5 Steps for Effective Business Service Monitoring

November 29, 2016 | Susan Bilder

The management of information technology resources needs to align with business activities.  The monitoring and management of IT-supported business services can’t focus too strictly on technology without considering user priorities.  Obstacles occur that prevent business service monitoring from succeeding as planned.

Here are 5 steps to overcome these obstacles:

1. Strategize

Monitoring IT-dependent business services is as much an organizational effort as a technology initiative.  It is necessary to define the project requirements in a manner that encompasses business needs as well as technology concerns.  It’s important to take a view that represents the user’s experience at key moments.

2. Decompartmentalize

IT people have become proficient at managing “silos” since management framework products were the only option when circumstances called for monitoring more than a single, discrete technology for many years.  A shortcoming of managing applications, servers, databases, and network devices separately  is that an individual component may appear to be in good order, yet an aggregated view of everything that supports the business service is not available and getting at the root cause of a problem remains difficult.  Business service monitoring requires the capability to associate a set of IT elements with the particular line of business they support, while still keeping watch over the discrete pieces.

3. Prioritize

It is necessary to distinguish immediately which real-time alerts rank first for attention and action and prioritize the applications and their supporting hardware and software.  Identify what is and is not vital, which should be informed by business needs.  A minor problem that affects a major area typically matters more than a major problem in an area with little business impact.  By distinguishing which real-time alerts rank first for attention and action, these notifications help avert harmful and expensive disruptions of business services and minimize damage caused by issues that cannot be avoided

4. Visualize

It’s necessary to have a means to make sense of the vast quantities of monitoring data that will be provided.  To uncover an emerging problem before it affects the business or to quickly determine what went wrong, you need a clear perspective.  A well-designed GUI (graphical user interface) keeps business services in focus.  Individuals beyond the IT staff like business managers and users are also monitoring information and an easy-to-use portal with easy-to-understand information is a prerequisite to find meaning in what they see.

5. Summarize

Once you have the data you will need to know how to summarize and report on the historical information with a focus on communicating service level performance to business management and users.

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