The Age Of The Customer Requires A Shift In Monitoring Focus

In my February 2014 report: Left–Shift Technology Monitoring For Success In The Age Of The Customer I explore what the near future will bring for technology monitoring approaches and solutions. Today, for the typical I&O organization, successful technology or service delivery monitoring focuses on two main areas. Firstly, availability, so ensuring the technology underpinning business services is up and available when needed and secondly, performance, so making sure that technology utilized (applications and associated workloads) is fast enough for the business service it supports. 

There is a major problem with this approach though. As the famous author Harper Lee stated “We know all men are not created equal” and the same can be said about your customers and employees – they are not all equal and the rapid pace of consumer technology innovation in areas such as mobile means that they will utilize technology in different ways to support productivity or to engage with your enterprise as a customer. Our relationship with technology is changing rapidly. It is becoming more intimate and personal, meaning that datacenter centric monitoring approaches that focus on availability and performance alone, while still essential, are only the beginning of what is required for a holistic technology monitoring strategy.

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Predictions For 2014: Technology Monitoring

My new report went live this week for Forrester clients - Predictions For 2014: Technology Monitoring. Normally I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to predictions, especially in regards to technology, because while they are interesting to read they can cause confusion and unnecessary deliberation for a buyer/strategist if they are not in context. So my aim for this report was to provide some concrete advice for I&O professionals in 2014 in regards to their technology monitoring (user experience, applications and infrastructure) strategy or approach.

So my top level advice is that during 2014, I&O has to concentrate on monitoring business technology which serves external customers. In fact this is not just a call for I&O professionals but also the rest of the business including marketing and eBusiness professionals. Why? Well just take a look at the near weekly media reports on “computer glitches” during 2013. These glitches meant lost revenue but more seriously impacted the brand image. Technology fuels business and this means that monitoring has to be a strategic business concern. So to avoid your company being the next computer glitch headline you should:

  1. Make sure that your monitoring solutions cover mobile and web fueled business services. From a mobile perspective, your monitoring solutions should provide holistic insight in regards to mobile devices and applications in terms of availability and performance down to the network/carrier level. From a web perspective, in depth web application monitoring down to the code level is a must.
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Are You Ready For Cyber Monday?

Firstly, I hope all my American colleagues and friends are enjoying Thanksgiving. Happy holidays everyone!

I especially hope that all the IT professionals who work in the consumer retail markets get some rest because this coming Monday is Cyber Monday, one of the biggest days for online shopping transactions in the business year. Cyber Monday is part of the holiday season, which Forrester defines as November through December, and as our recent retail forecast report for 2013 points out, we expect online sales to top $78 billion in the US alone. Cyber Monday is not just a US event though; even in the UK, spending is forecast by Sage Pay to be more than £500m for this one day alone.

These figures highlight how digital our world has become. There is no need to go out in the cold or the rain as purchases can be made via mobile devices at any time or anywhere. This move to the digital world means that for many consumer retail companies, their websites and increasingly their mobile apps are now key to their success as they are becoming a major revenue and brand image contributor.

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We Need To Talk About IT Analytics

Last week I attended the excellent FutureStack conference. This was the first customer conference by New Relic, the Application Performance Management (APM) and Monitoring company. It was great to see how passionate their customers are and how they realize the strategic importance of monitoring. Well done New Relic! The keynotes and track sessions at this event were great because they did not just focus on technology but addressed the future skills and competencies required for today’s business technology professional. 

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A Summary Of The Technology Monitoring Market In 2013

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the rising number of ‘computer glitch’ articles during 2013 and discussed that our approach to technology monitoring is not good enough for today’s digital economy. Equally I have also seen an increasing number of inquiries in relation to monitoring and management strategies as businesses start to realize the importance of business technology monitoring. This has been good to see but in order to achieve ROI from any monitoring or management solution investment you have to firstly understand the business importance of the IT or digital services that you provide before making any purchasing decisions. While working on Forrester’s TechRadar on Business Technology Monitoring it became evident that the monitoring solution market is evolving at quite a fast pace with a number of developments in infrastructure, application and end user monitoring resulting in new features and new solution approaches.

So if you are responsible for, or are involved in, your company’s technology monitoring or management strategy then here are the major, high level market developments that you need to be aware of:

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Did You Read About The Computer Glitch?

If not I would be very surprised! Personally I have been shocked by the number of media articles referring to how ‘computer glitches’ have crippled enterprises during 2013. It seems that every week there is a press article on how IT problems have brought an organization to its knees. The latest being reported this morning in the UK by the BBC, where hundreds of outpatient appointments and a number of operations had to be postponed after computer systems failed at Scotland’s largest health board, the NHS in Glasgow. Unfortunately you don’t have to look far to see other countless examples – just type ‘computer glitch’ into a search engine – how many media articles did you find? I found around 25 separate examples during September 2013 alone! Examples ranging from financial trading markets with Nasdaq to the airline industry with JetBlue Airways.

This wide coverage of these IT problems highlights three areas:

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Embedded Connectivity Adds New Spin To Colt's IT Offering

Recently Dan Bieler and I attended a Colt Technology Services analyst day in London. It was great to see a technology services provider who is trying to embrace both disruptive ICT trends and challenges facing enterprise IT. Here is a high level summary of our views from the event:

  • Dan: Colt views its network assets not as its key differentiators - but its IT services. Although IT services today account for only a small fraction of Colt revenues, Colt views its network infrastructure assets as a means to an end to support IT services. Whilst we agree that network infrastructure runs the risk of commoditisation, Colt’s network helps to differentiate Colt’s offering from both IT service providers without network infrastructure and carriers with a less impressive network footprint. Quality network infrastructure is the basis for developing reliable, secure, and compliant ICT solutions. Maybe Colt ought to view itself more as a communications integrator than an IT Services provider.
     
  • John: Colt provides a strong European IaaS offering. One of the presentations focused on Colt’s European datacenter footprint. At Forrester we get many inquiries on hosting and IaaS-specific options for Europe as many clients have to address regulatory and business requirements for data to reside in specific countries. Colt has a substantial number of data centers in European countries including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland.
     
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The Deadly Sins of IT Maturity Assessments

On the 7th August I will be taking part in a webinar that looks at how to ‘Boost Your IT Maturity With ITSM’ and I have a confession to make – I love IT Maturity Assessments. You may also love them but my love comes from the fact that I used to be an enterprise system and service management consultant and today I want to confess my sins. 

As you may know, maturity models and assessments are a cornerstone of many System Integrator service offerings. During my time as a consultant on a number of ‘IT transformation’ projects in the UK, the companies that I worked for would use maturity assessments as part of their standard go-to-market offerings. In terms of my role, I would use ITIL and systems management maturity models and my promise to the customer was that working with me would get them to that next level of maturity. While I believed I was truly helping the customer, I knew, deep down, that maturity models were a way of cementing continued business and that unfortunately within a year I would be on another project meaning I would not be there to see the improvement roadmap move forward. 

But today I want to start my rehabilitation. I still believe that IT maturity assessments hold a lot of value for Enterprise IT but I&O professionals needs to be aware of the following 5 deadly sins:

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Cure Your Service Desk With Customer Experience

One of the best TV comedies in the UK over the last couple of years has been The IT Crowd. It is about a fictional IT department and plays to all the possible IT stereotypes. One of my favorite scenes is from the very first episode in which a ‘user’ is left waiting for their call to be answered for an excruciating amount of time and then another ‘IT professional’ is shown speaking to a ‘user’ in complete technology gobbledygook. Yes, this clip is funny but surely these are all extreme cases and only slim comparisons can be made to Enterprise IT today? 

I have to be honest here and say that during my time as an enterprise management consultant I saw all that happened on this clip, but surely modern day IT organizations don’t suffer from these problems? Well, maybe not to the same extent but how often have you heard, or even whispered, these famous words when working with the IT service desk or help desk:

 “Have-you-logged-a-ticket?”

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Reinvent IO In 2013

This post is based on my new report 'Reinvent The Role Of Infrastructure And Operations Executive In 2013’ 

In 1898 there was the first international urban planning conference in New York. This conference was the first of its kind as it looked to address the challenges of the world’s fast growing cities. It’s hard to contemplate today but the main topic on the attendees’ lips was ---horse dung! That’s right, the concern was that in 50 years time cities such as London would ‘disappear’ due to nine feet of manure being generated by the horses used to transport people around the city. Well, we all know that did not happen and I am happily sitting in the comfort of Forrester’s London office –dung free. Our savior was the automobile and experts did not account for this technological innovation.

Ok, John, so what has this got to do with the future of I&O executive skills?

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