Time for IT Operations to Change its Game
March 03, 2014

David Hayward
CA Technologies

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The velocity of how enterprises continuously transform their businesses — and change the game of entire markets — is mind-boggling. Apple changed the music industry forever with its iTunes service. Netflix's mail-order CD business crushed its brick-and-motor competitors and now grabs viewers from traditional cable TV providers with its video streaming service and home-grown, Emmy-nominated dramas. And, as recently reported in the news media, Google Chromebooks have come from nowhere to grab nearly a fifth of the US school purchases of mobile computers.

IT development is on board with business transformation, being more agile than ever by building the apps that drive new, innovative services. But what about IT Operations? More than ever, real-time business performance is intertwined with IT infrastructure health. Any lapse in online service performance is felt all the way from the customer to the board room. IT Operations needs to know how to change its game.

According to Jim Frey, VP of Research at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), operations centers are responding to business pressures by transforming from technology alert monitoring into "cross-domain services management organizations." Instead of handling alerts separately from each technology domain (networks, servers, databases, applications), this new kind of operations organization is looking to correlate events and incidents across technology domains and relate them to how they impact specific business services that domains collectively support. According to Frey,"This new cross-domain operations layer in the IT organization is an essential strategy for overcoming the challenges of finding root cause of what impacts services in today's complex infrastructures – and doing it at the speed that businesses demand."

Make-overs like these require monitoring capable of driving new service-focused operational processes and responsibilities. Monitoring tools must analyze service impact across technology domains. Service impact data can be used to drive service-focused incident and problem management processes. Then Operations staff can shift from red-yellow-green infrastructure alert monitoring to service impact alert handling.

A recent Tech Validate poll of organizations moving to cross-domain service management revealed how IT organizations are changing their game. Using service-oriented tools to support new processes, they are transforming IT Operations to support broad business initiatives, such as new business models, new services for gaining market share, and new IT technologies.

Other Tech Validate research found that organizations are implementing cross-domain service management to improve service root cause analysis, be more proactive in addressing service issues and be more successful in assuring that service level objectives are met.

A good example of hand-in-hand business and IT transformation is Lexmark. Known worldwide for its printer products, the company is currently undergoing a major transformation that will take it from a manufacturing and supply chain organization to a printing solutions and software provider. The ability to see the impact of an individual issue on critical process is helping Lexmark improve services and even avoid incidents before they happen. According Lance Neal, manager of the IT Operational Excellence Program at Lexmark, "The focus has shifted away from checking components in silos to ensuring that the end-to-end process works, which is helping improve service internally and to customers."

David Hayward is Senior Principal Manager, Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies.

Related Links:

www.ca.com/apm

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