Service Management will be slow moving and quite uneventful If we don’t apply some focus on things like culture and collaboration.
To help guide the efforts, we’ve provided a few points that have made it to the top of our list after 25 years of helping clients and believe they are absolutely essential for enabling transformational success today. We hope they provide some value and insight and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to explore any of these further.
Be Smart about Automated Intelligence
There’s so much talk about “AI” but not many can define how it should actually be used in ITSM for things like cutting cost or improving operational service. I like to look at “AI” as Automating the Intelligence needed to pinpoint a root-cause problem or an anomaly among many symptoms reported and then automatically fixing the problem and providing notification. Even more so, it’s about being able to spot and “sense” anomalies as they are coming and provide early warning so we can proactively avoid them. There are many aspects of AI, but how you use it depends on whether your organization is in a proactive or reactive state. Either way there is tremendous value in using AI to improve the operational quality of service.
Orchestration goes beyond collecting 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. Where exactly is the starting point though? How do you correlate all the many sources? What is the central 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 so we can increase the range-of-use for all our data. Often integration is done in the wrong direction or without having the full big picture of what the enterprise architecture should look like.
Orchestration however goes beyond just collecting and consolidating data or events to a ticketing system, it involves integrating in things like discovery, automated analysis, and self-service reporting. These are the things will improve operational effectiveness and start to dissolve the reactive mode in operations today.
It’s really all about ‘prevention’.
With all the new complexities being introduced, it will be difficult; especially if we continue to grow our business with the mentality that things need to be isolated in pockets, by vendor product, or technology service. Orchestration is not just about bringing data, tools, and event sources together – it’s about bringing people together – in real-time, for a perspective on how we inter-operate and how we depend on each other for service assurance.
Lighten up on the ticketing system infatuation
There’s a lot of excitement since moving to the cloud, however the ticketing system is a reactive source and it will always be. If it’s viewed as the holy grail for centralization, then organizational teams will always be in reactive mode. Too often, the allure of the CMDB, data lake, and the latest ITSM/ITOM platform promises creates an over commitment that’s far from reaching true scale and widespread success in large enterprise. 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 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 supported and what’s actively at risk or being impacted? Most of the sources we use for service management or reporting lack real business meaning to allow business leaders to proactively plan and assess risk/impact.
The enterprise monitoring tools and sources used today spit out tons of costly machine data and events, but what does it mean to the business and how does it impact the operational state over time?
Organization need to focus on how to logically align data, assets, and transactions in their environment so they can get ahead of the game and use analytics more accurately to assess the business and make better real-time decisions. Having the business logic defined also helps operations get out of the reactive mode of just fixing things and they become more effective at prevention and avoidance by knowing who’ impacted. Think about your Critical Ops team and how they could benefit. There are a lot of efficiencies to be gained (and people to keep happy) 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).
A final thought…
As a final thought, one of the most guided suggestions I could make is that regardless of whether assets are on-prem or in the cloud, the corporate enterprise must commit to having a transparent state of IT and business that everyone can have access to. This must also be driven down from the organizational leadership along with oversight and a neutral perspective across all sources and solution providers contributing. Best of luck with your transformation!