3 Quick I.T. Tips to Plan for High Peaks

    Remember being a child and going gaga over the first holiday ads featuring your favorite toy? The build-up was intense. You had to wait weeks or months before the event arrived. Sometimes you received what you wished for and other times you didn’t quite get what you wanted. Not getting what you want - especially as a young child - is devastating. Think about how the adults who rush to purchase the coveted item online, but are greeted with an error page or worse yet, the dreaded lag time.

    Most of us have been there. Most of us reading this article have worked hard to prevent this from happening. After all, we want every child — naughty or nice — to get the gift they’ve craved since early October.

    To keep parents from raging on your company’s Twitter or Facebook account and to placate the anxious youth, follow these tips to keep your systems operating optimally during the holiday season. It’s never too early to properly prepare.

    Fine Tune Your Processes

    The goal is to be able to do your work the same way. It’s about doing the same work six months from now and being able to come up with a similar answer. That’s important because when you talk with senior management and you provide one answer today, yet the answer is different two weeks from now, you’re putting your credibility at risk.  

    Keep in mind that it only takes one time out of ten when you provide two different answers to the same question and your credibility plummets with senior management. So use your processes to build consistent answers.

    Your processes will provide the right advice for the business to make the best possible decision during high peak times.

    Understand Business Requirements

    You must understand the priorities and risks for the business. Spend time focusing on items which are a priority for your business and stakeholders. When you understand the prioritized business goals, you can better align with those priorities and determine where your time and resources are best focused. If you don’t know the business priorities, just ask.

    Review your processes to be sure they accomplish meaningful work in a sensible and efficient manner. This analysis should be conducted prior to automating a process. For example, don’t automate an ineffective process.

    Assessing risk levels are another component to understanding and delivering what the business needs. Prioritizing IT services helps IT focus attention and resources where it’s most needed in order to generate business value. You want to ensure resources are allocated appropriately.

    Know Your Data

    Gain an understanding of what business metrics are collected and how they relate to infrastructure utilization. An easy way to do this is to graph the business metrics and the utilization data together. The better the graphs align, the better the metric is for helping analyze infrastructure performance and capacity. If none of the metrics correlate, then talk to the business about new metrics to try and track.

    Capture data in the same intervals across all infrastructure components for which you are responsible. It’s difficult to analyze the interactions between a transaction server and a database server if one is collecting at one-minute intervals and the other at 5-minute intervals. The spikes observed during the one-minute intervals will be invisible on the 5-minute intervals which will make correlation difficult.

    Archiving data is very dependent on the organization. Retention times depend on the amount of change in the environment and business cycles. For example, if applications and business processes change frequently, storing data for long periods of time may be counter-productive as the prior year’s data will have little or no relevance to current operations.

    Use these tips, and others, to augment your plans for your high demand season — Black Friday, Mother’s Day, Tax season, etc. These tips could help your organization satisfy a hurried parent and an anxious child later this season.

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