While many IT organizations have been exposed to business intelligence tools that can be used to optimize IT management, a debate has emerged over the merits of BI tools specifically built for this purpose and more general-purpose BI tools that have been extended for use by IT departments.
That may seem like a narrowly defined set of issues, but the folks at SAS Institute maintain that there is a world of difference between BI approaches in the context of IT, especially when it comes to SAS IT Resource Management software.
According to Mike Ingraham, a SAS manager in the performance management practice, SAS has been adapting its BI tools for use by IT departments for years. While not a huge business, Ingraham says the key differentiator in the SAS approach is that beyond being used to monitor internal IT processes, a general-purpose BI tool is better able to link those internal IT processes to the metrics being used to run the rest of the business.
Ingraham says that by far and away the most effective way to accomplish that goal is to use the same BI framework to manage internal IT processes as the rest of the company uses to manage the business. After all, notes Ingraham, the most strategic issue facing most IT organizations today is how to align their operations to the rest of the business. Ingraham adds that SAS tools in particular have a much richer set of predictive analytics capabilities, which in the context of IT organizations is a critical requirement in capacity planning.
Like most things in IT, there is plenty of room for debate. Certainly, some form of BI attached to IT management is a good idea. How your particular organization decides to get there may depend on existing enterprise license agreements and the path of least resistance. But senior IT managers are running out of excuses for not knowing what's going on, not only inside the IT department, but how it specifically relates to the rest of the business.