The most fundamental question for any business - Are we open? Not just the doors to the building but can we deliver the services that our customers contract with us for? IT is a challenge. In the previous post, we talked about making sure that all of your IT stuff is working. No red lights on the monitoring tools, traffic flowing, help desk queues all clear. Now, what happens when a customer calls to say that the service that they're using isn't working? You look to all of your point tools and see green across the board. You ask around to different colleagues and everyone says that their stuff is all in good shape. Still, you're customer can't get his or her job done.
This is where we need to start piecing all of the different stuff in our IT landscape together. My favorite question to ask when thinking about this kind of thing is this - "What would happen if I unplugged this...?" What would happen? Might the online menu for the Cafeteria in Building A go down? Maybe the company won't be able to process new orders? Maybe a manufacturing line will shut down. Who really knows?
Knowing if you're open for business is all about understanding relationships and interdependencies. Is everything lined up in just the right way so that our services can be consumed by customers? This of course includes the services that you don't own like SaaS applications. Things like network circuits that you lease from a local telco or maybe even data dumps from 3rd parties. Sure you monitor all of this stuff individually but do you understand the impact if something goes bad?
CMDB's once held the promise of being able to tell you everything that you ever needed to know about a certain thing in your environment. The problem with CMDB's though is that they usually contained way too much information. I'm sure the firmware version on that disk controller is important to someone but why is it featured so prominently when I'm trying to figure out what SERVERXYZ does? Also, most CMDB's do a horrible job of visually displaying information or displaying the current state of something. The CMDB might tell you what tool(s) are monitoring the device but you're on your own to find out whether or not it's up and running. We became more interested in the quantity of data rather then the quality of data. Sure I can capture 10,000 data points about a server config but what about the 10 things that everyone needs to know. Those data points are there but they're buried in a bottomless pit of firmware versions and disk serial numbers.
There is a better way. A solution like our Operations Center product is just what you need. Operations center enables you to make sense of the mountains of real time and static data that you already have by providing a way to organize and visualize that information by business services. We do this through a catalog of off the shelf connectors and data integration capabilities to make just about any piece of information in your environment, relevant and visible to those who need it, when they need it. All of this information can be easily distributed via role based dashboards so that different teams aren't drowning in data that isn't relevant to them. This same data can be rolled up into simple Red Light/Green light status dashboards so that the business and executive IT management are never out of the loop.
Now, instead of spending all of your time hunting for the information that you need to resolve issues, you can spend your valuable time delivering enhancements and new services to the business.