why IT cannot ignore the end-user

Until recently visibility into the end user world was not considered essential when measuring the availability of IT service. It was assumed that focusing on datacenter metrics provided enough information to show how effectively IT supported the business. For most IT organizations the lens on the business remains the metrics provided by the service desk. From the perspective of issues this may be acceptable but it hardly represents how the business is using IT. It would be like asking a doctor “so, how healthy does the world look today?”

This whole situation has been exacerbated by the use of mobile devices and the growth in non-corporate cloud-based application sources.  So how does an IT department understand how the business is experiencing IT when it no longer has the luxury of concentrating its attention on the corporate data center? As of yet, there isn’t a consensus of opinion on how to address this situation leaving most to continue to look to their legacy IT infrastructure monitoring tools (see Infrastructure monitoring. How relevant is it?) supplemented with network performance tools and/or APM tools.

If the objective is to understand how IT is used and experienced then you you don’t start from the data center. The starting place is the end user. This requires more than a set of tools giving visibility from ‘the edge’ it will require IT support to organize and focus teams on end user activity.  Measuring experience means understanding how IT is used, when it is used and where it is used and not just when it is an issue. Capturing and analyzing this content allows IT organizations to assess the true business impact of IT irrespective of where the user is, what they are using or where their applications are sourced.

This approach is not going to be an easy for IT departments that have spent decades focusing on silo’d datacenter elements and back-end applications transactions. However, end user activity monitoring is not an option. Users do not use one device, do not remain in one place and do not use just one application. IT innovation, mobility and end user creativity will continue to push the limits of IT operations management with those able to adjust their IT management focus benefitting from greater IT decision making and business alignment.

Those that don’t will be left struggling trying to manage increasingly diverse IT needs using tools providing on a datacenter centric, application performance snapshot stumbling their way towards the edge through trying to see through increasingly complex third-party service black-holes.

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