Metrics to measure your IT systems have commonly focused alerting on components of measure, such as, CPU utilisation, memory, storage, up/down state, etc. These are predominantly a good way to manage environments retrospectively. The business and customer-centric focus is an area to initiate the idea for metrics development.
Metrics need to evolve towards enabling service optimisation.
Optimising metrics with a customer focused stance fundamentally changes how we approach our instrumentation and monitoring. What is important for a service? If we use an analogy of a car service from a customer’s perspective, does a customer care that the inventory of the mechanic’s bolts and washers are adequate? Probably not. More so, they’d be concerned about the timeliness they get their keys back and how simplistic it is to continue their normal activities with little to no interruption.
The point is there are different aspects to metrics that should serve varying parts of the business, but more importantly on how it best servers its customers. The following areas of consideration should be carefully thought out:
Be mindful of reactive vs. proactive metrics. An example of a reactive metric would be when a file system on a server is breaching a defined capacity. An example of a proactive metric would be the customer session times within the application and the respective page time they spend, along with path statistics.
Optimising metrics for business services where the customer is directly impacted will get you thinking differently. There is no doubt that traditional metrics are still necessary, although the key is about who sees them and what actions they need to enact. Essentially the premise is to enable people to make better decisions. Developing business aligned dashboards also enables decisions based on useable data. What a product manager needs to measure will differ greatly on what the operational support team needs. If your services are running from a Cloud Services Provider platform, it may be even more critical to challenge yourself on what you measure for service optimisation, rather than the retrospective traditional methods of measurement.
Do the metrics you have in place now help the business to further improve services before complaints arise? Do the metrics in place help you make better decisions on improving your competitive edge in the market place?
Let’s focus on IT enablement that translates to business success and value added to your customers – start with insightful metrics.