How IT Departments Can Become True Business Partners

Big data and analytics are becoming an essential part of the proper management of IT systems and infrastructure.

For IT managers, data analytics are essential in helping to make the right business decisions and master an increasingly varied and complex IT environment. IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) will provide CIOs and IT managers with important operational and business data in real time. An analysis of this data can equip IT operations teams with a full and clear insight into the performance of the company’s IT infrastructure and, as a result, help to improve security and allow them to make more sound business decisions. 

Leveraging IT analytics transforms IT from a cost center to a true business partner. Below are just three examples of how ITOA technologies solve the key business challenges faced by CIOs today.

Securing Sensitive Information

News headlines remind us every day that large and renowned companies are constantly being compromised by external hackers or insiders. What is even more worrying is that companies do not realize they have been the victim of a hack until company information ends up on the internet or in the hands of a competitor. Whereas previously attacks were executed to prove a point, today such situations lead to major financial, reputational and legal impacts that are costly to recover from.

If we analyze these situations we find two common aspects. Firstly, these companies are finding out too late that they have been compromised, sometimes months after the first intrusion. And secondly, the first intrusion can always be related back to end-users. In response to these external intrusions and internal threats, it is clear that there is a lack of visibility and insufficient means to anticipate security breaches within an organization.

What is even more worrying is that this lack of visibility coincides with a time when attacks are becoming more targeted and more sophisticated, where the methods of inserting malicious code can change very quickly. As a result, traditional detection methods which rely on detecting a threat’s signature become less effective. This is where a big data approach proves its value to the CIO. By focusing on patterns of suspicious behaviour and understanding the context of the activity in question, IT teams will have better visibility and can detect and deflect an intrusion much more quickly. By doing so, they will be more likely to avoid complex, dramatic and expensive situations.

Company Acquisitions and Merging Disparate IT Systems

IT analytics enable the automation of application discovery. Not only do they list installed applications but they also provide a full context of application use by groups of end-users based on location, department and job role. IT analytics help discover relationships and dependencies on the infrastructure from servers and communication ports, for example, as well as providing a qualitative and quantitative context. From this, businesses can analyze the volume of traffic, duration and the number of connections at any given time and subsequently make intelligent business decisions based on these metrics.

Analytical data can also offer a more methodical way of successfully planning and executing IT projects, verifying required budgets and assessing whether deadlines have been met in order to ensure a positive impact on end-users, the business and the IT team. Traditional methods of measuring the success of a project can be tedious and consist of manual processes that can often lead to inaccurate results. For example, user questionnaires can lead to an overlap of existing information, fragmented data, not always accurate and never as complete as that generated by an automatic discovery solution leveraging big data and analytics.

Migration of a Major Business Application

Having the end-user perspective before, during and after any migration is crucial. IT departments need to understand the context of where and how applications connect and ensure that these connections will still be maintained with the new version.

The IT department must also ensure that all workstations are ready to support the new version and any configurations such as patches and other OS updates, disk space, and health status.

Lastly, ITOA proves to be valuable when it comes to end-user adoption of new versions of business applications. By being able to show end-users a before/after comparison of indicators such as the number of crashes and freezes and thus reflect the quality improvement with the new release, IT departments will be able to convincingly inform end-users how the new version is better for them.

Planning, analysis and demonstrating success of any migration is subjective without ITOA.

ITOA technology can provide valuable and accurate insight in real time, share information quickly within both the IT department and the business itself, and ensure the security of business transactions. In today’s environment of agile, fast and intelligent technologies, ITOA is a necessity and an integral part of any company’s success.


About the Author

Poul Nielsen is director of strategy at Nexthink. He has over 20 years of executive management experience at TriActive, Altiris, Computing Edge, Computer Associates, and Digital.  


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