Opinion: The Science of IT Monitoring

Rudi Barnard of EOH gives us his view on how to implement monitoring in the IT workplace

August 30, 2011

Companies spend obscene amounts of money on IT infrastructure and software applications.  These systems should incorporate a business-centric monitoring solution that reports on performance on all tiers within the IT stack, says Rudi Barnard, General Manager at EOH Application Management.  “More importantly, it needs to act as an early warning system if something should go wrong. It is an invaluable source of information in our online era of business functionality, where you simply cannot afford to hear from a client that your online banking system is down.”

“The inherent problem with monitoring systems is that companies utilise them in silos.  It invariably means that various monitoring systems are at play at any given time to report on each individual network, infrastructure and database.  These systems are rarely integrated and often overlap in functionality,” explains Barnard.

Clients are becoming aware of this fact, which has sparked an emerging trend that sees clients collaborating with IT specialists to design a fully integrated monitoring strategy.  “The client understands their business environment and often has a pretty solid grasp of what that monitoring system should deliver.  As an IT specialist, I have the knowledge to provide that system to the client.  When those two aspects are combined, you suddenly find yourself working towards a common goal with a clear understanding of the vision behind it.”

“We find that in most cases the entire monitoring process and strategy has to be taken back to the drawing board in order to disseminate it from a business perspective and to re-engineer the process, utilising all the skills at our disposal,” says Barnard.

Consolidation is the coin phrase of the decade in the face of the prevailing economic environment where expenditure needs to be kept under wraps, says Barnard.  “It is pertinent to consider the tools that the client invested in and to evaluate whether those tools are able to provide the desired capability as a service.  Streamlining processes and infrastructure is one of the main solutions that will aid organisations to save on maintenance and human capital.”

The resulting monitoring system will be able to provide a comprehensive business overview of the entire company’s IT product functionality.  “It will allow the user to pull business data out of the system that can be utilised for business planning and decision making.  It will provide insightful information to the user such as knowing exactly how much revenue is lost due to sluggish system performance or downtime.

Finding a balance between IT delivery and business needs remains a science.  “Many organisations simply sell an IT tool to address this dilemma. It is however the biggest mistake an organisation can make as these ‘drop and go’ approach vendors will cost companies dearly in the long run. Tools will not magically drive the methodology or integration and will certainly not ensure that specific solutions are built to provide Business and IT value. EOH Application Management specialises in the design of custom solutions that will get to the heart of the matter.  In doing so, we are able to provide something visionary that is invaluable to our customers,” concludes Barnard.

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