DEJ’s recent research on IT performance monitoring showed that, despite the fact that organizations are making significant investments in these type of technologies, their success in dealing with challenges in this area is not improving. Additionally, requirements of digital economy are bringing a new set of issues that they need to address.
DEJ was able to compare this year’s survey results with seven years worth of trending data and found that, for the majority of organizations, results in some of the key areas, such as root cause analysis and problem prevention, not only didn’t improve but in many cases declined. Interestingly, when asked what is the key area of emphasis to address management issues going forward, these organizations reported operational analytics as the top priority.
In the same survey we dig deeper into drivers behind this trend and some of the issues brought up were:
- Increasing complexity is resulting in having to deal with larger amounts of data
- Data that they have on hand is not actionable
- Issues with accuracy of information currently presented and delivered
- Presentation and visualization capabilities of their monitoring solutions
- Lack of information that they really need to solve a problem
However, the most important issue that was brought up was that information they currently have does not allow them to meet expectations of their business users, which brings us to the next point. In research that we conducted earlier in the year on digital transformation the majority of organizations reported that trends in the digital economy are forcing them to make significant changes in terms of how they are evaluating and leveraging different types of technologies. Some of the actions these organizations are looking to take include:
- Make IT more strategic (57% of participants)
- Use technology as a source of competitive advantage (61%)
- Deploy a technology that benefits multiple job roles and departments (42%)
- Improve agility and ability to adjust to market changes (49% and 44% respectively)
- Improve business process efficiency and the decision making process (49%)
- Reduce cost of running and maintaining an enterprise technology (53%)
- Enable deployments of other technologies (38%)
- Improve predictability of their business (43%)
IT operations analytics (ITOA) solutions meet each of these criteria and that is one of the key reasons why this type of technology is on top of the list of capabilities that are driving the future growth of IT. Currently, there are a number of solution providers specializing in this area, with many others that are currently in stealth mode and looking to enter this market. However, it is important to keep in mind that all ITOA solutions are not created equal. Some of the key areas that make this emerging market heterogeneous are:
- Source of data collection – network, logs, user devices, machine learning, applications, IT financial information, entire infrastructure, etc.
- Use cases – service and application performance, Continuous delivery and DevOps analytics, virtualization, compliance, capacity planning, security, etc.
- Delivery methods – SaaS, licensed software, hardware
- Analytics techniques – predictive analytics, anomaly detection, etc.
- Information provided – root cause, recommendations, replay, forecasting, etc.
Some of the other differentiators include required levels of technical knowledge, pricing models, levels of automation, ease of deployment, alerting, visualization, scalability, etc. DEJ is in the process of publishing a comprehensive research study on ITOA that will provide a deeper dive into each of these areas.
There are innovative technologies that appear in the market and sometimes end up being perceived as a solution in search of the problem. In the case of ITOA technologies, it is completely opposite. I recently spoke with an end-user client who was frustrated with the ineffectiveness in dealing with IT performance challenges. To my question regarding what tools they are using, he answered, “Well, all of them”. The long lasting inability to solve key performance challenges and seeing investments in monitoring solutions that are not paying off, combined with technology and business requirements of the digital economy, created a perfect storm for ITOA technologies. However, as we have seen in the past, every time there is a “hot” technology in the market more technology vendors try to jump on that bandwagon from a messaging perspective, which creates a lot of confusion in the market (the best example is the APM market circa 2008-2013). For that reason, it is very important that this market is clearly defined and the capabilities, benefits and differentiators are well understood by user organizations. If that doesn’t happen, ITOA vendors will be facing a lethal question from their potential buyers – “Why do we need another monitoring tool?”.