When it comes to managing IT, most organizations appear to be more comfortable maintaining the machines than they are managing the business process. That's unfortunate, because as far as the business is concerned, keeping the machines running is only a means to an end, with the end being the automation of a business process that adds value to the company.
And yet in a survey of 318 members of the Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG) conducted by Unisphere Research on behalf of UC4, a provider of IT automation tools, 75 percent of those surveyed said they had trouble monitoring and managing any process that spanned more than one application. Given that any process that has any hope of adding value to the business by definition has to span more than one application, this is a sorry state of affairs.
Before the IT organization can gain any real credibility with the business, it has to be able to solve this challenge. Otherwise, all IT is ever really going to know about the business is how well a specific application is running, and even then the IT organization can't always definitively say how well the hardware underneath that application is actually running.
What's required is a new approach to IT management that starts with the process that needs to be managed, rather than the application or the hardware that enables it. The problem is that in order to do this, the IT organization needs to overcome 30 years of inertia that has ingrained in it a product-centric approach to IT management. The end result is a whole lot of tools that can tell us how well a specific product is running, but absolutely no insight into the overall process.
If IT leaders want a seat at the big table with the rest of the executive management team, they have to be able to tell their colleagues something meaningful about the business. The actual uptime for the server infrastructure is nice to know, but unless that number is translated into revenue associated with a specific set of business processes, nobody on the business side is going to be particularly impressed. They expect the servers to be up. What they really want to know is what did the IT organization do to help relieve the pressure they feel in terms of meeting their financial goals? Being able to have that discussion is the critical difference between the IT organization actually being a valued business partner, versus something akin to a glorified digital maintenance department.