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Performance Management Brings New Found Value to IT

IT departments are always struggling to garner the praise they deserve. Yet, most organizations look upon IT as a necessary evil, one that is both expensive and somewhat obstructionist. However, nothing could be further from the truth, and IT departments the world over have pursued ideologies that highlight the value of the services they offer, while also demonstrating the importance that a properly executed IT management plan brings to the bottom line.

At last weeks Riverbed Disrupt event, GigaOM had a chance to talk with CIOs, as well as network managers that have demonstrated the value of IT with application performance management platforms and services.

John Green, Chief Information Officer at Baker Donelson, the 64th largest law firm in the country, offered some real world examples of how Application Performance Management (APM) and end user monitoring bring demonstrable value to an organizations IT department.

Green said “my staff supports some 275 different applications and more than 40 video conferencing rooms, which are in near constant operation.” Simply put, Green has come to know the importance of how reliable service and end acceptable user experience impacts the view that the firm’s 1,500 employees have of the IT department.

Green said “I was deploying the best technology money could buy, but my end-users still weren’t happy.” Green was looking at a situation where unhappy end users could create dire circumstances, which could impact the firms bottom line. Green added “I could go to management meetings and offer proof that the networks were up 99.9% of the time, and the that the databases and the email servers were delivering five-nine statistics of operation. Yet, my end users were still complaining.”

That is when Green had an epiphany, one that amounted to realizing network performance statistics and end user expectations rarely do not go hand in hand. Green said “We needed the ability to track the actual end-user experience, and then use that information to meet user expectations.”

Green found those much desired capabilities with SteelCentral Aternity, a product that offers the ability to monitor any application on any device to provide the actual user perspective, at least when it comes to responsiveness and performance. Green said “I have been an Aternity user for about seven years, and it completely transformed the way we relate to our end users.”

Nonetheless, Green said “Aternity is only one part the puzzle, although it provides valuable information, I would like to see the whole performance and experience picture on one pane of glass.”

That was a need that brought Green to the Riverbed Disrupt event. Riverbed recently purchased Aternity and is integrating the technology into their SteelCentral product line, looking to give its customers that single pane of glass view. Green was impressed with the direction Riverbed is taking with end-to-end monitoring and offered ““With the Riverbed and Aternity combination, there is now a mix of tools, that when combined into a single pane of glass, gives you total visibility across your network, from the servers to the circuits.”

While the Riverbed event was about new technologies, the real message was that by providing full monitoring capabilities to IT, staffers can better serve end-users and demonstrate the value of effective IT.