|Business Intelligence Becoming the Key Enabler for IT Performance Management|
|Written by Bojan Simic|
|October 12, 2010|
Preliminary findings of TRAC’s end-user survey show that organizations are still struggling to gain full visibility into their IT services and infrastructure. Many of the organizations surveyed are reporting that, even though they made significant investments in new IT monitoring and management tools and increased the amount of performance data that they have on hand, they are still not seeing any significant improvements in key performance indicators (KPI). More than half of these organizations are reporting that the performance data they are collecting is not actionable and many of them find it difficult to prevent performance issues before end-users are impacted.
Organizations have been asking for more visibility into IT performance and many vendors responded by providing more monitoring points, better network taps, new modules for seeing deeper into parts of the infrastructure or expanding monitoring into new areas. These product enhancements did help organizations see deeper and wider, but didn’t necessarily help them have more visibility. Now that organizations have all of this data on hand, the challenge becomes: how to make the most sense of it and turn this data into actionable information?
Some vendors realized this opportunity and designed management solutions for correlating, normalizing and providing the right context for the data that organizations have access to.
One of the examples of this type of vendor includes ASG Software. The company’s Enterprise Automation Management Suite (EAMS) sits on top of multiple tools for monitoring IT infrastructure and services and enables companies to put this data into the right context so they can identify and resolve performance issues. Also, VKernel is a virtualization management vendor that leverages data collected mostly from VMware management tools and applies a set of algorithms that allow organizations to conduct a “what-if analysis” for capacity planning, optimization and inventory management in virtualized environments. Another example of a vendor who is capitalizing on this opportunity is Netuitive. The company’s self-learning technology provides dynamic performance thresholds and performance data correlation capabilities that allow organizations to leverage data from other monitoring tools and constantly adjust to changes in IT environments, while reducing management overhead. Also, Monolith Software is providing a platform for correlating and normalizing information about different aspects of IT management, such as asset, fault or performance management.
It is important to mention that these are not just “dashboard” companies. In ASG’s case, their dashboards are just one of the features of their products and are not being used by all of their customers. The value of these solutions is not in charts and graphs that they are able to produce, but more in the intelligence that they add to dealing with complex IT issues and environments. These types of products enable organizations to put tens of thousands of data points that they might have on hand into actionable context and allow them to maximize the value of other monitoring and management tools that they already invested in.
And while the approaches that these vendors are using to address some of the top IT challenges are fairly new in IT management, the underlining technologies and methods that these companies are using are not so new in the enterprise. These products are mostly based on predictive analytics, adaptive intelligence, data mining and warehousing, proactive problem detection - concepts well known in the world of Business Intelligence (BI). While traditional BI products have been using them for purposes of budgeting, sales forecasting or employee performance analysis, IT teams are finding that these same concepts could be very useful in the areas such as: infrastructure planning, proactive alerting, performance troubleshooting or change management.
Managing the performance of IT services is becoming increasingly complex and organizations that rely solely on their employees to processes data collected through dozens of management tools and be able to see, not only what is happening at present, but also to accurately plan for the future, are setting up their IT staff for failure. Automating the process of correlating and analyzing this data and turning it into reliable information for proactive management could be the difference between improved visibility and just having more performance data. In order to help their customers achieve this goal, technology vendors do not need to invent new technologies, but find a way to incorporate some advanced BI concepts that are already present in the market into their products.
While there has been a lot of talk about how technologies, such as cloud computing and virtualization, are impacting the IT performance management market, BI as a class of technology is quietly becoming the key enabler for addressing some of the top challenges of managing the performance of IT services. Advanced BI concepts incorporated in IT management tools could be a winning combination for organizations that are looking to have full visibility into IT performance.
Tags: vendor, management, performance, vendors, data, monitoring, organizations, tools