Jun 1 ’11
Aligning Business & IT: Making the Connection Between Business & IT
A business provides value by meeting the needs of its customers. To deliver better service to customers, both the business and the IT department must understand the impact of any problems that occur with technology components or applications. When an application or technology component experiences a performance issue or a failure, how does the business or the IT department know exactly what business process or business transaction was affected and what impact it had on the business?
When your business and IT department are truly integrated, you can maximize the value of the information technology, which, in turn, advances the business. However, when business, application, and technical operations use silos of information, the result is unknown cause-and-effect relationships. Monitoring your applications and technology components holistically will help you understand how everything works together and its impact on business operations.
The value of a transaction lies in its contents; for example, an individual customer order contains information about who is ordering what item, and this data is used to fulfill the order and update inventory. Technology components process each transaction and send it on its way to a downstream activity. The latency of the transaction, or the time it takes the technology component to do this work, is an important measure of performance. The transaction location within the IT infrastructure provides the location of potential performance problems. To effectively solve problems and make decisions, you need to know the transaction value and latency, and you need to be able to pinpoint the location of the transactions. However, you also need to have a layer of intelligence that synchronizes all this disparate data into useful information.
Demand for better information has led to the development of monitoring frameworks for transforming data and delivering synchronized information to the individual business and IT stakeholders who are making business, application, and technical decisions. A cohesive framework that correlates and consolidates related information about a transaction provides valuable information much faster than typical, independent business intelligence or technology monitoring systems.
Having the information you need, when you need it, is critical. Without a cohesive monitoring framework, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to understand complex and ambiguous information. Transactions are the common denominator across all business applications, and monitoring transaction flow through applications becomes one of the key indicators and sources of information for assessing business, application, and technology performance. Business application monitoring is one of many sources of information, and it’s important to ensure that pertinent information is structured and available to appropriate users involved in the problem-solving and decision-making processes.
When you implement a cohesive monitoring framework, you’re taking one step in transforming the IT department from an expense center to an integrated part of the business. In information-driven businesses, the IT department is an innovator. However, to be an effective innovator, the IT department must be integrated with the business. Integration provides visibility into the cause-and-effect relationships that affect business, application, and technical performance with appropriate and timely information. When the IT department and the business aren’t integrated, it’s difficult for IT to be innovative and difficult for the business to be competitive.
To ensure information technology is integrated with the business in your environment, exploit an intelligent monitoring framework that shows the cause and effect of transactions. When you can measure the impact of transactions and find and fix problems quickly, you provide true value to the business.