Digital Intelligence - Why Traditional APM Tools Aren't Sufficient
August 27, 2018

Larry Dragich
Technology Executive

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The need for an improved end-user-experience starts with Digital Intelligence. That means IT Leaders need to understand and make decisions on what is happening within the ecosystem they support.

Digital Intelligence is the ability to perceive information, (i.e. from monitoring tools) and retain it as knowledge (aka. Big Data) to be applied towards adaptive behaviors (i.e. Machine Learning and/or AI) within the environment (e.g. Prod, Dev, etc.).

Although, using disparate monitoring tools to aggregate application and infrastructure metrics for a correlated end-to-end view can be difficult to manage.

Collecting the alerts and events from multiple tool sets creates a lot of noise for the support staff who then need to make decisions and create some type of repeatable processes for their teams to follow.

These processes can become convoluted and outdated quickly. For Example:

I can recall a time when I was leading a new team and we were all in an intense post mortem meeting looking for root cause from a major event that recently occurred.

While reviewing the IT processes that were in place for all the support teams, it came down to a critical process that we thought was missing. That's when one of my peers spoke up and said with conviction, "We already have a process in place for that!"

"…it's FULLY documented, THOROUGHLY understood, and UNIVERSALLY ignored!"

His witty delivery brought levity to the room, and everyone was able to take a deep breath and relax.

If no one is following a critical IT Process, then maybe it's time for a change

Although, when you think about it on a more serious note it does ring true. If no one is following a critical IT Process, then maybe it's time for a change. The process needs to make sense to the team and become something they can benefit from. The same goes for tool adoption.

Today most savvy IT Leaders are striving to partner with the business and attain complete visibility with the critical business applications they support. At a high level they are looking to collect Digital Intelligence about their business applications and the infrastructure it runs on, whether it's in the cloud or on-prem.

However, meaningful metrics can be difficult to obtain without a specific focus on business impact (transactions) and a concise way to collect them. Since the IT processes wrapped around those metrics are just as critical as the technology itself, it's imperative to have a strategy and communicate it frequently.

Digital Intelligence comes from assimilating multiple Application and Infrastructure events into a cross-domain layer designed for proactive rather than reactive IT Management and Planning. It is also about crafting simple and clean IT support processes with predictable outcomes.

When done correctly with the right tool selection and process development, an Enterprise Monitoring solution using Digital Intelligence can become a communication conduit for supporting the Business, Development and Operations.

Although, keep in mind despite what the most advanced technologies can provide, the best processes in place are the ones that are easy to follow and embraced by the teams that need them, not the ones UNIVERSALLY ignored!

Larry Dragich is a Technology Executive and Founder of the APM Strategies Group on LinkedIn
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