I have to confess that whilst I love visiting my customers as I travel around the UK, actually the method of transport is almost always painful. There are a number of key infrastructure projects currently in the news including HS2, Crossrail and the third Heathrow runway, but simply getting around can be such a traumatic experience and improvements always seem to be years away.
Only the other day, I had to drive to Maidenhead from our office in Cambridge and was
amazed that even during peak hours I was able to complete my journey in an hour and a half. However, the journey back around lunchtime, took over three hours and was just down to the sheer volume of traffic. I was so frustrated by this experience that I decided to conduct an experiment, but more of that later.
Interestingly, many of the CIOs that I talk to seem to have similar problems with their infrastructure. As we come up to peak trading and black Friday, many retailers have no option but to “lock down” their IT estate to ensure that outages are reduced. We all know that 95% of infrastructure problems are caused by human intervention, so the best policy is surely not to touch critical things?
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At the same time many CIOs ask me “can you help me to see what is actually happening on my infrastructure?”. If you work on the basis that “what you can’t measure, you can’t manage” it is hardly surprising that many CIO’s struggle to deliver the user experience that users really demand.
The really frustrating thing is that the data is there, but usually in silos and many managers want to retain control of their data so being able to see a single source of truth is very often difficult to achieve. So how to you plan for peak demand and improve the user experience when you have either very limited or no visibility of your overall service?
Our view at Intergence is that the data is there and available, it just needs to be arranged better and with the right selection of analytics you really can achieve a great overall view of the performance of your infrastructure. The best way to start the process is to conduct some benchmarking and then either use existing tooling or fill in the gaps to give you an overarching view. The important data can then be correlated and visualised into a meaningful end to end view of the service and more importantly the customer experience. That is essentially what Stratiam provides and enables IT leaders to gain real time insight into their infrastructure performance, application flows and how the customer sees the service from an end-user perspective.
CIO enabled digital transformation is the answer here. What does this mean? A digital transformation programme to provide an agile and elastic platform with an end-to-end view of the entire IT environment. Once this is in-place, a change of expenditure from keeping the current infrastructure operational, to driving true digital transformation, i.e. delivering services the changing customer behaviours and requirements demand.
Which brings me back to my transportation woes. After my previous experience, I decided to use the train, which took a total of seven hours to do the same journey, whilst my colleague Rupert raced around the M25 to prove that he could complete his journey by car in half the time! There must be a better way to optimise our journey times through some simple analytics in the same way we are doing for IT infrastructure with Stratiam. Our own industry can develop an App that correlates different journey patterns and times to allow us to get to our destination in a timely manner, we just need to get away from "keeping the lights on" and focus in innovation to meet customer needs. Judging by the station car park this Friday morning, most commuters have just given up, voted with their feet and decided to work from home. I just hope that their digital experience is better than my train and car journeys.
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