According to Leng Leng Tan, vice president of applications and systems management at Oracle, there are four major trends that are affecting how organizations are managing their IT infrastructure:
Driving down costs. Many organizations are under pressure to reduce costs, particularly with changing economic times.
Increasing quality of service. At the same time, organizations are being pressured to increase the quality of service—often having to provide more services (or better service) with reduced resources.
Increasing agility. With business requirements changing faster than ever before, IT needs to make more changes than ever before. From security requirements to compliance requirements to new business processes, IT has to keep up with business.
Lowering risks. While organizations need to increase agility, making any change introduces risk. That’s why IT organizations are always on the lookout for ways to reduce risks while keeping up with change.
“It’s not just about managing the individual components, such as servers, databases, or middleware components, anymore,” says Tan. “It’s about managing the whole end-user and business-user experience. Being able to drill down on the performance and availability of end-to-end business processes allows organizations to identify exactly where processes are having problems and what needs to be fixed. It’s one of the key aspects of a solution that helps organizations align business goals with IT performance.”
According to Jean-Pierre Garbani, vice president, Forrester Research, more and more enterprises are using business-oriented management solutions: “We are at a new stage of cooperation between IT and the business, where using effective data from IT can help the business better understand customer behavior and improve business processes, and consequently IT practices,” says Garbani. “More-effective alignment of business and IT can also help suggest better applications or new technologies that will improve the business processes.”
In general, Tan sees an increased focus among enterprises on business key performance indicators (KPIs) and solutions that are KPI-centric or business service-centric. Instead of monitoring low-level metrics such as CPU or disk usage, a business-focused management solution enables organizations to manage IT resources according to business needs. For example, during quarter-end, a key business activity is entering orders; the IT department should be focused on ensuring the performance and availability of the systems that are most related to quarter-end processing to make sure everything goes smoothly, rather than giving priority to something like expense report servers.
“We see customers asking more and more for management solutions that are high-level and focused on business processes,” says Tan. “Oracle is in a unique position because we offer a wide variety of applications, from Oracle E-Business Suite to Siebel and PeopleSoft and more. We’re able to leverage our knowledge of those applications and the business processes in them to provide the right solutions for our customers.”
“Business-oriented management solutions like Oracle’s are not only satisfying the need for managing the technology pieces of an organization’s infrastructure, but also managing those pieces from the end-user standpoint,” says Garbani. “That tells IT not only which individual services are unsatisfactory but why they’re unsatisfactory. In addition, business-oriented management solutions can constantly monitor the end-user experience to make sure it’s good.”