Given that pretty much everyone in IT has to deal with IT alerts, you would think that there would be an awesome set of competitive products designed to consolidate and manage alerts, on-call scheduling, and automated alert escalation. Some products have some of this fucntionalty built in, but if you want to centralize all your alerts, dole them out to the right people at the right time, and manage your on-call schedules for lots of people on lots of teams, there's not much to choose from product-wise.  Lots of pain, no relief.

 

It's interesting. It may be that companies are just used to the status quo. Sometimes you never think about improvements until one comes up and basically hits you over the head. When we all saw the first tablets, did we think OMG I really need that! I need that *and* my laptop *right *now because my laptop isn't enough?  I can say for myself, no. But, I certainly cannot live without my iPad now. I mean, of *course* you need a latop  and a tablet to be productive. Duh.

 

So back to alert management. In a recent survey by SolarWinds with 156 respondents, 47% said they managed the on-call schedule using a group calendar like Outlook or Google. 26% more said they used a group calendar along with scheduling software in an "every group for themselves" methodology. A lot of people manage the on-call experience by passing around on-call phones and pagers. This seems fraught with the potential for career-limiting error. In something as important as "who is going to address and fix that problem," you'd think you'd want something automated, documented, and more reliable than an overworked human's memory and a shared pager.

 

Here's some other stats:

 

  • Over 73% of respondents said alert management was a real pain in their organization.
  • 65% said the methods they are currently using to manage on-call scheduling were just "somewhat" or "not at all" effective.
  • 75% of respondents said they get alerts that are not their problem to deal with at least once a month. 50% said this happens at least once a week.
  • Getting alerts to the right people in a timely manner was listed as a major concern by many survey respondents.

 

How does your organization manage alerts across all your IT systems? What about the on-call schedule?