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In today’s always-on world, service expectations are high. Managing service levels to meet business objectives is an imperative that is getting harder and harder to achieve. Hundreds, if not thousands, of complex, mission-critical workloads are running day and night in hybrid IT environments that cross mainframe, distributed, and multi-cloud platforms. Dependencies are often deeply buried, making their presence known only when there is a business impact.
It is more important than ever that your organization understands and maintains service level agreements (SLAs), which are the promises made to your users, and service level objectives (SLOs), which are the internal objectives that help you keep those promises. There is no doubt that your IT staff is putting their all into managing your SLAs and SLOs. But, the fact of the matter is, you can only go so far with human effort and human analysis. To avoid delays and downtime that can result in reputational damage, monetary loss, and regulatory fines, you need to deploy a service-level management approach that spans across your hybrid IT environment and end-to-end business services. You will get the best value for your business and your customers by choosing a comprehensive solution that gives you the following five “must-have” advantages.
Advantage #1: Holistic Visibility through a Single Pane of Glass
Your end-to-end business services take hundreds of different paths across products, applications, vendors, systems, and platforms. You undoubtedly use myriad monitoring tools to keep operations running smoothly and efficiently. Unfortunately, these tools do not give you visibility across processes or workload automation engines, leaving you at risk of an SLA breach.
You gain a huge advantage by employing an IT service management approach that provides holistic visibility through a single pane of glass. Such transparency is essential to achieve the visualization, adaptability, and intelligence necessary to successfully manage complex end-to-end business services.
For example, suppose you have a payroll job that is running slowly. The workload touches dozens of systems and crosses platforms that run on the mainframe, cloud, Windows, and Linux. Consequently, none of your product- or platform-specific monitoring tools can find the problem area. If your end-to-end view of your hybrid IT environment is through a single pane of glass, you can readily pinpoint the one process that is consuming CPU and threatening to delay payroll.
Advantage #2: Advanced Analytics that Predict Problems
Without a doubt, the “holy grail” of service-level management is predicting problems so that a dreaded SLA breach never happens. For instance, if you have a business process running at night, you want to be alerted that you are in jeopardy of missing an SLO with enough time to take action and remediate the issue.
Such prediction is made possible through advanced analytics that can:
- Mine your data for patterns and insights in near real-time using machine learning algorithms that adapt as your environment shifts.
- Generate meaningful and actionable insights by filtering out irrelevant data and deciphering normal versus abnormal behaviors.
- Diagnose root causes and possible causation factors to reduce problem recovery times.
With advanced analytics in place, even novice IT operations staff can triage issues to prevent business impacts, freeing up your experts to focus on higher-priority initiatives.
Advantage #3: Insights into Why Bottlenecks Occur
In the ideal world, every problem could be predicted and addressed proactively. In the real world, you can expect bottlenecks to arise periodically since your hybrid IT environment is constantly undergoing changes due to internal and external factors. When a bottleneck occurs, you want the ability to quickly shine a light on what happened and why it happened through rigorous root cause analysis.
Root cause analysis takes into consideration both current performance across your hybrid IT environment and historical patterns to provide valuable insights for remediation and optimization. For example, a historical analysis might show that, during a retailer’s Black Friday promotion, four specific workload processes overloaded and slowed to a crawl, costing the business in terms of both revenue and reputation. Corrective action can then be taken against these specific workloads, preventing the failures from reoccurring and ensuring they do not negatively impact future sales events.
Advantage #4: The Ability to Identify Performance Degradation
One particularly thorny problem to discern in a hybrid IT environment is performance degradation over time. Performance degradation is often subtle; it may occur over months or even years. For instance, degradation might be the result of a hardware change that is only peripherally connected to a given workload, or it could be caused by a gradual increase in the volume of transactions.
The issue, of course, is that there is no issue ... now. But there will be an issue later if proactive steps are not taken. Advanced analytics lets you get ahead of the curve by reviewing historical trends and current performance, and alerting you when an end-to-end business service is experiencing degradation. For example, if a nightly job has steadily shifted from finishing at 2:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m., a trend analysis will note the change so that IT staff can optimize the process before the performance degrades to a critical level.
Advantage #5: Visibility and Self-service for Business Users
The final advantage you want to gain from a service-level management solution is the ability to empower your business users with visibility and self-service.
Traditionally, business users have been excluded from knowing how and when their business service processes are running. This has been IT’s domain. But, both IT staff and business users benefit from changing the status quo. By giving business users dashboards that display the data concerning the end-to-end business services they are engaged with or that they rely on, business users are able to check the status of their jobs and see if they are in jeopardy of missing an SLA. They no longer have to open a ticket and wait for IT to give them an update; as a result, business users gain autonomy and IT staff members get back valuable time.
Every Advantage Can Be Yours
With Broadcom’s comprehensive service-level management offering, every advantage can be yours. You will be able to see across your complex hybrid IT environment, leverage advanced analytics in multiple ways to optimize your end-to-end business services, and empower your business users with self-service capabilities. Most importantly, you will be able to meet your SLAs with confidence, providing outstanding service across your business and to your customers every day. Learn more on our website.
Image credit: Photo by Mikael Blomkvist from Pexels
Ed Blazejewski, product manager at Broadcom, is responsible for the planning and strategy of Broadcom’s ESP Workload Automation and Output Management solutions. With over 20 years of experience in product and engineering management, Ed is very passionate about creating great software by collaborating with customers, UX, engineers, architects, and the business. He has managed agile development teams globally and held product management roles in blockchain, security, and DevOps. Ed chaired the User Experience Patent Review Board at CA Technologies and holds two U.S. patents. He currently co-leads Broadcom’s Mainframe Incubator program.
Jennifer Chisik, head of product for Automic Automation Intelligence at Broadcom, is responsible for the technical strategy, planning, and implementation of Automic Automation Intelligence. As a founder and former CTO for Terma Software Labs, Jennifer managed the successful design, development, and deployment of this groundbreaking solution, which adds business intelligence to workload automation data and acts as a broker between workload automation data and Business System Management views of the IT environment.