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Run IT as a Bakery?


In preparation for 2 upcoming presentations at the biggest HP events of the year, I figured why not prep myself with a blog post to get the mind thinking. Yes the title of this Blog does sound a little bizarre, however in the last few months of working with various customers,  I really believe IT professionals who manage critical IT environments need to simplify the approach used to manage their expensive and critical IT infrastructure components. What better way to relate to a simple business model to put things into perspective. I googled “Run IT as a Business” and came back with 156 000 results. I can safely say, this is the one single phrase I have heard the most in the last 5 years.  So how do we do run IT as a business?

During the last few years, I have worked with several customers who insist on referring to managing their IT assets as “monitoring”. This has become one of my biggest pet peeves.  Monitoring your infrastructure and Managing your infrastructure are two completely different things. Allow me to explain. My family owned a bakery when I was younger.  Respectfully, a bakery is a simple business.  The same fundamental principles of business should apply to manage your IT infrastructure.  Still today I come across organizations that have a difficult time implementing the fundamental principles of business to IT.  In all my years, I have yet to hear a business owner say they need to better “monitor” their business, rather than better “manage” their business.

Let’s think of a Bakery and how “monitoring” and “managing” can make a world of difference.

Cash float

Monitoring – Beginning your day with $100 in your float and ending the day with $60 and not doing anything about it.

vs

Managing – Beginning your day with $100 in your float and ending the day with $60 and speaking with your employees to find uncover where the mistake took place and who is accountable for it.

Hourly bread production

Monitoring – Baking 50 loaves of bread between 5am & 6am and baking 40 loaves between 6am & 7am

vs

Managing – Ensuring 50 loaves of bread are baked hourly on a consistent basis, while supporting our employees to continue their output all the while ensuring the ovens are working as they should

Oven maintenance

Monitoring – Calling a repair man when the oven breaks down

vs

Managing – Keeping an up to date maintenance program in place ensuring optimal oven output

Employee schedules

Monitoring – Employee arriving at 6:30am instead of 5am cutting into production output

vs

Managing – Firing employee who impedes with the Bakery’s production output

Enterprise Management means you are taking a serious and proactive approach to managing what matters to you most. Your business… Organizations are spending thousands, if not millions of dollars to improve their IT infrastructure to ensure they are meeting their customer needs, while achieving the highest level of operational efficiency. Managing your technology, people and processes will ensure optimal IT efficiency and productivity for the ever growing complex IT environments we architect and implement.

Now let’s apply the Bakery technique to manage your IT

End user experience degradation

Monitoring – Help Desk gets a call from the user indicating their web based application is slow

vs

Management – Performing routine load testing and mimicking an end user transaction on a consistent basis to measure response time and track any alerts which pertain to the underlying infrastructure components which support this web based service.

Server & technology sprawl causing lost dollars to underutilized resources

Monitoring – Monitor SAN Space Usage and configure an alert when space used exceeds 80%.

vs

Management – Execute a routine weekly to discovery & inventory underutilized IT resources and implement a process to reclaim the expensive resources.

Notify your Subject Matter Experts when equipment or technology fails at 3am. IE: SNMP trap sent because a monitored service is no longer running

Monitoring – Have your NOC operators flip through a Run Book for instructions on who to call out at 3 am

vs

Management – Configure an automatic action to restart the service without any human intervention. If successful, have an email sent as an annotation documenting the issue which occured for tracking purposes. Only escalate the event to the NOC if the remediation action was unsuccessful. This method would reduce your Mean Time To Repair and also cut down on expensive overtime hours employees bill to their employers.

Summary: The above examples are few scenarios where Enterprise Management can be beneficial. The next time you are thinking of implementing a new technology, software or hardware, physical or virtual, please remember this expensive IT asset needs to be managed since it is an integral part of your business. There is small investment required to manage your assets and the ROI associated is easy to demonstrate.  Managing  your enterprise instead of monitoring it, will make your business a more profitable organization.

Thank you.

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