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Want an end-to-end view of your business applications? Learn how at HP Discover


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.


Enterprise IT operations are struggling to show how business applications are performing end-to-end. This sounds like a conversation we had many years ago, but with the growing complexity of composite applications and mobile apps the challenge continues. Most of my customers are working to mature their application monitoring processes, as they are critical to business revenues.


A couple of issues are causing this lack of maturity. Large organizations still have a lot of silos, each with its own set of monitoring and management tools. How do you tie them together? IT is really good at monitoring infrastructure components, but thanks in part to mergers and acquisitions, when it comes to applications, the lines of business are typically monitoring the different components in the app layers. This means no one has top-down or bottom-up end-to-end visibility, leading to significant mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and revenue loss. The continuous roll-out of applications only complicates this. (To learn how to move your organization to a higher level of application monitoring, come to my session atHP Discover Las Vegas June 10-12.)


Five phases of maturity

My colleagues in HP Software Professional Services and I have developed a maturity model to help companies achieve this end-to-end visibility on application performance.


  • Reactive phase: In this first phase, you're focused on managing the elements within individual infrastructure domains. Operations are typically siloed and focused on resolving outages and keeping the lights on.

  • Applied phase: You're just starting to put application monitoring in place at this stage. You're beginning to tie in things like configuration management, event consolidation, and infrastructure discovery. You're starting to ask questions such as, "What steps do I need to take to onboard this application?" You talk to the business owners of the applications, get the right monitors in place, and understand what the service levels are within the business.

  • Managed phase: When you've reached this stage, you're working across different lines of business and starting to focus on modeling services. This is also where you start to introduce operating standards and automation: When you onboard an application, you stipulate the monitoring templates to deploy, the technology platforms to use and, for critical applications, defined sets of requirements. At this stage you're getting really good at MTTR, and people will notice improvements.

  • Proactive phase: Automation becomes more mature at this level. You're further reducing the amount of effort it takes to monitor applications, as well as to perform mitigations and quickly put things back into compliance. This allows you to redistribute resources so that IT can focus on innovation. You start to analyze data from application and server logs, so that you can begin to see trends. This is where most organizations get the most cost benefit.

  • Predictive phase: At this level, you can institute capacity planning using operations analytics and reporting. For example, if the business is going to start a new campaign, you can predict that you will see a volume increase for certain applications. At this point the focus is on continuous improvement.


Where to start? We tell companies, "You don't have to do everything at once; you can take a stepwise approach and start showing value to the business." Most organizations I work with are still transitioning from the reactive to the applied phase.


Top-down governance

To be able to progress through these phases, you need overarching governance. The best route is for the VP of operations to institute that governance by setting standards for monitoring and processes. Because implementing standards across business units can be political, the only way to overcome resistance is through a corporate mandate.  We're seeing this right now at a large telecommunications company.


To set monitoring standards, you need to come up with a rationalization of your monitoring environment and start driving that. HP Operations Bridge event management software can help you tie all your monitoring tools together, so you can start to get visibility into your services. For more on the journey to predictive operations, download this white paper. (Registration required.)


To learn how you can achieve end-to-end visibility into your business applications, attend my session on The Five-Step Journey to Predictive Operations at HP Discover Las Vegas June 10-12.


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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