By Jeff Cherrington on Jan 18, 2019

Enterprises today operate on complicated infrastructures. As complex IT ecosystems have become the norm due to mergers and acquisitions, constantly evolving technology and regulatory environments, critical value streams invariably span technology stacks. These IT stacks create disjointed technology siloes that make it difficult for enterprises to optimize end-to-end value streams.

For many enterprises, the need to focus on the value streams themselves, regardless of the underlying siloes, has led to inadequate visibility into those platforms, unnecessarily high IT costs and potential compliance issues. Though organizations realize they need increased visibility and control of their value streams, they struggle with orchestrating and monitoring the performance of those streams spread across mainframe, servers, the public cloud and back again.

Managing Distributed Processes

IT siloes can be created in any number of ways, from inefficient internal processes, to mergers and acquisitions, to shifts in IT philosophies and policies as C-level executives come and go. But while almost every enterprise suffers from the necessary degree of IT siloing, how they manage the gaps created by those siloes can vary widely, and the consequences for managing value streams across the siloes poorly can be severe.

Enterprises have a compelling need for increased visibility and control into their business processes, regardless of which — or how many — platform-centric technology stacks support them. The explosive evolution of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), whether traditionally- or cloud-hosted, has introduced new challenges in obtaining the necessary visibility and control into those services, making management of end-to-end business processes — value streams — harder. 

Enterprises that continue to segregate the management of mainframe services that support core aspects of critical value streams are undoubtedly missing opportunities to improve those end-to-end processes — something any enterprise should refuse to accept when the penalties for failing to meet the service levels that have been committed to customers can cost millions.

The Impact of Low Visibility

As markets consolidate — banking and finance, for example — the very large players in those industries wield an extraordinary negotiating advantage with their IT suppliers. So much so, that IT service providers risk significant financial penalties if a service level, like online response time or batch update completion time of day, falls outside committed thresholds.

The processes supporting these services inevitably span IT platforms, and failing to have a single, consistent view of performance, capacity utilization and potential bottlenecks that degrade execution is a recipe for disaster. When an enterprise’s business model is selling directly to consumers, effects of poor execution are plain, immediate and painful. 

Outages or slow response times during online shopping experiences have known, well-documented impacts — delays of even one second in response time, regardless of the IT platform at the root cause, directly impact volume of sales and the attrition of customers. In the enterprise — especially in highly regulated industries — the consequences can be even more dire, including significant fines for mismanaging the services delivered and loss of longstanding accounts.

Streamlining and Adjusting Processes

In order to break down these information management barriers, cross-technology stack orchestration and performance management is key. Without timely usage information — current, past or projected — IT managers have no insight into organizational needs.

By leveraging proactive analysis tools for high-visibility monitoring and capacity planning, IT managers can improve reliability and productivity in their IT environment. This result can only be achieved with a solution that allows for IT utilization competency of automated analysis, reporting, modeling and, of course, capacity planning across technology stacks. With this information, IT managers can make informed decisions about how they can most effectively leverage their resources and understand where there are opportunities for them to improve the way they are using their current systems. It also enables better planning for peak loads, helps organizations recognize if they are paying for unneeded capacity and cut costs, and makes it easier for them to better understand their scalability needs.

Armed with this information, organizations can maintain productivity and deliver visibility for IT throughout their business, empowering them to forecast the impact of business growth across IT platforms and set realistic expectations for the business. 

About the Author

Jeff Cherrington is VP, Product Management and Systems at ASG Technologieswhere he drives product strategy, product requirements, go-to-market and new product introduction. He has extensive experience providing data processing and packaged software to payments, banking, finance and other verticals.

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