In this blog, Rolf van Anholt – Manager Products & Services, will describe the maturing of our Ymonitor product due to a maturing APM market and shifting business expectations. He will explain the next steps in IT Operations Management (ITOM) – predicting and solving IT incidents before they happen!
Back to the basics: end-user insights
Five years ago, Cloud was not really adopted, and DevOps was something for start-ups. When people were talking about monitoring, it generally meant; technical infrastructure monitoring. Although end-user-experience monitoring was proven technology, most organizations were not yet using its full potential. At this time, Ymor was delivering factual end-user insights but we faced a challenge: the insights weren’t always acted upon. Organizations did not feel any sense of urgency to improve end-user experience and act proactively, except when high priority incidents were causing major outages.
Improving reports: adding Apdex
Ymor was eager to make management understand the importance of proactive IT management, so a new report was created. It showed availability and performance % in seconds. Discussing these reports monthly, helped to grow urgency within most organizations. Still, it took effort on the part of IT management to understand the complexity of their IT landscape and to allocate time and budgets effectively. In order to see which components in the landscape should to be improved, KPIs are needed. These KPIs should be comparable for every application and all end-user experiences. That’s why we adopted Apdex (Application Performance Index) within our reports.
The Apdex is an open industry standard for indexing performance. In the ‘Apdex Alliance’, several organizations have developed a formula together, used to index performance measurements. The Apdex is calculated based on performance targets set by the business and IT together, resulting in a value of 0 to 1 for every transaction, application and end-to-end chain. Now all departments have one factual truth, a number to judge the performance on. This immediately show which processes lack in performance, impacting digital experience. This greatly improved the sense of urgency within IT departments.
Connect to the business: introducing ITOA
Apdex was a great step forward but also has its drawbacks, for example: it needs manual work to remain as valuable as it is and correlating Apdex to financial impact is hard. We have done this for several customers, but it is always a snapshot in time. This was the point where we started with IT Operations Analytics (ITOA). By collecting more and more performance data, adding business data and combining insights from several monitoring solutions, we could provide insights into the performance of business processes. The Yprocess product was born!
We wanted reproduce what we have done for these customers, calculate it in real-time and automate this proces. We needed a tool that could monitor business KPIs, automatically connect application-, cloud-, and infrastructure monitoring data. We already had Dynatrace which was great for correlating conversion and bounce to webpage performance, but we realized we needed to combine more data sources and add more business KPIs to service all of our customer’s needs.
Processing data: partnership with Splunk
At this time, we were introduced to the new software module of data specialist Splunk, called IT Service Intelligence (ITSI). Splunk excels at delivering easy to implement data management, analysis and visualizations. Splunk is the leading security data platform and a forerunner in IT Operations Management (ITOM). We already used Splunk within the Ymor Control Center to manage and automate our support effort and use it for our ITOA performance data warehouse. ITSI has been developed to integrate business KPIs and ITOM insights, that is just what our customers need. Therefore it was obvious for Splunk and Ymor to enter into a strategic partnership.
Predictive insights: the next step in ITOM
Predictive insights are now feasible, using the Splunk ITSI module. But what is ITSI? In essence, it is event management with additional innovations. The first distinguishing feature is the ability to add business KPIs to every application chain. All infrastructure configurations, applications and business drivers can be added to the event management engine. This means you now know the financial impact of every incident and you can effectively decide which incidents should get priority.
The second distinguishing feature is the ability to automatically analyse and visualize the data. Based on the extensive event analytics lots of visualizations can be generated: root cause analysis dashboards, high level KPI and business process dashboards. The machine learning algorithms automatically find patterns within this large data set. When it has learned a pattern and the same pattern starts to occur again it will send an alert. This effectively predicts every recurring incident. It predicts this with 90% accuracy. This means we can now predict 60% of all incidents 20 to 30 minutes before user experience or revenue is impacted.
“For the first time you can prevent negative financial impact and negative customer sentiment before it happens. You can start fixing incidents before they have occurred, Splunk calls this: Negative Mean Time To Resolve”.
In short: coming from plain end-user experience monitoring, we are now able to predict IT incidents 20-30 minutes in advance. Want more information about what this can mean for your IT Operations? Let us know!
Rolf van Anholt
Manager Products & Services
Rolf translates the challenge of customers into standard products, is product owner of Ymonitor and co-creates the services that deliver Ymor’s products. His focus is bringing knowledge, products and services to our European customers that can be used to gain factual IT insights, cope with the fast changing IT landscape and leverage IT to achieve business goals. Rolf’s 10+ years in Operational Services at two of the largest Dutch system integrators and 5 years of experience in the APM & ITOA market, makes him an expert on ITOM and within a great diversity of markets and IT landscapes. In this respect he inspired organizations such as Eneco, Rabobank, SSC-ICT and VodafoneZiggo with tailored ITOA and APM solutions.