Opening the Gates to the Digital War Room - What is it Now, and What is it Likely to Become?
March 27, 2018

Dennis Drogseth
EMA

Share this

EMA has just completed research titled, Unifying IT for Digital War Room Performance. The research was partly inspired by current debates about the role of the "War Room" and how it is or is not evolving. Some seem lost in fantasy — "the war room will absolutely disappear." Whereas for others, basic incident handling is just emerging and having a more defined and effective war room team remains a hope for the distant future.

The Industry Debate

As with so much in our industry, a lot of this debate depends on meaning and definition — or in this case how you do or don't define "war room." War rooms are often defined as disastrous assemblages of finger-pointing adults caught up with siloed versions of "the truth" — all at least as interested in proving that their teams are not guilty, as they are in actually solving the problem at hand.

Our goal was to find out how teams are being formed and optimized to handle major incidents and problems that require cross-domain insights

However, for our research we took a much more open-ended approach. Our goal was to find out how teams are being formed and optimized to handle major incidents and problems that require cross-domain insights. This included, by the way, proactive cross-domain teams for managing issues before they become the IT equivalent of life-threatening. Our war rooms could be either physical or virtual. Highly automated or not. Made up of consistent, well-defined teams, or not. But what made them war rooms was the need for collaborative decision making across silos, and the need for urgency in taking effective action.

War Room Processes

Throughout the research, EMA examined the most critical processes logically relevant to war room performance. These included:

Initial awareness — alerting the relevant stakeholders that something is, or about to be, a problem

Response team engagement — making sure relevant stakeholders have an informed context for working together to resolve the problem

Triage and diagnostics — finding out what's really wrong in clear service-impact context

Remediation — actually fixing problem, ideally with inbuilt levels of automation to support the fix

Validation — ensuring that the "fix" really is a fix

Ideally, also, a history has been kept so that IT can move to prevent the problem in the future, or at least bring it to ever speedier resolution. We asked respondents about this in the context of auditing war room performance.

The War Room's Multiple Dimensions

We also looked at cloud to see if public and private cloud initiatives were making things easier or harder in the war room and why. (What we saw is a little bit of both.)

And then there's DevOps and agile. One of the industry hallucinations seems to be that DevOps and agile are making the war room disappear. What we found is just the opposite in the vast majority of cases (well over 80%). We looked, as well, at how development is working as an integrated part of the digital war room phenomenon, and the impact of in-house applications on war room processes.

And then of course there's security. Or maybe security should come first. In fact, security incident and event management (SIEM) was right at the top of digital war room technology priorities along with advanced IT analytics. The growing need to handshake between operations, security and ITSM teams in the digital war room was evident throughout our data.

Looking at all of the above, you might say that incidents and problems are increasingly non-denominational in how they occur. In other words, digital war rooms are no longer (if they ever were) just about operations in a vacuum.

Technologies, Metrics and Success

As mentioned above, analytics and security were the big winners when we looked at digital war room technology priorities. In fact, the top-ranking five were:

1. Advanced IT analytics or AIOps

2. SIEM

3. Security threat intelligence analysis

4. Endpoint instrumentation and analytics

5. IT process automation

The top two technical metrics were performance latencies and end user experience management.

And the top three obstacles to digital war room success were security-related issues, inconsistent data, and data fragmentation.

In Summary

Overall, we saw that the digital war room is becoming more not less important, growing in size, becoming more proactive and fundamentally more strategic.

To get a lot more insight, please watch my on-demand EMA webinar.

Read my next blog, Organization and Process (Or Lack Thereof) in the Digital War Room

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
Share this

The Latest

January 17, 2019

APMdigest invited industry experts to predict how Cloud will evolve and impact application performance and business in 2019. Part 3, the final installment, covers monitoring and managing application performance in the Cloud ...

January 16, 2019

APMdigest invited industry experts to predict how Cloud will evolve and impact application performance and business in 2019. Part 2 covers multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, serverless and more ...

January 15, 2019

As a continuation of the list of 2019 predictions, APMdigest invited industry experts to predict how Cloud will evolve and impact application performance and business in 2019 ...

January 14, 2019

APMdigest invited industry experts to predict how Network Performance Management (NPM) and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2019 ...

January 11, 2019

I would like to highlight some of the predictions made at the start of 2018, and how those have panned out, or not actually occurred. I will review some of the predictions and trends from APMdigest's 2018 APM Predictions. Here is Part 2 ...

January 10, 2019

I would like to highlight some of the predictions made at the start of 2018, and how those have panned out, or not actually occurred. I will review some of the predictions and trends from APMdigest's 2018 APM Predictions ...

January 09, 2019

I sat down with Stephen Elliot, VP of Management Software and DevOps at IDC, to discuss where the market is headed, how legacy vendors will need to adapt, and how customers can get ahead of these trends to gain a competitive advantage. Part 2 of the interview ...

January 08, 2019

Monitoring and observability requirements are continuing to adapt to the rapid advances in public cloud, containers, serverless, microservices, and DevOps and CI/CD practices. As new technology and development processes become mainstream, enterprise adoption begins to increase, bringing its own set of security, scalability, and manageability needs. I sat down with Stephen Elliot, VP of Management Software and DevOps at IDC, to discuss where the market is headed, how legacy vendors will need to adapt, and how customers can get ahead of these trends to gain a competitive advantage ...

December 20, 2018

APMdigest invited industry experts to predict how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2019. Part 6 covers the Internet of Things (IoT) ...

December 19, 2018

APMdigest invited industry experts to predict how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2019. Part 5 covers the evolution of ITOA and its impact on the IT team ...