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Adopt a Growth Mindset with your Monitoring Practices

March 5, 2021 No Comments

Featured article by Nilabh Mishra, Manager of Customer Success Engineering at Catchpoint

chartMonitoring Matters

We live in an age where end-user experience is everything. If the end-users’ experience is poor with your website or applications, your prospects will look elsewhere. Monitoring tools keeps that from happening by achieving two high-level goals:

– Triage. These tools spot problems as they occur; and help you find the root cause and fix the problem quickly.

– Optimize. Monitoring also allows you to spot longer-term trends with infrastructure, devices, software and so on and find ways to improve end-user experience.

Our recent CIO New Normal Survey shows how the highest-performing enterprises have committed to monitoring as a way to achieve excellence. The survey found that enterprises with the highest revenue growth, profit and employee satisfaction were highly focused on reliability:

– Nearly all have established a site reliability engineering methodology (SRE).

– 98 percent have committed to tools that monitor both their employees’ and their customers’ journeys.

– These top-tier enterprises are 2.8 times as likely to use specific monitoring tools.

But using monitoring effectively isn’t easy and gets harder every day. First, the network has grown much more complex, with hybrid cloud, edge computing, SaaS apps, 5G and many other innovative advances. Further, internal methodologies have grown more complex, with DevOps, DevSecOps, CICD, containers, microservices and other shifts. And, of course, end-user expectations are becoming more exacting every day.

Against this backdrop, enterprises must move beyond simply committing to monitoring. They must learn how to monitor well. In my experience, that comes down to adopting the right mindset.

Tools Matter. Mindset Matters More.

Listing every type of monitoring tool is beyond the scope of this article, but a high-level inventory includes:

– Employee device monitoring

– Proactive experience testing and monitoring

– Network & Infrastructure monitoring

– Global user sentiment monitoring

Using the best tools matter, of course, we have found that an enterprises’ monitoring mindset is even more important. Here are some common “mindset traps” that we’ve seen enterprises fall into:

– Siloed. This is the classic elephant and the three men conundrum. If you are a network manager, monitoring probably means packets. For an IT person, it means infrastructure. For DevOps, it means applications. And so on.

But none of these are truly correct. The real answer is that you need to monitor end-user experience. Yes, you’ll need visibility into everything listed above—and more—but if your siloed focus is too strong, you’ll miss the big picture.

– Decentralized. This is similar to the siloed mindset trap. Decentralizing an organization has many advantages, especially in terms of achieving agility, but when it comes to monitoring, it often leads to lots of narrowly-focused mindsets at the expense of a high-level, organization-wide mindset. Decentralized monitoring strategies lead to a wide variety of monitoring approaches, a large number of monitoring tools that don’t interoperate with each other, and widely varying goals and objectives.

A common situation with decentralized monitoring is when the user reports a problem (“my email is slow”), but none of the decentralized groups (network, infrastructure, devices, software) see any problems.

– Rigidity. When monitoring teams become too rigidly focused on specific metrics that are divorced from the real goal (ensure optimum end-user experience), they can quickly develop a false sense of security. The network team focuses on throughput and uptime SLAs. The DevOps team focuses on meeting specified release cadences. IT focuses on infrastructure availability SLAs.

This is all well and good, of course, but when everyone sees their job as meeting SLAs, who is left to worry about the end-user experience?

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