If You Are Looking to Invest in Advanced Analytics for IT, Exactly What Should You Be Shopping For? Part 3: Scenarios
October 10, 2017

Dennis Drogseth
EMA

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This is the sixth in my series of blogs inspired by EMA's AIA buyer's guide — directed at helping IT invest in Advanced IT Analytics (AIA), what the industry more commonly calls "Operational Analytics." The goal was to create a "Consumer's Report" approach. And to do that we took it one step further. We created what we called "Shopping Cart Criteria" based on our prior research on AIA adoptions over the past three years.

My last two blogs looked at Cost Advantage parameters and Environments.

Start with Part 1: Cost Advantage

Start with Part 2: Environments

Cost Advantage included:

■ Time to Value

■ Administration and Support

■ Toolset Consolidation

Environments included:

■ Cloud for Performance Management

■ Cloud for Change/Capacity/Cost Optimization

■ Core Infrastructure (Network/Data Center)

■ Legacy/Mainframe

■ Application Performance and Availability Management

■ Internet of Things (IoT)

In this blog, I examine scenario-related shopping cart objectives for AIA.

At EMA, we evaluated seven unique scenarios relevant to AIA adoptions. Our scenarios included agile/DevOps, Integrated security, change impact awareness, capacity optimization, business impact, business alignment and unifying IT.

Agile/DevOps

DevOps is a key area of opportunity.

We found that some vendors had made DevOps a clear and proven focus, whereas for others it was more a direction of future interest. But DevOps is a key area of opportunity. In prior research we saw that 69 percent of our respondents were looking to link their AIA investments to DevOps requirements.

In evaluating this scenario, we looked at discreet requirements in terms of agile/DevOps needs including support for both development professionals and quality assurance and testing (QA Test). To do this we considered overall APM strengths, application change impact awareness, and proof points in terms of actual deployment scenarios. We also targeted analytic insight into digital experience management across the full application lifecycle.

Integrated Security

Integrated security was another scenario where almost all the vendors provided basic functionality, but only a few had made it a primary focus. However, based on recent EMA research in both analytics and SecOps, integrated security is a very high-growth opportunity, with surprisingly strong priorities among both operations and security stakeholders for shared data, shared analytics and shared insights.

In evaluating this criterion, we looked for bidirectional security-related toolset integrations for analysis and visualization relevant to SecOps requirements. We also considered appropriate stakeholder support, and proof points in terms of actual deployments.

Change Impact Awareness

It is well known that performance management and change impact awareness go hand in hand. To be "outstanding" in this area, however, requires many fundamentals. Among them are:

■ analytic awareness of changes in performance-related metrics

■ insight into dependencies to see how and where abnormalities are most likely to impact a critical business service

■ insights into change management procedures and histories so that timely correlations can be proactively understood between change histories and performance and availability metrics

In determining a rating for change impact awareness, we also considered integrations with IT service management (ITSM) sources, CMDBs, CMSs, and ADDM capabilities.

Capacity Optimization

We reserved this scenario for those vendors that went a step beyond change impact awareness. In other words, no vendor could excel here without at least being "strong" in change impact awareness. Capacity Optimization featured those vendors with significant integrations with capacity analytics and automation to make all the requisite connections between performance, change, capacity, and, ideally, cost. In multiple research initiatives, we've seen capacity and even cost analytics stand out as a leading priority for AIA — especially when it comes to optimizing the move to cloud.

Business Impact

In the age of digital transformation, little could be more important than energizing the handshake between IT service delivery and business outcomes. In evaluating this criterion, we considered basic strengths in transactional performance and support for business stakeholders. The highest ratings required data and analytics integrating business and IT sources, as well as common dashboard visualizations of business outcomes such as revenue, business process optimization and conversions from competitive websites.

Business Alignment

Business impact factors into business alignment, but data sharing for optimal business alignment also requires reports and visualization that promote IT-to-business dialog along multiple fronts in a current and dynamic way. In evaluating this scenario, we looked at well-defined stakeholder support for business as well as IT stakeholders, well-evolved dashboarding and workflows, and at least some strengths in unifying IT.

Unifying IT

Unifying IT, much like toolset consolidation, is something of a Holy Grail in value when it comes to investing in AIA. Advanced IT analytics can enable a common layer of efficiency that helps to promote better processes, dialog, data sharing, and automation across virtually all of IT — not just operations. Integrations and stakeholder support were paramount for this scenario, as was social IT and mobile support. For proof points, we looked for real-world examples where a wide range of IT stakeholders were in fact beginning to work differently and more effectively together.

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
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