Dec 19, 2020

5 observability gaps that could blindside your organisation

Abdi Essa
5 min
5 observability gaps that could blindside your organisation
Here are five of the biggest areas where observability gaps occur that can blindside organisations, according to Abdi Essa...

To operate effectively and keep up with the ever-growing demand for digital services, IT teams need to clearly see and understand what is happening in their organisation’s IT environment. However, traditional monitoring solutions and manual approaches are struggling to keep up with the dynamic nature of today’s hybrid, cloud-native environments, which makes gaining and maintaining insight far more difficult than ever before.

As a result, more organisations are shifting towards new approaches that support the three key pillars of observability: metrics, logs, and traces. However, these approaches are only effective if the data being gathered can be fully understood in its wider context. As such, gaps in observability can impact digital teams’ ability to understand, monitor, and manage their services effectively.

Here are five of the biggest areas where observability gaps occur that can blindside organisations.

1. Containers, microservices, and Kubernetes

Using cloud-native architectures based on microservices, containers, and Kubernetes can massively benefit organisations, offering increased agility, efficiency, and scalability, to drive faster innovation. However, they also result in an extremely dynamic environment that is constantly changing. Our research has found that 61 per cent of CIOs say their IT environment changes every minute or less, and that per centage will only increase as more organisations adopt cloud-native architectures. It’s near impossible for teams to keep up with this pace of change using manual approaches to configure and instrument apps, or to script and source the data they need to maintain observability – leaving them with blind spots. In fact, 63 per cent – nearly two-thirds – of CIOs say the complexity of their cloud environment has surpassed human ability to manage. As such, automation is becoming critical to manage cloud-native environments.

2. Real user experience

A key focus for modern organisations is the ability to create excellent user experiences by continuously improving their digital services. However, if organisations don’t monitor the way real users experience their applications and software, they create an observability blind spot, which makes it difficult to effectively optimise user experiences. Without measuring the experience from the perspective of the user, it’s impossible to know if applications are working as they should, or if changes are needed to optimise the user journey. Organisations also need to be able to put this information in context, so they can see the full picture of how digital service performance impacts user experience. That can only be achieved with a single platform and a unified data model, not the multiple tools that many organisations rely on to maintain observability and manage user experience.

3. IT operates in a silo

In our recent research, 56 per cent of CIOs said IT is becoming more of a business imperative, while 64 per cent said they’re under more pressure from an increased demand for digital services. Despite this, most organisations look at observability data in isolation of business metrics, such as revenue and conversions. This siloed approach to IT operations creates a blind spot, as the relationship between key IT and business metrics can easily be missed, meaning crucial context falls through the cracks. For instance, business teams may notice a sudden drop or a spike in e-commerce conversions after the IT team deploys a new software update to a back-end application. If IT and business metrics aren’t considered in context of one another, organisations can miss these correlations, meaning users often find out about problems before the business does, through a poor digital experience.

4. Too many tools

In their efforts to maintain observability into their multi-cloud environments, many organisations use an average of 10 different monitoring tools to keep track of individual platforms and services. However, IT teams are struggling to keep up with the huge volume, velocity and variety of data this creates, and to make sense of the often-conflicting alert noise that results from it. 72 per cent of CIOs have said they can’t keep plugging monitoring tools together to maintain observability. 84 per cent say the only effective way forward is to reduce the number of tools and the amount of manual effort IT teams invest in monitoring and managing the cloud. They’re calling for a single platform that can provide end-to-end observability. However, that won’t solve all their problems, as IT teams still need to interpret vast quantities of data quickly enough to understand what it’s telling them. That’s why AI is becoming so critical in this area, enabling IT teams to instantly turn observability data into actionable insights that can be used to optimise services and resolve issues before users are impacted.

5.Manual, DIY approaches

Many organisations take a DIY approach to observability, manually building instrumentation into application code as they go along. Not only is this a time-consuming process that takes up team resources that could be better spent elsewhere, but it also usually creates blind spots. While newer systems often have observability built in, many older ones don’t, as IT teams would need to go back to their existing applications and instrument them retrospectively. This leaves a fragmented view of the environment, with research showing digital teams only have full observability into 11% of their application and infrastructure environments. This means teams won’t have the full context of what is happening and how IT service performance impacts users and the business. It’s therefore essential to automate the process of instrumentation to ensure that observability is end-to-end and continuous. This will enable IT teams to focus their efforts on more valuable tasks that drive better outcomes for the business.

Observability is essential to success for modern organisations, providing the insight they need to ensure services deliver the frictionless experiences that users and the business demand. As such, these five observability blind spots pose a significant threat to the business if they remain unchecked. AI and automation hold the key to closing observability gaps and enabling IT teams to reduce risk and drive better business outcomes.

Abdi Essa is regional vice president, UK&I, for Dynatrace

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft Power BI: Enabling data culture through innovation

Esri
Microsoft
3 min
A peek into Microsoft Power BI’s roadmap revealing exciting capabilities like real-time analytics and organisational goals tracking

Businesses using Microsoft’s cloud services may be familiar with Power BI –  a business analytics service that aims to provide interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with a simple experience helping end users create their own reports and dashboards. Power BI is part of the Power Platform which is a set of low-code tools consisting of business intelligence, app development, bot development and process automation applications. In a world where everything is constantly changing, the Power Platform enables subject matter experts to keep up with business needs.

Today, data comes not just from transactional systems of record, but from the real world – whether it is the devices people use, to everyday human interaction. Power BI’s mission is to make access to data paramount to every business operation through its solutions and empowers individuals, teams and organizations to drive a data culture. This sentiment is further established by Arun Ulagarathchagan, Corporate Vice President of the Power BI team, adding “Our vision here in the Power BI team is to help you drive a data culture where everyone can make every decision with data.” So what can organisations expect to see next in the pipeline? Microsoft is bringing performance management to Power BI for the first time. Organisations strive to achieve certain goals, and today, goals are largely data-driven. Power BI helps make those goals more accessible and personalized in existing workflows. This means that since many teams’ data, analytics and business logic is already reported in Power BI, they can now instantly connect it to their personal/department goals. It is also worth noting that Goals is natively integrated into the Microsoft Teams experience. The goals algorithm is also AI powered, so organisations can better understand how they’re doing and where are the opportunities for improvement. Finally, Microsoft is working towards integrating it with Power Automate, so organisations can define business processes that get automatically triggered as the goals change status. Goals will soon be available as a mobile experience too, so teams can stay up to date and take action in real-time. On that note, another major announcement from Microsoft features real-time analytics. Today, data is captured from everywhere and synthesizing it in real-time allows for maximum impact. Power BI has been a pioneer in real time analytics from the start with a simple vision – that the distinctions between batch, real time, and streaming data today will disappear over time. Power BI will launch Streaming Data Flows soon, allowing every business a simple low-code way to work with real-time data.

Amir Netz, CTO Power BI concludes “Our vision is to empower everyone in the world with data, and not just the people sitting in offices, but people who are working in the real world, people who are moving things, creating things, producing things with their hands. And for this, we have to think again about how we deliver data to help them make better decision

 

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