What it means to be pre-active about performance monitoring
The primary aim of digital transformation -- a phrase that lacks a clear definition, but encompasses swapping out legacy tech for the latest cloud apps -- is to streamline processes across the enterprise. There’s the promise of faster solutions, more connectivity between remote offices, and the ability for business to scale up with ease (and at minimal cost). Done successfully, digital transformation should make life easier for all stakeholders.
In theory, this should be especially true for IT. After all, with apps moving to the cloud, teams no longer need to maintain massive private data centers, and can instead embrace software-defined networking (SD-WAN), retiring expensive MPLS connectivity in the process.
In practice, however, IT has to reckon with losing “ownership” of their enterprise applications to SaaS vendors. This certainly streamlines the physical makeup of the network, but it puts blinders on IT when it comes to assuring application performance for the end user. More and more of the network path that lies between users and apps is outside of IT’s control.
This is all Greek to workers outside of IT, who usually only have a passing understanding of digital transformation. But when user experience on enterprise apps goes south, workers still point to IT for a resolution, and lose patience when they can’t get clear answers. Complaints about slow WiFi or an app being down obfuscate the complexity that goes into the data transfer and infrastructure required for modern business.
Without visibility across the network, IT can only be reactive. Helpdesk tickets pile up and dealing with the deluge sucks up all the time IT was supposed to gain by moving applications into the cloud. All said, IT budgets and business agility may benefit from the jump to SaaS tools, but IT risks gaining a bad reputation across the organization if they can’t see into, and ultimately fix, the root cause of performance issues.
Fortunately, teams can leverage solutions that take off those cloud blinders, allowing them to be pre-active instead of reactive.
Proactive vs. Pre-active
To be truly proactive, IT would need to be able to predict issues across the entire network path. AIOps is just scratching the surface here, and truly proactive monitoring in the asynchronous, self-healing world of the open internet is just not feasible today.
Instead, our customers seek to be pre-active. A pre-active mentality hinges on having visibility into environments where IT might not have control so that they can establish baselines of performance and identify when network paths deviate from the norm.
Put simply, when IT can see into the cloud environments that they might not own or control outright, they can suss out potential issues before they make their way down to the end user. This may seem impossible in an enterprise world dependent on SaaS, but it comes down to empowering teams with the insights they need to have the answers to identify a root cause and respond to end users with meaningful answers.
Getting to pre-active is essential for a number of reasons. Naturally, if an issue is thwarted before it affects others on the team, complaints won’t pile up and IT won’t fall into a “tech ticket” quagmire. But this will also give IT the information they need to explain root cause more clearly to users, ensuring they can backup their actions, claims and potential downtime to users and decision makers.
For instance, with adequate visibility into the different hops or touchpoints across network connections, IT can clear up potential instances of finger-pointing in the wrong direction on the part of end users. If a DNS server is configured poorly, for instance, which is causing delays in outbound requests to the internet, IT can explain to users who simply want to place blame on the application that it’s actually a network issue -- and that IT had the pre-active foresight to address the problem accordingly.
Gaining this visibility requires more than just a standard performance monitoring solution, or a combination of app and network tools that individually can’t see into environments not “owned” by IT.