When we talk with leaders at top IT organizations, we hear the same pain points over and over again: no communication, and a lack of visibility. IT executives think they’re doing everything right — they have (or are currently acquiring) the right systems, people, and processes. Yet many department heads feel out of the loop from all of the goings-on within their IT organization. They don’t know how individuals or teams are performing, and they have no idea when or why key events or issues are occurring.
And these problems aren’t unique to one industry. Retail, healthcare, fast food, media, pharmaceutical, you name it — brand-name organizations across verticals are all experiencing the same difficulties. Perhaps more alarming is just how crippling these situations can be to the business. Companies are enduring outages that cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars and paying service vendors large sums without the communication or transparency to hold them accountable.
“We Have Tons of Data — Why Don’t We Have Visibility?”
Your company has vast amounts of data, and you may even be using an in-house BI team or third-party analytical application in the effort to leverage data insights. But, if your organization is similar to those we’ve spoken with, your IT leaders are still challenged to correlate sources and translate data into intelligence. So why is it such a struggle to improve transparency among teams?
A common theme we hear is that IT organizations are bogged down by impractical processes for combining separate data sources. A survey by Attivio reinforces this problem: according to the results, 41 percent of big data decision makers believe data is too siloed to be accessible on demand. IT leaders are juggling several systems, each with their own data repository, and have neither the resources nor the time to effectively gather and analyze their data. As a result, we repeatedly hear IT executives say they rely on their gut to make decisions — because it’s just too difficult to sift through the data and identify the right measurements.
We’ve also spoken with department heads who share obstacles around the adoption or integration of analytics into their existing IT processes. As the authors of a recent piece on the Harvard Business Review put it, “Embracing data and analytics is not a tactic; it’s a transformation.” Written by leaders from the McKinsey Global Institute and McKinsey Analytics, the article discusses why many businesses still haven’t realized the full potential of analytics. They argue that many companies take the first step by investing in analytics, but fail to follow through on embedding these insights into the fabric of their operations.
How Innovative IT Organizations Are Driving Transparency and Communication
The companies we see succeeding at improving visibility and internal dialogue are those who have fully committed to their analytics investments. Their analytical applications are seamlessly combining all relevant data sources — allowing them to redirect resources to other projects — and delivering insights around which they are actively refining their processes. Here are a few examples of this transformation in action.
Using Analytics to…Improve Oversight of Vendor Performance
Recently, we encountered a Fortune 200 company whose IT executives faced key communication and visibility challenges. One issue involved the absence of information around internal operational-level agreements (OLAs) for incident resolution times. Team leaders knew part of the problem stemmed from an inability to monitor or measure tickets assigned to vendors. However, they lacked the dialogue and insight needed to hold their vendors accountable.
We worked with their operations leaders to identify a method for analyzing ticket workflows and identifying process inefficiencies. The result? An analytics dashboard designed specifically for monitoring incident volume and trends among vendors. This change led their IT team to:
- Rebuild workflows to enable more accurate OLAs
- Introduce a sustainable channel of communication with vendors
- Reduce customer callbacks and escalations
- Increase satisfaction levels among business customers
Using Analytics to…Pinpoint Outage Causes and Stabilize Service
Another Fortune 500 company we spoke with was experiencing customer-impacting outages that dramatically increased business risk and led to significant revenue losses. A recent outage on their customer-facing mobile application had lasted for nearly an hour and cost the company an estimated million dollars in lost revenue. Despite situations like this, IT leaders had no visibility of application health and were unable to identify trends around outages, changes, and incidents.
We worked with their IT operations leaders to combine pertinent change, outage, and financial data from their IT system and financial software. By converting the data into summary dashboards, their team was able to easily track potential revenue losses for their top 10 business services. Now IT leaders are able to:
- Predict and preempt issues that could impact production stability
- More effectively allocate finances and resources
- Make data-driven decisions around IT operations, vendors, and service stability
[Photo credit: Pexels.]