How monitoring creates business value
Unless its core value proposition includes technology, a business’ pointy end is seldom concerned with IT. But the systems looked after by IT inform and enable business actions. Companies do themselves a disservice not knowing more about what is and isn’t happening inside its technology estate. They are ignoring a vital source of business intelligence.
There are many examples of this, explains Sourcing SA’s Research and Technical Lead, Ken Dolbey. If a business is planning a marketing campaign that should result in a surge of sales or leads, its IT systems must be ready to handle that jump in performance. One of Sourcing SA’s customers uses technology reports to inform the KPIs for store availability.
Sometimes it’s even crucial to identify when technology isn’t to blame: “Brokers at a financial services company were blaming underperformance of sales figures on technology systems supporting the business being slow or unavailable. Using monitoring reports geared towards presenting executives with key business performance metrics, it was obvious the system was working perfectly fine. That removed a common excuse that had nothing to do with the sales underperformance.”
Under the business hood
As the maxim goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. Nobody disagrees with that wisdom. Few within parts of the business, outside of IT departments, realise that the information collected from monitoring IT systems can significantly inform business decisions. Environments such as call centres are already onto this advantage: digital PABX systems have made it easier to spot performance issues such as number of calls, call quality and call lengths – all from technology monitoring data. System outages or performance degradation can arm the front line of the business with valuable information, ahead of potential complaints from end-customers.
Technology is central to a business, and monitoring helps the business understand its technology: its capacity, availability and performance. Since technology and operations are tightly coupled, technology monitoring data can enlighten other parts of the business. It can also boost maturity between the business and its IT department without needing a cultural overhaul.
“Modern companies sit on a wealth of data that they don’t realise could help them with their core operations,” Dolbey explains. “They think that technology monitoring only concerns technology decisions. So they miss the bigger picture completely. This is often because companies don’t have dedicated monitoring teams. They may have monitoring systems for technology's sake and people assigned to check those. But there is no strategic oversight, usually because nobody realises technology insight can lead to better business decisions.”
The business benefits of technology monitoring
Perhaps more shocking is that engaging this data is not massively complicated or demanding. Monitoring as a service solutions layer across current technology estates, drawing the necessary data, then aligning it with what the customer organisation needs.
By collecting and presenting monitoring findings, companies can see the cause and effect of their technology on their operations and strategy. It helps solve business problems and inform the most relevant technology investments. As mentioned earlier, it brings IT and the organisation closer together. Overcoming that hurdle creates many new advantages.
But it’s important that the monitoring service does more than collect data, Dolbey explains: “Gathering information is not tricky. In many environments, that is already happening. It’s just not done thoroughly or with a wider view in mind. That is what you should expect from a monitoring service: to be thorough and to put that information in contexts that different parts of the business will understand.”
Monitoring can be useful to anyone. From branch managers to executives to boards, monitoring data can be packaged to serve their questions and meet their metrics. Data can be presented in reports, fed into a BI system, and become interactive via dashboards. The data can be massaged for other use cases. Active monitoring can provide real-time intelligence.
Monitoring data holds a lot of insight and guidance for the core business. By respecting the synergy between a business and its technology, the right monitoring as a service partner can unlock that value. Most companies, unfortunately, don’t do this. They keep IT and its data at arm’s length, instead of building a tangible relationship that will inform key decisions.