Today’s Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders have a challenging path ahead of them. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) which have been committed to the user community must be not only met, but measured, validated and communicated across the enterprise. Geographic expansion, M&A, and other key business initiatives must be factored into I&O decisions. Vendor and product selection, management, migration and right-sizing create a ceaseless treadmill of activity. Compounding the typical workload, leaders also need to navigate the non-stop flow of cutting-edge trends that must be considered – how will Artificial Intelligence affect my sector? IoT? Virtual Reality? Digital Twins? How about Cognitive Computing? Amidst this entanglement of competing agendas and pressures, I&O stewards must find ways to elevate themselves and their operation via streamlining and optimization efforts.
The Truth About Silos
Consider silos – those computing environments that are directed towards a very specific function or environment and work right alongside other silos that are performing similar tasks. Silos tend to evolve over time as a form of entropy. How? Think about that business unit that got folded-in or acquired and used their own suite of tools. Or think about smaller departmental groups who insisted on more specific tools for their non-standard needs. Another common scenario: The team that built homegrown open-source suites and refuses to let them go.
Sometimes silos do make sense – there might be very specific individual business unit requirements that drive the need. However, that case is more the exception than the rule. From non-shared data, multiple points of administration, and dissimilar operation, in most cases, silo-specific tools introduce unnecessary redundancy and waste.
As an alternative, consider tool-suites that are integrated. In exchange for potentially losing a minuscule amount of highly-specific functionality, your team saves time not having to redundantly manage data and processes across disparate platforms. Integrated, non-silo product suites make a huge impact in terms of reducing overhead and introducing an overall streamlining effect to your I&O team.
Blind spots are areas of the I&O environment where staff has no visibility. This lack of insight will inevitably lead to last-minute fire drills and unnecessary surprises. We’ve all witnessed scenarios where IT production levels seemed to be running at optimal levels. However, in reality, latent problems had been forming for months. The situation suddenly degraded to the point of
imminent failure and your team has no advanced warning. The method of discovery? Angry users. Not a great situation to facilitate your optimization efforts.
The solution is adopting a proactive approach to service delivery. Assemble the right stakeholders, identify possible blind spots, and build automated tools and processes to simulate and evaluate performance. Run persistent synthetic checks on all aspects of I&O to isolate bottlenecks and congestion. Set up a protocol to routinely run spot-checks to help ensure that you’re ready and in a proactive mode.
The pressures of running an I&O organization needn’t be daunting. By finding areas to optimize and simplify you can reclaim time, effort, and resources and make the task more manageable.