I don’t know how many times in the past 15 years I have heard people say, “My computers running slow! I need an upgrade.” Everyone, even your colleagues in the IT department, is quick to blame something (or someone) other than themselves rather than try to understand the issue.
Let's start by looking at how responsiveness and efficiency are portrayed within a business. In most businesses, including the ones I have worked at, end-users often think IT is magic. They just expect it to work. No one thinks about the data they store and how much they have! Very rarely do they consider the complexity of what's happening “behind the scenes” and how much actually goes in to keeping things ticking.
Now, performance issues can show up in many different scenarios. They could be network latency issues, they could be storage performance issues, but to the end-user, it’s just “running slow.” They can’t tell you what’s wrong, and in some cases, neither can the IT team. In many circumstances, I have stood in the middle of the room with the storage team blaming the network team and vice versa, when in fact, the issue was with the end-user’s device. Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly diagnose issues without having to point fingers? If you could have a centralised team with a monitoring tool that could monitor the network, storage, virtualisation, and end-user devices? I may be speaking out of line for some businesses, but I believe that this is common sense and should be the focus and drive for all companies.
That covers responsiveness, but how do you keep track of your data storage and sprawl? A lot of businesses think of efficiency as saving space, but it’s so much more! With the technology landscape constantly changing and deployments now being built across disparate platforms, from private to public cloud, it’s hard to keep control of your data. I discuss data usage with a lot of customers, but I never really ask the question, “How much do you have?” Data has become an asset within a business. The questions you should be asking are: “What type of data do you have? How do you use your data? How do you access your data?”
As you can see, these are all questions that will drive an open conversation and potentially help businesses understand the possibilities. These questions also start to highlight what businesses need to think about when it comes efficiency. “Is my data available? Is my data on the right platform to meet my needs? How much is my data costing me?" And, of course, "How much space am I saving?” If you can answer these questions, they will deliver real value into the business, and begin to help a company realise the benefits of a clear management strategy.
I mentioned earlier that responsiveness and efficiency can be portrayed in different ways depending on each company's (or team’s) objectives. Managing these environments helps provide a clear picture to the whole business. In my experience, executives don’t always want to see speeds and feeds—they want to clearly understand the costs and the value the IT infrastructure is delivering. Meanwhile, IT administrators want to be able to identify issues quickly and maintain an efficiently running system. This is why I believe delivering a management solution that can meet both goals is key to a successful IT strategy.