My new report is live 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.
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.
2. Ensure that your monitoring approach includes end user experience monitoring
Ultimately applications and infrastructure can seemingly be performing well but what really matters is the end user/customer experience.
Many solutions offer both synthetic (simulated user) and real user monitoring. You need both to ensure holistic monitoring here. Real user monitoring can help to identify unpredicted customer behavior caused by a configuration update error – such as when Delta Air Lines website incorrectly began offering ultra-low fares at the end of last year.
3. Realize that monitoring is not only for live/production environments
2013 was the year in which the word DevOps was etched into our brains in the IT world. Every organization was talking about it and at times it sounded like some mythical savior that could cure all IT suffering.
I understand why DevOps is important and for me it's an important evolution for enterprise IT. At its core, DevOps is about the need for continuous, rapid delivery of modern applications. This means that development, test and pre-production environments are becoming more fluid and you should be utilizing monitoring solutions earlier in the application development lifecycle. This will help with identifying configuration issues before they hit a live environment and more importantly, before they are experienced and in some cases exploited by your revenue generating customers.
John Rakowski is Analyst, Infrastructure and Operations, at Forrester.