It’s no longer sufficient to leave capacity management to chance as businesses manage ever more complex IT infrastructure.
Today, businesses’ complex technology estates include critical applications running in ever more interconnected ecosystems, with increasing demand for services to always be not only available, but running seamlessly. Whatever the sector, a single high-profile outage or technology glitch can mean businesses’ reputations are shattered and they lose the trust of their clients.
Increasingly a company’s technology is its source of competitive advantage and keeping that technology at the cutting edge is critical to remaining at the front of any market. As firms update and migrate technology, this presents risks – as one UK bank recently found to its expense. On top of this, regulatory change in markets such as financial services require businesses to evidence that their capacity will ensure service availability during unexpected peak demand events like Brexit.
The increasing pressures on technology capabilities mean that effective reporting, efficient infrastructure optimisation, the quantifying of IT capacity and performance risks and predicting future issues becomes absolutely vital. Yet most organisations have little to no statistical quantification of their resilience.
As a CIO, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring the availability of business-critical systems and services, but not all CIOs can evidence how resilient their business-critical services are, in real-time.
Not only do they need to have plans in place for a disaster scenario where critical infrastructure fails, but they also need to know exactly where the point of failure may lie – e.g. how many simultaneous users can use a service before resources become critically constrained?
At any time, new initiatives may mean a business’ projected volumes increase, but CIOs need to know if their underlying technology will be able to cope with an increase. And if not, they are responsible for investing in the right areas to ensure the appropriate availability ahead of time.
As businesses grow, CIOs need to account for their current growth rate, and quantify the impact of this on their current technology infrastructure – a business could easily be acquiring or deploying services too quickly than they can cope with.
CIOs are often already sitting on the valuable information that is needed in order to answer these questions, but it’s a case of monitoring and analysing this data efficiently. Applications and infrastructure management tools generate vast quantities of data every day, but this data is often considered the ‘exhaust fumes of IT’ and, if used at all beyond real-time alerting, merely forms the basis of regular historical reporting.
However, this reporting will only demonstrate to the business the ‘what was’ and will be of little help when an outage occurs. What many businesses don’t realise is that this data can be a vital resource for understanding the relationships between various, interconnected critical systems and defining predictive models for future planning. Essentially, reporting the ‘what if’, and quantifying the business’ capacity and performance risks.
By correlating business demand data with data on application performance and infrastructure resource utilisation, detailed predictive and prescriptive models can be created providing quantified insights such as where investment may be needed in order to ensure technology provides resilience, stability and capacity for growth.
Keeping your technology at the cutting edge is critical to remaining a leader in any market, but firms can’t hope to achieve this if their data is not put to work to predict future capacity and performance risks.
IT data should no longer be viewed as the exhaust fumes that just fill a burdensome report – but as a unique weapon in the race to stay ahead of competitors. Only with this fundamental shift in mind-set can CIOs be in the business of solving problems before the damage is done.