Three Common Shortcomings of IT Infrastructure Management Platforms

    iStock-802301294.jpgAt the end of the day, what matters most is the effective delivery of business services to customers and employees. After all, if you can’t provide a level of predictability in your service delivery, there will be a direct impact on the bottom line.

    IT ops teams are tasked with building and keeping these services running. The need to stay atop the performance and maintenance of these systems is paramount – problems need to be addressed rapidly to keep the impact on delivery of services to a minimum.

    Your IT infrastructure management platforms – and the people who run them – are the key to ensuring the performance and delivery of digital services. Finding, training and keeping the right people is no doubt important. But that doesn’t mean things always go smoothly.

    When it comes to your management platforms, what are the common shortcomings you should be aware of? Let’s take a look at three big ones:

    1 – Gaps in understanding and context.

    Many platforms fail to help you see the whole picture.

    Delivering a business service these days depends on an assortment of underlying technologies. There are transactions happening, multiple applications running and a whole set of infrastructure elements supporting them. Each of these systems have their own particular management and monitoring needs. The rise of virtual machines and cloud-based service delivery have completely changed the paradigm.

    But an unpleasant side effect of the complexity is how difficult it becomes to know exactly what is running where. Any gaps in visibility across the spectrum providing the services will make it exponentially harder to determine what is creating a problem when issues arise.

    Look for IT infrastructure management platforms that provide a holistic view of the entire service delivery model. They need to be able to transcend multiple silos of information in order to understand the state of the delivery infrastructure. Furthermore, they need to be able to map business services to the underlying physical and virtual entities supporting them, so they know what is impacted when one or the other is affected.

    Deficiencies in visibility only make things worse when it comes to providing a predictable service. So as your business services evolve, your management platform must keep pace by enabling visibility and management of new infrastructure and process elements as they come into play.

    2 – Generating an overwhelming number of events.

    Without proper management and filtering, it’s easy to get lost in the tidal wave of data.

    With so many layers of infrastructure and components providing services, each generating a vast amount of information, it’s not unusual to get lost in the flood of events and data that is available. IT ops teams need to weed through this massive volume of data to get to the root of problems – as they occur. Not easy.

    Issue resolution typically follows through the cycle of problem detection, root cause isolation, resolution and verification. In this entire process, the longest amount of time is typically spent in the root cause isolation phase.

    Your IT Infrastructure management platform needs to be able to rapidly get to the source of the problem. It must be able to do this efficiently and with minimal supervision. The more the system can do without human intervention, the better. The last thing you need is a room full of domain experts trying to figure out what exactly is the cause of an issue. 

    3 – Not fixing the problem properly.

    Lack of prompt and effective remediation can hamstring even the most advanced IT ops platforms.

    Once you know what is wrong, it’s the speed and accuracy with which you remediate the problem that becomes important. It's necessary to validate and verify root cause before proceeding. This significantly reduces the churn involved in fixing the wrong thing. It's really key to fix the issue and to get it right the first time.

    Knowledge bases can capture troubleshooting steps, but management platforms also need to provide for workflow automations in order to capitalize on these. The ability to automate commonly repeated steps and refer to repositories of captured information are key when it comes to getting this done promptly.

    An added benefit is if the platform can orchestrate the remediation steps for lower-level problems. This further accelerates the process by removing the human element from doing repeatable tasks in some situations. 

    As the infrastructure and the services you provide grow, mature and evolve, the ability of your IT management platform to ingest workflows – and constantly grow its capabilities – is important to getting ahead of the maintenance curve.

    MTTR is the KPI

    When it comes to measuring your performance as an IT ops organization the mean time to resolve a problem is a key performance indicator. The ability of your IT management platform to see the whole picture, focus on what matters and activate proper remediation directly contributes to this MTTR metric.

    The shortcomings of your management platforms inhibit your ability to get past day-to-day challenges. This prevents you from addressing the overall strategic needs of the business. 

    In the digital economy, IT ops teams are a facilitator of business success. The capabilities of the platforms – and the people that manage your service delivery – directly affect the outcome.

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