How to Prevent Outages with IT Analytics in 4 Steps

How to Prevent Outages with IT Analytics in 4 Steps

IT operations analytics prevent outages
by Mark Stensen on February 16, 2016

Beyond old-fashioned reports, analytics offer dashboards, visual charts, and drilldown capabilities that empower you to make more informed decisions. Even more powerful is the concept of predictive analytics, which allow you to identify future trends and pinpoint risks before they actually occur.

But how do you turn IT analytics into an operational tool? Here are four steps to get you started.

1. Automate Data Collection

The IT landscape is so dynamic that what was relevant yesterday may no longer apply today. Due to the size and complexity of today’s IT environments, it’s practically impossible to manually review configuration data across all IT domains with any reasonable frequency.

Doing so also requires cross-function and cross-team coordination, which is a challenge for any IT organization. Automated collection of the most up-to-date configuration data is the only way to consistently keep an eye on your entire IT infrastructure stack and to ensure there are no hidden risks that can bring down your systems.

2. Identify Patterns

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Downtime damages to your business cannot be undone in most cases. Any type of availability issues or outage throws the entire organization into a firefighting mode. These unplanned events are disruptive to continuous workflows, often resulting in significant and costly after-hours or weekend fire drills.

Using IT Analytics for daily verification of your environment is a powerful method. IT departments can exercise these techniques to identify patterns that can lead to failures. As a result, your teams can focus their attention and resources on fixing these issues before they impair business operations and turn into a costly undertaking.

3. Turn Insight into Action

Detecting a risk is merely the beginning of the solution. Upon risk detection, the root cause must be identified as well as its potential impact on your systems and organization. Based on this information, remedial actions and resources can be prioritized. Quickly deducing the implications and immediately alerting the appropriate team with precise instructions are imperative to reaching quick, effective, and cost-efficient resolutions. When you recognize the actual cause (rather than only identifying visible symptoms), the remedy becomes obvious. Thus, you can promptly turn insight into action.

4. Measure Success

While proactive prevention and monitoring are critical to day-to-day operations, defining KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and measuring your operations accordingly is the only way to track the bigger picture and improve the operational readiness of your organization.

Tracking your KPI’s should allow you to monitor the three pillars of your IT organization – people, systems, and processes:

  • Track the performance of each team and understand where additional resources and management attention is required
  • Identify the systems that disproportionally contribute to instability of your IT environment and evaluate the relationships with these vendors moving forward
  • Understand which processes require reinforcement and which best practices are most frequently violated

Analytics can be a powerful tool if used correctly. Following these four steps will help you understand your IT operations’ weak points and make more informed decisions to correct them. As a result, you should be able to improve IT processes and the quality of your operations, which would ultimately prevent downtime and service disruptions.

Mark Stensen
Mark Stensen
Resilience Specialist at Continuity Software

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