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What Business Leaders Want from IT Monitoring

From executive to business value dashboards

I recently came across Gartner research authored by analyst Colin Fletcher about the emergence of Business Value Dashboards (BVDs) that are replacing today's conventional executive dashboards. When analyst research mentions a developing IT trend, I take note. But I pay special attention when my own experience with customers validates what the analysts are saying.

We are still in the early stages but I agree that BVDs are here to stay and will eventually replace today's bottoms up executive dashboards that, quite frankly, most executives do not use. These first-generation dashboards, driven by existing IT operations monitors, were not focused on the needs of the business owner. They may have shown the status of underlying infrastructure generally, but not specifically as it related to services or revenue-generating applications, or in ways that they could consume the data. I like an analogy used in Gartner's research: of all the information presented on a car dashboard, what the dashboard highlights should depend on are the context and needs of the driver. A mechanic may care about oil pressure, while the race car driver cares about speed and RPMs.

According to Fletcher, unlike typical executive dashboards (EDs), BVDs are a purely subjective and metrics-driven approach to demonstrate the impact of infrastructure and operations (I&O) performance as it relates to actual business performance objectives.[1] Much like APM uses end-user experience as the driver, BVDs start with identified business performance measures and then link it with the line-of-business stakeholders' key I&O measures that drive results that are important to the business. In fact, Gartner is forecasting that by 2017, 40% of I&O organizations will replace their executive dashboards with new BVDs.[2]

In many ways, the advent of BVDs has been driven by the increasing influx of executives who did not start in IT operations but rather in other business functions. These business leaders found themselves in I&O management roles where they were either tasked with linking IT with business performance or were responsible for acquiring and/or managing what would have historically been considered IT oriented investments. These IT savvy business executives have a very different view of the world and are laser focused on IT performance reporting becoming aligned with basic business performance objectives. Compounding this is the reality that IT investments continue to be under tremendous cost pressure. As long as IT cannot demonstrate its value based on what the business cares about, then the business will not invest in it.

It's also not coincidence that the emergence of BVDs coincides with the emergence of IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) that is gaining significant momentum. As large enterprises recognize the business benefits that can be realized from better understanding the business impact of IT, demand for ITOA tools and technologies is accelerating with analysts forecasting a 10x growth in the next two years.

As a company specializing in IT analytics for large enterprises I am struck by the conceptual simplicity of BVDs and yet the organizational and operational obstacles that can prevent successful deployment. The vision of the real-time enterprise has been around for a while. Now, it can be actualized. Advancements in real-time IT analytics capable of correlating business, IT infrastructure, and application data are enabling a top-down approach that can monitor a business in real time instead of on a daily or weekly basis.

Today we are working with some of the worlds' largest payment platforms, telcos, and banks developing solutions that provide new levels of visibility into how critical customer facing and revenue impacting services are performing in real-time.

What's Next?
According to Gartner, the future of BVDs may be linked to advancements in analytics technology that will evolve beyond helping us correlate business performance and IT metrics. The next step is for analytics to perform a discovery function, identifying and suggesting correlations we had not even thought about. I especially liked how Fletcher put it, "The biggest value of analytics technology will come in helping us know what we didn't know to ask, or did know to look for, or not look for, and we need that just as much in figuring out what matters to our business stakeholders."[1]

References

  1. APMdigest - 9/26/13
  2. Gartner - First Steps in Building an I&O Business Value Dashboard. Published: 21 March 2013. Analyst(s): Colin Fletcher, Jeffrey M. Brooks.

More Stories By Nicola Sanna

Nicola (Nick) Sanna was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Netuitive in September 2002. Under his leadership Netuitive released its first commercial products and implemented a go-to-market strategy that has established Netuitive as the leader in predictive analytics software for IT. In addition to counting an impressive list of market leaders among its 300+ customers, Netuitive has been recognized as one of the 100 most innovative private technology companies (Red Herring) and its products have won several awards such as the Morgan Stanley Innovation Award (2011), Best Systems Management (Codie 2010, 2011) and Best of VMworld (2007, 2009, 2011).

A proven executive with multi-disciplinary experience, Nicola has had many successes in growing software companies in the United States and abroad. Most recently, he was President and CEO of e-Security (acquired by Novell), which pioneered and led the security information management software market. He joined e-Security from Allen Systems Group (ASG) where he ultimately served as Chief Operating Officer. At ASG, he initially established and ran the company's business in EMEA, driving it to exponential growth via effective direct and indirect sales strategies and targeted acquisitions. During his tenure, ASG grew from $9 million to $150 million and Nicola participated in the acquisition and integration of several public and private companies such as Viasoft, Beta Systems North America, MSP, Emprise, SISRO and of assets of CA/Platinum. Nicola sits on the North American board of the “Economy of Communion” Initiative, which promotes ethical and social entrepreneurship. He regularly lectures on the subject to undergraduate and graduate program students in business and economics at universities throughout the US.

Nicola has been named a 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in the Greater Washington region. In 2002, he was recognized by the American Electronics Association as Entrepreneur of the Year for Florida. Fluent in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, Nicola obtained a doctorate in economics and trade from the University of Rome La Sapienza and a degree in business administration and strategic planning from the R.U.L.P. Foundation, Rome.

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