22 Nov Quick Guide: Establishing Visibility into IT Systems to Drive Business Value
We recently discussed how transparency into relationships with managed services providers can pay dividends for businesses. Similarly, deepening insights into every detail of IT operations can fuel value creation.
IT transparency and value creation are closely linked as having a clear understanding of the nuances of how IT systems operate can empower business and technology leaders to ensure investments deliver returns. The problem is that many IT departments are functionally siloed, with different groups working on components of projects in isolation and not necessarily coming together to collaborate. Furthermore, infrastructure complexity has created an operational climate in which getting a clear view of how different systems rely on one another is incredibly difficult. These factors create barriers to IT visibility, but you can break down these walls.
Following these five steps can help you effectively build and take advantage of transparency within your IT systems:
“IT transparency and value creation are closely linked.”
1. Implement robust IT service management tools
Modern ITSM solutions drive operational and technological visibility in diverse ways. Configuration management databases offer full, relational tracking of every item in the configuration – ranging from the most sensitive servers and storage machines out to company-owned workstations and personal mobile devices that users leverage to get the job done. A CMDB doesn’t just list what systems are in your configuration, it also shows how they relate to one another. This lets you see how any changes may impact the entirety of your infrastructure and get a true top-down view of the configuration.
A CMDB is just one ITSM tool that can help you gain IT transparency. Service management solutions that automatically document processes as they are completed, track incident requests and gather data pertaining to IT operations and deliver it to end-user dashboards can also create visibility. ITSM excellence fuels value creation by helping you see precisely how your systems and processes interact on a day-to-day basis.
2. Develop cross-disciplinary teams
Keeping engineering, development, testing and operations teams all segregated into separate units can create a situation in which these isolated groups create new challenges for the others. For example, code that isn’t well optimized for the production environment can cause more challenges for the operations team. Alternately, having development and operations workers collaborating on the design of apps and solutions creates transparency between the two teams. From there, the knowledge of these diverse IT workers comes together to smooth any rough edges in solutions and drive efficiency.
This functionality can extend out to engineering and operations teams and even between IT and corporate users, as getting enterprise employees involved in IT projects can help tech leaders ensure the solution aligns with business needs.
3. Establish robust communications systems
Custom communications technologies can pay dividends when trying to create IT transparency. Breaking down operational silos is necessary if you want to create transparency. Isolated departments and teams will operate without providing clear visibility to the rest of the organization. If you want to eliminate this isolation, you must establish communications capabilities that allow different teams to collaborate effectively and interact in natural, intuitive ways.
“Breaking down operational silos is necessary if you want to create transparency.”
4. Automate documentation and reporting
We already touched on various tracking and documentation capabilities within an ITSM context, but the value of such functions makes them worth mentioning on their own. Documentation is critical when it comes to gaining transparency into IT systems. Records of different procedures that have been completed, when they were handled and who completed them is just the beginning of this transparency. Proper documentation can create indisputable audit trails that support regulatory efforts and provide key performance metrics pertaining to apps, services and systems. This information allows organizations to effectively track how IT systems are contributing to value creation.
5. Integrate data across disparate systems
Silos don’t just exist in operational layers. Many organizations keep different types of data separate from one another, making it difficult to effectively integrate operations across organizational boundaries. Being able to move data created in different parts of your business to diverse user groups can fuel significant efficiency gains. For example, an ecommerce company can gather customer conversations taking place on social media and deliver that data to marketing teams to inform their decision-making. That same data can go to customer service users so they can reach out to disgruntled customers to solve their problems or identify happy clients for testimonials.
Identifying value potential through IT transparency
Delivering a return on investment is increasingly important within IT departments. Many businesses lack the tools and capabilities they need to identify precisely how their technologies are creating value. Managed services providers can empower organizations to get a clear view of their configuration and implement the tools needed to sustain transparency across operations and processes. From there, businesses can get a clear picture of how technology impacts their operations and generates ROI.