IT Challenged by Lack of Operational Visibility

By William Atkinson

If you are experiencing substantial problems with managing your IT operations, especially being able to view what is occurring in real-time, you are hardly alone, according to a new report by Evolven, a provider of IT operations analytics solutions.

Evolven’s 2013 IT Operations Quotient Report found that most IT operations are overwhelmed by the volume, velocity and variety of change and configuration data. And most of them lack insight or actionable information, making change and configuration problems a chronic challenge for IT departments. 

The IT operations report is based on surveys with more than 300 IT vice presidents, directors, managers and data center managers who attended the Gartner Data Center Conference in December, 2012 or the ServiceNow Knowledge13 conference in May, 2013.

The IT Operations Quotient used for the Evolven surveys is a metric for evaluating an organization’s operational ability to support existing business services and incoming business requirements.

The report’s most significant result is that IT operations performance, in the context of occurring changes, shows a startling lack of visibility into the IT environment. In fact, 84 percent of IT professionals said they want to significantly improve their IT operations management.

This statistic does not surprise Will Cappelli, a research vice president at Gartner. “As more and more customer business processes become digitized, enterprises are coming to realize how good, or bad, IT service quality impacts revenue and profitability,” he says. “IT operations management is, of course, the discipline that is charged with delivering and maintaining that quality.”

Only eight percent of the survey respondents said they can automatically validate that their release had deployed accurately. Also, only seven percent quickly knows what changed when an incident occurs. And only five percent of the respondents can quickly identify an incident’s root cause. Lastly, a mere five percent can automatically verify the consistency of their environments. 

Why do so many IT pros struggle with gaining and maintaining visibility into their operations? “IT systems have become increasingly complex, modular, distributed and dynamic,” says Cappelli. “Without the support of sophisticated analytics engines, it is becoming almost impossible to understand system topology, let alone how that system changes in response to changes in the environment and the actions of users.”

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