The growing complexity of today’s business computing environments has led to difficulties in technology management for many organizations. These organizations are relying on a large number of discrete, single-focus management tools for monitoring and managing their servers, networks, storage, databases and applications. Unfortunately, these tools are not very effective in providing the kind of actionable intelligence that agile businesses need to have today- actionable intelligence that integrated IT management software can provide.
The scope and reach of technology is increasing, the average staff size is decreasing, and the business is moving faster and faster – all of which create greater problems for CIOs and IT directors, and expose the gaps in their management solutions.
Once reserved solely for large enterprises, integrated IT management software has recently gained popularity as a viable solution for even small and mid-sized businesses, especially those that have embraced ITIL, CoBIT or other frameworks for disciplined IT management.
Among its many claims to fame are the following:
- Provide a “single pane of glass” for monitoring the entire computing environment
- Support for distributed, heterogeneous networks
- Executive dashboards which provide a quick, holistic view of operational status
- End-to-end monitoring of application, server and network performance
- Correlation of server, network, storage, database and security events
- Consolidate capacity planning with asset management and systems inventory
- Facilitate compliance with mature IT management frameworks
Imagine an organization with 300 users and 50 physical devices (servers, storage, networking gear). As recently as 5 or 6 years ago, it would have been typical for such an organization to purchase 6 or 7 fairly inexpensive, and relatively simple point solutions for monitoring their databases, routers/firewalls/switches, servers and maybe storage, independently.
This is no longer viable, because business leaders are demanding deeper insight into application performance, systems utilization and overall environment status than ever before. This goes far beyond your basis monitoring of servers and networks, and with these increased demands, come increased costs.
Adopting an integrated IT management strategy will offer several significant benefits to organization, ranging from reduced costs to greater productivity.
Cost Control Benefits
Every management tool has a basic procurement cost and an ongoing maintenance cost. The greater the number of discrete management applications deployed within an organization, the greater will be the annual maintenance costs. Therefore, a reduction in the number of tools will have an immediate positive impact on the budget. Fewer tools mean fewer servers needed to run those tools – as not all tools will play nicely together – which translates to even more savings.
Reduce Integration Pain
Stand-alone management tools typically do a poor job of providing a holistic view of the organization’s infrastructure. To get such a view typically requires some integration work. Even if this is doable without buying more software, it adds both time and complexity, which are the enemies of productivity.
Using integrated tools reduces the amount of work that an organization has to perform to obtain a comprehensive view of its computing environment. This translates to less time spend on making the monitoring work, and more time spent on making the business work.
Many monitoring and management tools also require software agents to be deployed in order to get the most detail. One tool typically corresponds to one agent; multiple tools, multiple agents. From the standpoint of software compatibility and stability, the fewer the number of tools in use, the fewer the number of agents needed.
Staff Training Costs
The more tools in use by an organization, the more time it will take to gain proficiency in those tools, and the smaller the number of proficient people. An integrated IT management suite will enable organizations to better leverage their investment in training across IT and all of business teams that will use the different application components.
The implementation of a single suite of applications which can provide a comprehensive and consistent view of an organization’s business computing environment, will allow the business to more effectively leverage its technology investment, is one major step in reducing unnecessary costs, improving productivity, and reducing complexity for IT and the business.
Andrew S. Baker is the president and founder of BrainWave Consulting Company, LLC where he provides Virtual CIO services for small/medium businesses. See Andrew’s complete social presence at XeeMe.com\AndrewBaker