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3 steps you can take to gain visibility into application health


Gerben IMG_3879-cropped.jpgBy Gerben Verstraete

Gerben Verstraete works in the CTO office of HP Software Professional Services, focusing on BSM and the transformation of IT operations.


What does the business want from IT? The short answer is, agility and reassurance.  In other words, they want to know that their mission-critical applications are performing well. Can I book flights? Is the system working? Is it in a good state to handle seasonal capacity? By demonstrating application health, IT is able to show value to the business.


But getting to this level is a struggle for many IT organizations. They're so heads down keeping the lights on that they cannot step back and say, "Okay, let's dedicate a team of people to this effort and start focusing on achieving this visibility." And this can have serious consequences.


You may be performing event consolidation and application monitoring for individual business units (BUs), but if you’re not also doing this across BUs, your application health is at risk. If a network outage takes down your revenue-generating systems, that lack of visibility means IT could take much longer to troubleshoot the problem and restore service. (To learn how your business can reach a service-centric level of operation, attend my session at HP Discover Las Vegas June 10-12.)


Reaching a managed state                                                                                                                                        

How can you gain that cross-BU visibility? You need to take three important steps:


  • Model services. You begin by starting to introduce standards around the tools you put in place for application monitoring. You should also establish a set of defined requirements.  By making application modeling and application monitoring a discipline, you can start to manage services across the lines of business. Ideally you would manage across all of your BUs, but this is not always achievable, depending on the scale of your operations. But you need to build up that lighthouse.

  • Integrate processes. Once you have these pieces in place, you can start integrating the processes, including application performance management, configuration management, event management, system management, and network management. At this point you're beginning to get control of services across BUs. In HP Software Professional Services,we call this the managed phase of IT operations.  

  • Participate in business planning. At this phase IT is starting to understand the business. You're gaining control over your applications, and you can say, "This is how the applications are behaving." You can now go a step further, to help with business planning. By tracking loss avoidance, IT can demonstrate increased availability to the business and can now start to have proactive discussions on about planning for new business demands.        


Respond faster

In the managed phase, you can monitor user behavior as well. For example, you can see how users are interacting with a mobile app; if it appears they're having trouble clicking at a certain stage, you can now provide instant feedback to the app dev teams to make that step less cumbersome.


Because you have all the events under control, and you're modeling services, you can understand the business affect when something happens. You can troubleshoot much more quickly, restore systems faster, and anticipate service impacts before they occur.


To learn how you can achieve service-centric operations, come to my session at HP Discover Las Vegas June 10-12. And check out the new HP Software Professional Services ebook, "Deliver business value."


Gerben Verstraete works in the CTO Office with HP Software Professional Services, a role which includes defining implementation strategies for global Fortune 500 customers. Mr. Verstraete is also responsible for the go-to-market services strategies for HP’s Software services & solution portfolio inclusive of Data Center Transformation and in particular the transformation of IT Operations. He regularly leads critical client engagements acting in CIO and VP/IT strategic advisory roles.


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