10 September 2015 blogs Dennis O’Reilly 4 min read
When a small system problem starts looking like a not-so-small problem, the question becomes, “Who’s going to tell the boss?”
These days, there’s a good chance the boss already knows about it. She may be getting her own service-status updates, customized just for her.
For some reason, few line managers feel comfortable delivering bad news to senior managers. This often results in a problem’s scope and potential damage being understated in reports to upper management, or the glitch may not be mentioned at all. Exhibit A is the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov in September 2013. As Mark Keil et al. explains in the Spring 2014 MIT Sloan Management Review, just weeks before the site’s debut, officials told Congress that all systems were go.
What the officials failed to clarify was that the systems were go…ing straight down the tubes.
You can’t blame senior managers for wanting to skip the middle person and check the status of their company’s vital services themselves. The first of the five inconvenient truths identified by the authors of the MIT Sloan reports is that executives can’t count on their staff to give them an accurate assessment of the status of the projects they’re working on. Workers want to be perceived as competent, and they believe any bad news they deliver will reflect poorly on them personally.
The researchers recommend that senior managers follow President Reagan’s advice when dealing with the old Soviet Union: “Trust, but verify.” When it comes to technology projects, the catch for many executives is that they rarely have direct access to the systems that are monitoring the company’s crucial services. Also, they often lack the technical chops of the people on their staff, so they need an intermediary to translate the system’s own logs and other status info.
Do-it-yourself service monitoring is on the rise
A one-word description of today’s corporate networks is “inchoate.” Where does the network end? You could argue that it ends at the mobile devices more and more people rely on for access to the data they need in their work. But with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), those devices are receiving information from a bevy of sensors and various other sources.
Just as uncertain is where the network begins. In-house data operations are being complemented, supplemented, and at times outright replaced by a mish-mash of private clouds, public clouds, and hybrid clouds. A result of these nebulous networks is a shift in the roles of IT pros and their clients and customers. To paraphrase a well-known adage, data centers no longer provide their users with fish, they now teach the users how to catch their own fish.
That’s where solutions such as Savision’s Live Maps for Microsoft System Center play a vital role. Not only does Live Maps ensure that the services critical to your business are running at peak performance, the service’s intuitive visual interface allows IT staff and business managers to speak the same language. Via the Service Creation wizard, Live Maps provides managers with a clear picture of the dependencies between key business services and the IT infrastructure and applications on which the services are based.
More importantly, the Service Dashboard shows at a glance the status of your company’s critical services from three perspectives: end users, infrastructure, and applications. In just seconds a business manager can determine the root cause of a system problem, its impact, and the team assigned to effect repairs. All this power is available on your mobile devices via Live Maps’ unlimited, lightweight HTML5 System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) dashboards.
The walls that for decades have separated data-center staff from business departments are finally coming down. Services such as Live Maps are the key to truly making IT a part of business, and business a part of IT.