App-Huggers: Thanks to Hybrid IT, Proactivity is Actually Getting Harder
How are you dealing with the reactive, crisis-driven realities of “Hybrid IT”?
September 05, 2014

Kevin McCartney

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Does anyone really live in the beautifully homogenous, net and glossy modern cloud-based world depicted by analysts and marketers? You know — that wonderful “seamless, cloud-based” enterprise that promises to alleviate the myriad operational challenges of “old IT”? The answer, based on the CIOs I meet with, is absolutely “no.”

In fact, the “hybrid” IT environment of legacy plus cloud plus custom is a pretty chaotic mash-up that is tough to manage, to say the least. One of the most difficult aspects, according to anecdotal evidence uncovered in our discussions with senior IT executives, is proactive visibility and control at the application level.

Despite investments in tools and processes that are supposed to enable proactive and preventative support, senior IT executives say their day-to-day mode still tends to be crisis-driven and reactive. Additional layers of anecdotal or incidental feedback as well as “optical” or subjective input contribute to the reactivity.

Here are some actual soundbites from CIOs and other senior IT executives we’ve interviewed recently:

“It’s more complicated now; there are more layers. First it was just desktop, then server, and then shared resources, now all these layers. The customer is saying ‘what’s going on?’ No one knew what was going on. As a customer it’s very scary.”

“The trend is that everyone is marching toward a virtual environment when pieces of an app may run on public cloud, data center and private cloud. They all need to be tied together and management will be a nightmare without the right tool.”

“Applications were failing and nobody knew. When they did know, 20 people sat in a room passing the buck pointing fingers. Just everyone looking at their own bit and saying ‘it looks OK to me.’”

“The project leader is screaming, ‘we need this back up.’ Lots of frustration.”

“Even when the immediate issue gets resolved, we fear repeat because we didn’t know what happened. So the underlying issues weren’t fixed. We sometimes live in perpetual fear that it might happen again tomorrow.”

“We send and receive lots of email and go to lots of meetings. You’d think by having quarterly reviews with business owners you’d know the hot buttons -- but you’d be wrong. It’s the crisis du jour and how that impacts the technology plans.”

“In our business there are still too many ambulance drivers and not enough people investing in a plan.”

“The part we still struggle with is anecdotal. How do we capture this information and make it actionable? We have 5,000 transactions a month and 1 or 2 each month are negative. Unfortunately those are what you hear about in staff meetings.”

We are seeing the need for a new generation of application management tools that go far beyond the piece parts of the application — servers, network, databases and operating systems — to provide visibility and control at the application-level. As a result, IT departments see the application as a single entity — no matter what the application and whether it resides on your data center, your SaaS provider’s, in the cloud — or all three.

Since these new tools are designed for the real-world “Hybrid IT” environments, they will reduce the amount of reactivity that IT departments experience today.

Question: How are you dealing with the reactive, crisis-driven realities of “Hybrid IT”? What strategies are you using to create a “path to proactivity”?

Kevin McCartney is CEO of Jumpsoft
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