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

June 25, 2020

I've had the opportunity to work with a number of organizations embarking on their AIOps journey. I always advise them to start by evaluating their needs and the possibilities AIOps can bring to them through five different levels of AIOps maturity. This is a strategic approach that allows enterprises to achieve complete automation for long-term success ...

June 24, 2020

Sumo Logic recently commissioned an independent market research study to understand the industry momentum behind continuous intelligence — and the necessity for digital organizations to embrace a cloud-native, real-time continuous intelligence platform to support the speed and agility of business for faster decision-making, optimizing security, driving new innovation and delivering world-class customer experiences. Some of the key findings include ...

June 23, 2020

When it comes to viruses, it's typically those of the computer/digital variety that IT is concerned about. But with the ongoing pandemic, IT operations teams are on the hook to maintain business functions in the midst of rapid and massive change. One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the shift to remote work at scale. Ensuring that they can continue to provide products and services — and satisfy their customers — against this backdrop is challenging for many ...

June 22, 2020

Teams tasked with developing and delivering software are under pressure to balance the business imperative for speed with high customer expectations for quality. In the course of trying to achieve this balance, engineering organizations rely on a variety of tools, techniques and processes. The 2020 State of Software Quality report provides a snapshot of the key challenges organizations encounter when it comes to delivering quality software at speed, as well as how they are approaching these hurdles. This blog introduces its key findings ...

June 18, 2020

For IT teams, run-the-business, commodity areas such as employee help desks, device support and communication platforms are regularly placed in the crosshairs for cost takeout, but these areas are also highly visible to employees. Organizations can improve employee satisfaction and business performance by building unified functions that are measured by employee experience rather than price. This approach will ultimately fund transformation, as well as increase productivity and innovation ...

June 17, 2020

In the agile DevOps framework, there is a vital piece missing; something that previous approaches to application development did well, but has since fallen by the wayside. That is, the post-delivery portion of the toolchain. Without continuous cloud optimization, the CI/CD toolchain still produces massive inefficiencies and overspend ...

June 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially accelerated digital transformation projects. To better understand where IT professionals are turning for help, we analyzed the online behaviors of IT decision-makers. Our research found an increase in demand for resources related to APM, microservices and dependence on cloud services ...

June 15, 2020

The rush to the public cloud has now slowed as organizations realized that it is not a "one size fits all" solution. The main issue is the lack of deep visibility into the performance of applications provided by the host. Our own research has recently revealed that 32% of public cloud resources are currently under-utilized, and without proper direction and guidance, this will remain the case ...

June 11, 2020

The global shift to working from home (WFH) enforced by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders has had a massive impact on everyone's working lives, not just in the way they remotely interact with their teams and IT systems, but also in how they spend their working days. With both governments and businesses committed to slowly opening up offices, it's increasingly clear that a high prevalence of remote work will continue throughout 2020 and beyond. This situation begets important questions ...

June 10, 2020
In recent years, with the emergence of newer technologies ranging from the cloud to machine learning, IT modernization has evolved from a replacement of end-of-life infrastructure to an enabler of innovation and business value. It is a complex process that can take months or even years, but a recent survey shows that the effort begins to deliver measurable results almost as soon as an organization executes the first steps on its roadmap ...