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BLOG: Shadow IT: The New Departmental Market for Monitoring and Management

Stephen Miles | Oct. 16, 2013
How can departmental users be empowered to monitor and manage essential applications and services? The answer is in a new generation of solutions.

As business users become more dependent on technology, however, their tolerance for downtime and poor performance is decreasing. They also recognise that there is a fundamental contradiction between acquiring technology without IT’s involvement and any expectation that IT will then help them manage that technology.

So, just as business departments once sought the ability to acquire their own capabilities for working with documents and data, they now recognise their need to acquire their own capabilities for monitoring applications and services.

The problem, of course, is that business users don’t know anything about SNMP traps, log files or any of the other highly technical underpinnings of conventional IT management. Nor do they have any desire to do so. This lack of technical expertise has, at least until now, stood between them and their desire for visibility into the technology services they depend on every day—and which, increasingly, they are acquiring independently of IT.

A practical solution

How can departmental users be properly empowered to monitor and manage essential applications and services, despite their lack of technical skills?  The answer is being found in a new generation of solutions that meet three key criteria:

  • Easy, automated implementation. Departmental users have neither the time, skills, nor inclination to get bogged down in complex technology deployments. An effective departmental management-and-monitoring solution for Shadow IT must therefore install automatically and effortlessly.
  • End-to-end application and service insight. Departmental users aren’t interested in knowing about servers, storage devices and routers. They want to know what’s going on with the actual services they consume. To meet their needs, the right solution must therefore provide visibility into the health of end-to-end application delivery—rather than into technical data regarding the individual components supporting that delivery.
  • Low cost. Departmental users are not accustomed to laying out significant capital for technology. Nor are they going to allocate much in the way of OPEX for something that is neither central nor strategic to their business mission. So their acceptance of a monitoring solution will be highly price-sensitive.

At one time, a management-and-monitoring solution meeting these criteria would have been challenging. The sophisticated systems that corporate IT departments use to manage enterprise IT environments require a tremendous amount of configuration, focus on highly granular root-cause discovery and come with very high prices tags.

But new times call for new solutions. And advances in management technology are enabling vendors to deliver solutions that are a much better fit with the emerging Shadow IT market. By adopting these solutions, departmental users can continue the ongoing trend of empowerment and reduced dependence on corporate IT.

The result will be a win-win. For the business, the win will be even more effective use of technology. For corporate IT, the win will be the freedom to focus allocation of its limited resources on more strategic projects.

Stephen Miles is Vice President, Service Assurance, Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies.


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