The reality of data ubiquity is here—data is buried in operational statistics, machine logs, stacks of overflowing tickets and customer details, among other things. How can any user get valuable information amid this rapid influx of data?
Imagine a situation where your firm’s revenue takes a hit owing to an unexpected failure in some business process. It would be a nightmare for IT admins to sift through the interminable piles of data to deduce exactly why and where the problem occurred. To save time and their sanity, they need a solution that instantly analyzes data and detects the problem for them.
Enter IT analytics. Analytics tools unify data from different IT functions and transform it into actionable information that can improve process efficiencies. By providing visibility into the performance of daily operations, an IT user can identify problem areas and determine the next course of action.
The following are five examples of how analytics helps you build a better business strategy.
1. Make Better Staffing Decisions
Most service desks work around the clock to handle customer requests. As a service-desk manager, you need to make sure that these requests are handled efficiently, without running the risk of overloading your staff. In some instances, a manager might reactively hire more support personnel as IT demands rise, but if team productivity is not properly measured, this approach may lead to higher costs and poor motivation.
Using an analytics tool, you can view the request volume hourly and determine those hours when the volume is too high. Then, you can assign more technicians to handle calls during those peak hours. Analytics tools can also measure a team’s utilization and overall productivity, and on the basis of that information, managers can decide whether they need to hire more staff.
2. Improve Customer Satisfaction
Dissatisfied or unhappy customers are bad for business. As a support manager, how do you identify those customers who are unhappy with you and address their needs? Sometimes, when the service desk is inundated with lots of customer requests, there is a possibility of missing out on critical ones. So the first step is to analyze customer support data to determine the number of escalated requests raised by customers.
You can also dig deeper to obtain details such as request category, request handler, criticality and the time when it was raised. On the basis of either criticality of impact or importance of the customer, you can assign technicians to personally handle customers according to priority.
3. Minimize Business Downtime
IT admins are firefighting issues most of the time. When a business-process downtime occurs, teams scramble to locate the source of the problem. Is the network up and running? Was any software upgrade done over the past week? By the time the problem is resolved, revenue and credibility are lost owing to several unhappy and impatient clients who use the application.
Running around putting out fires can be avoided. Analytics tools can provide a complete overview of your IT by correlating data dependencies among your interconnected devices and applications. Take, for example, monitoring tools that manage networks and applications. If a device is problematic, the monitoring tool sends an alarm to the administrator. Only when the alarm count suddenly spikes do administrators realize there is a serious problem.
Analytics tools actively predict network and application behavior by examining alarm trends. It compares alarm volume, observes fluctuations periodically and predicts whether a sudden spike may occur, spelling trouble ahead. This way, technicians are well prepared for any failures that would disrupt an application running on their devices.
4. Ensure Enterprise Security
Security attacks are always a big problem for enterprises; they can greatly cut revenue and diminish customer confidence. Most of the time, detecting such attacks and estimating the amount of data loss is difficult. Usually, identifying these attacks is a challenge because they happen quickly and are usually dispersed across networks, applications and servers.
An analytics tool will filter security-event data from these different end points and analyze the data to understand the nature of such attacks. By offering a single point of view, these tools can help analysts to reconstruct the sequence of events leading up to the attack and also help in determining which systems were compromised and how. Using an analytics tool, enterprises can detect any vulnerabilities in their systems and actively address them to avoid such attacks.
5. Bridge the Gap Between IT Operations and Services
To get a holistic view into your IT, you need to correlate operational data with service data and unlock actionable insights. Analytics bridges this gap. By combining data from multiple functions, it depicts them via powerful visualizations for deeper understanding. For instance, by viewing operational data, service-desk teams can determine the impact of operational incidents on service delivery and manage service-level agreements (SLAs) more accurately.
A unified IT dashboard paves the way for better decisions because users can get real-time visibility into IT and determine how to improve quality of service to customers.
It’s high time that firms use analytics to outline their organizational strategy. To get clarity on how your enterprise is performing, you need to measure process efficiencies to identify areas of improvement. Harnessing the complete benefits of analytics requires choosing a tool that is affordable; is easy to use, deploy and maintain; and fits well with your architectural standards.
About the Author
Pritika Ramani is a product analyst at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corporation, where she applies both her technical and brand marketing expertise to IT management. She is passionate about trends in analytics and business intelligence and is currently on the Analytics Plus team. Pritika enjoys reading, blogging and cooking when she is not working on expanding analytical insights into other IT-management arenas. For more information on ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, visit www.manageengine.com; follow the company blog at http://blogs.manageengine.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ManageEngine and on Twitter @ManageEngine.