Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 15 - Page 40

business ‘‘ TALKING //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// reach far higher – US$540,000 per hour – at the top end. However, businesses face a twofold threat from IT outages. The longer-term impact on brand reputation and share price will accurately display the loss of customer loyalty and trust as well as a drop in financial earnings. Outages from the likes of BA and TSB have demonstrated just this. The truth is that consumer expectations are so high today that there’s not much room for error. Fail to succeed in today’s fast-moving business environment and competitors will be circling before long to steal customers and market share. That makes effective monitoring vital to spot the early warning signs of issues, keep systems up and running and customers happy. Keeping the lights on is key to business success It’s easy for IT leaders to get caught up in the dizzying hype and ‘promised land’ of AI in helping drive successful Digital Transformation. The reality is that we are years away from the day-to-day deployment of AI within an organisation and companies need to have a clear vision of what it means in terms of people, processes and technology. Rather, investment needs to be made into the network and infrastructure to support Digital Transformation and “ WITHOUT THESE SOLID FOUNDATIONS IN PLACE, BUSINESSES’ DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PROJECTS AND GROWTH PLANS ARE DESTINED TO FAIL. 40 INTELLIGENTCIO business growth and provide the speed and performance needed. Behind every eye-catching Digital Transformation initiative lies IT Operations: the servers, networks, storage, clouds and virtual systems needed to support flashy customer-facing apps and services. In this context, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of effective IT Operations Management such as IT monitoring. Although the discipline is often viewed pejoratively as merely ‘keeping the lights on’, the truth is that without these solid foundations in place, businesses’ Digital Transformation projects and growth plans are destined to fail. It is true to say that in many ways, IT Operations has been left behind by digital change, as many organisations still view it as an afterthought: major investments in new apps and services are not matched proactively by improvements in performance monitoring. Part of this is down to perceptions of IT Operations and monitoring as a cost centre rather than a value driver, but this is because in many cases, firms aren’t monitoring the right things. Simply focusing on availability rather than business service performance will not deliver strategic value and is the role of the CIO to effectively communicate this. Siloed IT teams do not make a CIO’s role any easier. The lack of communications between departments prevents the insight needed to demand and utilise a move to more proactive monitoring practice. This in turn creates an inherited culture of disastrous tool sprawl, with each team purchasing similar tools from different vendors to suit their needs without consulting each other first. In this sprawled environment, it is impossible for IT leaders to gain clear visibility over the entire environment, meaning individuals and teams are doomed to repeat the same mistakes as their predecessors – continually firefighting problems and auto-renewing even under-performing tools. Gartner claims that by 2020, 80% of IT Operations tools and processes in IoT projects will be unable to meet business requirements. Visibility really is power and IT leaders need the right processes in place to provide them with key insights into dynamic cloud and virtual environments as well as the traditional static, on-premises world. Additionally, this insight needs to be consolidated via a single monitoring platform so that a single version of the truth can enable IT leaders to detect bottlenecks, see how the IT infrastructure reacts to specific changes and spot the early warning signs of any problems which could impact performance. It’s the only way to minimise disruption, drive value from IT operations, elevate the role of the CIO and ensure that a Digital Transformation project positively impacts businesses. n