How to Start an IT Monitoring Initiative

May 03, 2017

Contributor: Sony Shetty

For IT monitoring, its business metrics that really matter.

In the past, if a server went down, it would often be catastrophic. Now, with today's highly dynamic technology infrastructures, server, storage and network failures are no longer a death sentence.

Thanks to the cloud, virtual machines (VMs), containers and software-defined resources, new functionality can often be deployed without the end user knowing. The way the business consumes IT resources is via services or applications, without exposure to the underlying infrastructure.

“ By 2021, 60% of IT monitoring investments will include a focus on business-relevant metrics, up from less than 20% in 2017.”

As a result, the IT monitoring efforts of infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders should not start with collecting data from the infrastructure, but instead, should start with the business in mind.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, 60% of IT monitoring investments will include a focus on business-relevant metrics, up from less than 20% in 2017.

“Monitoring from the perspective of the business really means that enterprises should try to collect information that helps ascertain a business' health,” said Will Cappelli, research vice president at Gartner. “Business performance is the only thing that really matters in terms of the goal of your IT monitoring activities.”

Kick Off an IT Monitoring Strategy

Many I&O leaders don't know where to begin when initiating an IT monitoring strategy.

Approximately 25% of Gartner client inquiries about IT monitoring over the past few years have had some discussion related to where and how to implement it. However, during that time, the answer to this line of inquiry has changed.

Historically, the focus was on starting from the ground up — at the infrastructure "hardware level" of servers, storage and networks — then building up from there. What this starting point failed to deliver was business relevance. Due to the changing nature of infrastructure and application architecture, it no longer makes sense to begin data collection efforts from a perspective that is unlikely to provide insight into the end-user’s experience.

The good news is that with modern digital experience monitoring (DEM) and application performance monitoring (APM) tools, visibility into metrics that matter to the business is becoming easier to obtain.

For organizations just starting their IT monitoring journey, Gartner recommends:

  • Start the enterprise's IT monitoring strategy by deploying technology that provides insight into the end-user perspective.
  • Implement custom instrumentation, where necessary, to integrate business-relevant metrics once basic end-user monitoring is deployed.
  • Focus on how IT aligns with the business — the initial business metrics should concentrate on the "stage" of the business-to-IT relationship.
  • Incorporate requirements from other monitoring stakeholders, especially line-of-business and application owners.
  • Build your IT monitoring approach to be delivered as a service by ensuring that non-IT operations personnel are able to select only the data that is important to them

Infrastructure and operations leaders must use a business-oriented, top-down approach and identify ways to improve overall monitoring costs and delivery.

“Remember that the goal of such a service is not so much for central IT to monitor digital business processes directly. Instead, it's meant to give digitalized business units the power to do their own monitoring in a way that is effective and flexible, but, at the same time, cost-efficient,” said Cappelli.

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