You can effectively manage disruption in the age of digital transformation

Digital transformation is upon us. How are you managing?

The impact of digital transformation on modern business can only be categorized as profound. It has changed the way we do business, the way we provide services and the manner in which we interact with our customers and end-users.

The transformation has made possible the delivery of new and innovative services in a manner that is entirely different from just upgrading or enhancing existing offerings. For starters, the service delivery infrastructure itself is new. It has evolved into a complex fabric woven from the cloud, high-compute and big data architectures, and advanced networking tableaus.

On top of this, new models of doing business have evolved, and exciting opportunities await the companies that can reap the benefits of this revolution.

Of course, along with the benefits come challenges. 

For example, IT services can now be delivered via applications made of small components and micro-services. These applications demand an accelerated deployment cycle with shorter increments between enhancements and more frequent delivery cycles.   As the customer interaction gets more experiential, issues in service availability get more visibility and directly affect business outcomes.

The Intersection of DevOps and ITOps

The very nature of infrastructure deployment has changed to accommodate these needs.  This has led to the growth of software-driven provisioning and orchestration systems to support rapid delivery, high service assurance models.  The interaction between DevOps and ITOps now has overlapping functions, including development, delivery and maintenance functions.

This transformation has completely disrupted the traditional approach to managing the IT infrastructure. New requirements and capabilities are now imposed on the IT Ops teams that are tasked with supporting these initiatives and figuring out how to get the most out of these emerging delivery paradigms.

Conventional ways of planning, building and running the infrastructure and services they deliver, have become outdated and out of vogue overnight.  By not keeping pace with the change, you can slow down the pace at which products and services are brought to market, adversely affecting business outcomes.

By implementing best practices in DevOps for ITOps, you can reduce complexity and improve outcomes, such as freeing up time to focus on innovation, improved agility and strengthened risk avoidance.  Today’s best DevOps processes remove the barriers between software development and IT operations by aligning technology with organizational and operational objectives. 

Your Service Assurance Strategy

To kick-start your DevOps for ITOps effort – and to ensure a high level of service availability to the customer that fulfills the delivery needs of the business – you need a comprehensive IT service assurance strategy.

The strategy must enhance operational effectiveness, efficiency and reliability to accelerate the operations management lifecycle. It must empower organizations to achieve operational stability and structure by enabling them to identify and triage a rapid reaction to potential and real-time impacts to service delivery.

The processes that support the strategy need to remove the barriers between software development and IT Operations teams and provide a sustained focus toward continuous operational tuning – even as new technologies are adopted and services are made available. 

As new services are rolled out, it is absolutely imperative to have a process that supports a consistent operational experience to the end user.  The tools that support the strategy are equally important.  A sound proactive and predictive service assurance platform that is tightly aligned to IT Operations delivers a faster time-to-value benefit to the customer’s business.

Your Weapons Against Disruption

To effectively manage disruption, capabilities and features matter. When it comes to service assurance platform it helps to have the following:

Full Stack Detection and Monitoring – It is critical to have the ability to identify, isolate and provide actionable insights to support teams in order to resolve IT problems rapidly. Full stack detection and monitoring makes this possible and provides end-to-end visibility and diagnostics across the spectrum of the delivery infrastructure. After all, you can’t fix what you can’t see.

Point monitoring solutions do a good job of focusing on specific areas but are myopic and ineffective when it comes to understanding the overall picture.  They also result in tool sprawl. A consolidated service assurance platform that reduces the number of monitoring tools brings about efficiencies of both scale and operation.

From a monitoring perspective, effective event management is necessary to avoid getting snowed by the tsunami of alerts in order to rapidly focus on the most material aspects of a problem.

Platforms that have advanced analytical capabilities can even help by getting ahead of a problem before it occurs. They can trigger actions even as service degradation occurs and proactively bring focus onto a problem before it results in an full-fledged service outage.

Business Service Intelligence – Rather than highlighting issues in the underlying infrastructure, business service monitoring enables IT Ops teams to prioritize and address issues quickly based on the impact to the business. It works by tying business services to the underlying infrastructure components. As issues are detected in the infrastructure, the impact can be ascertained in terms of performance and availability, providing real time situational awareness into the associated business services.

Streamlined Workflow Management – Service assurance platforms that have embedded assurance processes can provide optimization of change, incident and problem management workflows. They reduce the number of hand-offs and facilitate cross-functional efficiencies.

Automations can play a big role in reducing aspects of operations management by eliminating repeatable tasks. They can bring about other operational efficiencies, such as verifying and validating root causes before activating remediation. Coupled with knowledge bases and playbooks, automations can be used to provide remediation information and in some cases even execute them to improve reaction times.

Advanced Visualizations and Insights – Service assurance platforms have a wealth of information on the real time state and availability of the infrastructure.  Visualization capabilities including dashboards, reports and more advanced representations make it possible to take this information and provide a holistic view of system health. With the insights driven by business service monitoring, it is possible to share more relevant information with non-IT business stakeholders about the health of the services they provide and depend upon.

The digital transformation of modern business has disrupted the established service delivery model. Your job is now to keep pace and continue to manage the value generated, the productivity of your teams and, subsequently, the business outcomes.

With a comprehensive service assurance strategy that addresses the people, processes and tools used, you will be prepared to deliver a high level of service to the customer.

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