With So Many Gaps to Cross, Why Not Build a Bridge-Builder?

    April 13, 2016

    By Luis Colon

    Enterprise IT tools need to not only keep up with rapid changes, but help incorporate change as a core business operation.

    It’s been said many times that if there’s one constant in this world, it’s change — and nowhere is that more true than the IT industry. With a deluge of products, services, and sensors threatening to disrupt every inch of traditional IT programs, change is all IT professionals can do to keep from falling behind rapidly advancing competitors.

    As such, IT analysts have confirmed the need for software products that help organizations adapt to rapid technological shifts. Accenture points to “intelligent automation” as the solution (the number one trend for IT in 2016), stating that such products will help businesses “not just to take advantage of the breakneck pace of digital change, but also… hold a competitive advantage.”

    Rapid-Fire Change Demands Rapid-Fire Solutions

    One of the reasons many IT management products have struggled to deliver outstanding results is because they haven’t incorporated the possibility of rapid change into their processes. This is still a significant barrier to adoption, which has created two recurring challenges for IT service providers:

    Infrastructural constraints are changing faster and faster. Ten years ago, IT might encounter a different limiting factor every few years; today, significant new constraints can crop up between January to June.

    Changes are not only fast, but omnidirectional. The increasing number of variables that software must contend with, such as new systems, applications, and services, have made standardization an immense challenge.

    The result is that CIOs and IT managers must not only drive change within their organizations, but actually institutionalize it as a core business operation. In other words, IT systems, processes and technologies must be able to incorporate new critical systems and integrate new products without fundamentally changing the core functionality and value they deliver to the organization.

    At the same time, IT leaders need to recalibrate their systems of measurement and reporting to higher level indicators such as financial performance and business success to give them more longevity.

    For instance, in 2016, your goal might be a full transition to the cloud; in 2017, you might set your sights on repackaging applications into virtualized containers; in 2018, you could integrate micro-kernels into those containers, or migrate away from VM environments. Still, high-level assessments of service risk and health could be comprehensive and accurate, and an effective tool will allow you to drill down to a granular level to show you the problems that demand your attention, regardless of your evolving focus.

    Play Through the Changes

    Of course, IT managers are always going to need insight into granular technical metrics, which will change and evolve with the technology they measure. An effective performance management solution should be able to analyze and aggregate those metrics — tens of thousands of data points — and connect them to the higher level indicators discussed above. There is no better way to quickly address the cost-efficiency of your systems and zero in on your particular target then by having a direct drill down from financial indicators to performance data.

    By translating complex IT concepts into business metrics, IT professionals can easily bridge communication gap between business and IT. Business leaders don’t have time to keep track of trends in online infrastructure and operations that are bound to change in six months anyway. But when you explain risk in terms of reduction in service levels, suggest a solution in the form of elastic capacity, and offer the concrete cost of that solution, they’re much more likely to respond to your recommendation.

    There’s no doubt that it’s a challenging time in the world of IT. For many companies, the furious pace of change will come as an expensive shock. However, with the ability to automate flexibility and intelligence in IT management, processes these hurdles will come and go as nothing more than a speedbump on your company’s journey towards its goals.

    (Main image credit: Wikimedia)