How 'ITOA' is combating infrastructure problems before they even happen

Addressing future infrastructure issues with analytics
Analytics providing faster insight than ever before

Bring your own device trends and the consumerisation of IT in the workplace are changing the playing field for enterprises trying to ensure their digital operations always run smoothly.

With greater flexibility and deeper understanding required over what's going on in the company network, real-time analytics tools are expanding on the capabilities of traditional analytics platforms and keeping organisations stay ahead of the game.

Poul Nielsen, director of industry specialist Nexthink, tells us more about this increasingly valued enterprise tech.

TechRadar Pro: What is ITOA?

Poul Nielsen: IT Operations Analytics, or ITOA, a form of real-time analytics, provides CIOs and IT managers with increasingly important operational and business data. Recently identified as an emerging sector by Gartner, it is set to have a major impact on the IT industry as it develops, enabling new and more cost-effective ways of carrying out business processes and delivering services to end-users.

Once analysed, the data collected by ITOA solutions allows businesses to identify faults with their network quickly and rectify them as fast as possible.

ITOA solutions allow organisations to quickly and easily understand the quality of IT service delivered to business end-users, notifying the business of issues before employees start calling the help desk. Perhaps more importantly, it also allows IT teams to diagnose and pro-actively fix the issues before more end-users are impacted.

TRP: Why do enterprises need to adopt IT Operations Analytics solutions?

PN: With the combined growth of BYO set to sky-rocket in the next few years, (according to Gartner, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone in 2016, and 40 per cent of the entire workforce will be mobile), managing thousands of access points is becoming, unsurprisingly, incredibly difficult for organisations.

Yet as the consumerisation of IT becomes more and more important in the workplace and the internet of things (IoT) allows a greater number of connections between every endpoint, the demand for flexibility in security and network solutions is becoming extremely high.

In order to cope with this 'new age' of connectivity and offer flexible, timely solutions to problems, ITOA is crucial. Organisations will see a decrease in productivity across the board if the workforce is constantly encountering problems that cannot be identified and remedied quickly.

TRP: How can businesses overcome the difficulties of monitoring hundreds, even thousands of end-points?

PN: ITOA solutions harness vast volumes of highly diverse data from various applications and end-points across an organisation's IT infrastructure, providing IT service desks with instant awareness and visibility of issues as they occur – even before the end-user recognises a problem.

With this awareness, ITOA also delivers an understanding of how these issues could affect both the IT infrastructure and the wider business. IT departments must consider adopting ITOA solutions to complement the constantly changing way we all work.

TRP: Why is it so important to be able to view an organisation's infrastructure from the end-users' perspective?

PN: With increased flexibility comes the challenge for the IT department to monitor the health of all devices; essential for a productive working enterprise. IT departments should consider deploying ITOA, as a means of viewing what's going on across the whole IT infrastructure – particularly from the viewpoint that matters most, that of the end-user.

Real-time visibility is the key to identifying problems, which is half the battle, as fixing a problem can often be less time-consuming than identifying it in the first place.

TRP: What will the enterprise IT of the future look like and how can IT teams best manage their existing infrastructure and their assets?

PN: The enterprise IT of the future will be able to adapt to a constantly changing environment. With an increasingly connected world, organisations need to accept that they are going to encounter new problems.

Once they have accepted this, businesses need to take stock of their infrastructure, assessing their risk and their end-users' needs, in order to tailor an ITOA solution to fit their business.

The infrastructure you have may be the same as before, but applying the same static solution across the business is likely, over time, to result in decreased productivity, leading to loss of revenue.

TRP: How will the internet of things and the consumerisation of IT play a role in this?

PN: As a phenomenon, the internet of things (IoT) will continue to challenge network administrators as enterprise networks fast become more complex and dynamic than ever before.

The expectation of enterprises to respond to the new demands of IoT is high, despite limited increases in manpower or budget putting a strain on organisations - particularly those who are ill prepared.

In order to empower employees while maintaining full control and visibility as an enterprise means you will need the invaluable intelligence that ITOA can provide around potential bottlenecks, breakdowns and breaches before they even happen.

TRP: Finally, what are three main trends driving change within enterprises and how their IT department control their infrastructure?

PN: For me, the three main trends are:

  • The IoT – The IoT is a phenomenon driving technology into a 'new age' but also into uncharted territory where everyone will be connected to everything, creating thousands more access points and the potential for huge unsolicited activity.
  • Flexibility in the workplace – Consumers are demanding more flexibility in the way they work, creating a drive for change and huge pressure for enterprises to implement BYO policies across the board. With this comes an increased shift in control, from the IT department to the consumer of IT.
  • Faster solutions – As a result of increased flexibility and the IoT, employees demand faster solutions to their problems which can only be achieved by looking at things from the perspective that matters – that of the end-user.
Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.