The Other Big Data Problem: Truth or Dare

It’s hard to miss one of today’s biggest technology challenges confronting large enterprises – big data. Companies are amassing vast amounts of data ranging from website activity, user data, support issues and even directly from products that are deployed in the field. The quest, of course, is to find patterns, glean understanding and extract knowledge that will help improve the company’s business.

Solving the big data problem represents massive upside for enterprises, but there’s another big data issue plaguing many IT organizations. In many cases, IT lacks a single source of truth, a centralized, comprehensive understanding of its hardware and software and the way they interact and are configured.

For IT, the service experience is the end state. And this IT big data challenge stems from the necessity of IT to deliver on this service experience, to keep the services running and rapidly change as business needs change.

The lack of comprehensive truth directly translates to essential qualities, such as data center or network uptime, application availability, security, ease of maintenance and the ability to implement change. Simply put, when you don’t know what you are working with, how it is configured or should be configured and how it impacts other things, you are fundamentally working in the dark. The repercussions are enormous. The wasted time spent by companies chasing what they think the issue is rather than what it really is becomes a massive overhead.

The Configuration Management Database (CMDB) has often been the object of controversy and deep misunderstanding. Who takes ownership? How is it done? How do you make it comprehensive? Is CMDB the starting point or the finishing line? Then, as soon as it is created, it is out of date!

The issue is not just the CMDB itself, but also the fragmentation that exists among IT tools and systems—islands and moats that prevent a centralized view and systematic consistency. Solving this crisis necessitates jettisoning individual, standalone tools and having a single system of record for IT. Once you have moved to a single system of record, you can focus on streamlining your process to ensure accuracy and decrease the time taken to recover from system impact.

In the end, it is IT’s sole purpose to be a trusted advisor and service delivery partner for their users.

Truth: Does your IT organization have a single understanding of all its configuration items? Can you ensure consistency across all your resources? Are you well positioned for effectively managing an ever-changing landscape of applications and infrastructure?

I dare you to take a hard look!

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Dave Wright
Dave Wright joined in December 2011 and currently serves as ServiceNow’s Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to joining ServiceNow, Wright spent over six years with VMware, Inc. as Vice President of Technical Services for EMEA. From 2003 to 2005 Wright headed up the technical division for Northern and Southern Europe at Mercury Interactive. Prior to that he spent six years at Peregrine Systems, Inc., where he held a variety of senior technical and marketing positions. Wright has also worked for Boole & Babbage, Inc. and Candle Services (later acquired by IBM).

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