4 Steps to Using Unified Performance Management to Break Down IT Silos
February 05, 2013

Belinda Yung-Rubke

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Enterprise IT organizations are often like soccer teams where each of the 11 players plays like a striker: each focused on chasing their own goal, thinking they're securing a "win" for the team. However, that kind of approach isn't a team at all - it's a disparate group of well-intentioned forwards that aren't working together towards a unified goal.

You can see this thinking with examples like deploying a new business critical application, such as VoIP, Citrix, SAP or PeopleSoft. The CIO focuses on improved benefits and cost savings, a network architect focuses on things like bandwidth requirements, and network managers worry about potential new issues like how to troubleshoot another application on an already strained infrastructure. Each IT group is working towards a unified end of successful deployment, but disjointedly takes their own path to success.

Scenarios like these are why IT groups should adopt a new approach: unified performance management. Unified performance management breaks down the silo approach in which organizations tend to focus on a single issue within different groups, even if there may be huge implications ranging from the end user to the CEO. The unified performance management approach brings these various issues, views, and groups together, and focuses on providing a holistic view to improve overall performance of critical resources, applications, and staff.

Instead of following the old approach of focusing on a single issue or user performance, the unified performance management strategy can be deployed across the enterprise in four key steps:

1. Solve both business challenges and operational challenges

For many organizations, there is a distinct separation between business challenges and operational challenges. Frequently, executive staff decides to roll out a new strategy - like a customer call center - without considering the operational challenges. What does this result in? Unhappy staff, frustrated users, dissatisfied customers, and lots of firefighting.

Instead, deploying new technologies with the unified performance management lens helps operations and the business work together to develop thoughtful, realistic strategies that keep business goals moving forward and personnel pleased.

2. Provide the right view and tools for different groups

For any new critical technology deployment, individual responsibilities of IT teams are so intertwined that a single failure can impact the success of the whole organization. But this can't be done without the right tools for everything from an enterprise-wide view of metrics to end-user experience.

Unfortunately, many network professionals feel their tools are lacking. In a recent Fluke Networks study, we found that more than 55 percent of today's network professionals do not have the tools they need to quickly and accurately identify issues with VoIP, application transactions, and other network performance issues. And how can network teams appease end users, solve problems quickly, and report if they're using swivel chair correlations to isolate issues?

A unified performance management approach implements an enterprise-wide solution that supports individuals in different roles but also provides a full view to see how all systems and teams work together.

3. Improve and optimize performance for deployment requirements without adding complexity and multiple platforms and interfaces

With a unified performance management strategy, IT organizations need flexibility and visibility for managing a wide range of application and deployment requirements. While many initiatives focus on a single implementation, there are many criteria that can be impacted. And, most organizations implement initiatives that overlap in both time and resources.

The unified performance management framework takes into account the needs and requirements for multiple application and deployment strategies. If a holistic framework is not followed, organizations tend to have difficulties when groups are only focused on their individual goals and don't have the visibility to understand the impact on other business-critical resources.

4. Increase the business value of IT

For many CIOs, one key concern is not only increasing the business value of IT, but also quantifying the positive impact. Many organizations consider IT a cost center and focus on how to reduce its expenses rather than seeing IT as a strategic asset that can add value.

A comprehensive unified performance management strategy allows an organization to focus on IT as a strategic asset and leveraging application and network performance across the entire enterprise. With a complete understanding of unified performance management, an enterprise can reduce the risk of downtime and degradation, reduce the cost of operations and troubleshooting, and optimize IT support staff.

Belinda Yung-Rubke is Director of Field Marketing - Americas for Fluke Networks Visual.

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