Your monitoring strategy is a money pit, according to new research

money tunnel

Business leaders have relied on monitoring tools since the advent of computing. In an ideal world, these tools help engineers improve their technology’s continuous availability. Modern tools should give teams a real-time understanding of how their digital apps and services are performing, so they can attend to incidents and outages.

There’s another promise of modern monitoring tools. They should free up time for business-motivated  innovation. By providing rapid incident detection, tools should relieve engineers from tedious monitoring activities so they can provide the bigger, better, smarter technologies that make consumers’ lives more convenient and more fun, whilst improving the visibility of what innovation will matter. But are monitoring tools living up to this promise? And are investments paying off?

Not even close, according to the 2022 Moogsoft State of Availability Report. In fact, the inaugural report -- which investigates availability KPIs, teams and tools to uncover insights and best practices -- shows that monitoring is draining corporate resources. The problem: Leaders invest in far too many monitoring solutions, and teams spend too much time monitoring all of their tools instead of planning for the future. Worse, leaders are unaware that there’s an issue.

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Consider the modern monitoring problem our data revealed:

Problem #1: Organizations have too many monitoring tools.
Monitoring tools are important. They constantly scan organizations’ large, complex IT infrastructures, looking for data anomalies that could signal performance-affecting incidents or outages. If the tool finds such anomalies, it notifies engineering teams so they can mitigate the issues.

While the concept behind monitoring solutions makes sense, the ballooning number of tools companies use doesn’t. The State of Availability report found that engineers manage an average of 16 monitoring tools and those with higher SLAs manage even more (up to 40 different tools!). For starters, all of those tools carry license, management and maintenance fees that quickly add up.

But companies pay an even higher price for over-monitoring.

Problem #2: Engineers are stuck in monitoring cycles.

Monitoring solutions should save engineers time. In theory, they streamline incident management so engineers can move on to more gratifying, more valuable work like improving the customer experience. But data from the report shows this simply is not the case.

Teams spend by far the most time monitoring over any other task. And no wonder. Just managing single-domain tools that do not integrate eats up time, but this time commitment is particularly problematic in the event of an incident or outage. Teams must sift through data from disparate tools and piece together information -- before they can even get to work on the issue.

Problem #3: Leaders underestimate monitoring time and overestimate innovation time.

Based on report data, business leaders are unaware of how much time their current monitoring strategy consumes. While engineers say they spend much of their days stuck in monitoring cycles, business leaders believe this time and attention is distributed evenly between monitoring and other responsibilities.

Unfortunately, the other activities that naturally fall off of the to-do list are often company-differentiating initiatives like automation, cloud transformation and development. Overlooking that kind of value creation should be a wake-up call to today’s execs.

The solution: Focus investments on tech stability.

If you are a business leader, the fundamental first step in breaking wasteful monitoring cycles is to align with your engineering team. How much time do they spend on monitoring? Is your organization, like most, stuck in a monitoring cycles -- at the expense of innovation and experimentation?

To break this cycle, stop throwing money at monitoring and instead focus your investments on building tech stability. Here are some top tips:

  1. Audit your tools. Document your existing tools, the frequency of their use and their overall cost.
  2. Decrease your tool footprint. Invest in your technology assets that matter most to your availability goals and divest in the ones that do little support your team’s efforts. Fewer tools will reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO), dampen noise and decrease alert fatigue.
  3. Introduce an artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps). An AIOps solution gives leadership and teams a central point of engagement for all monitoring activities. This tool essentially monitors your monitoring tools. It automates noise reduction, correlation and collaboration across your entire incident workflow.
  4. Reduce your tech dept. With an AIOps solution, your teams should benefit from less unplanned work and more automated processes. Use this time to pay down tech debt and automate toil to relieve even more time.
  5. Invest in your future. Increase customer satisfaction by innovating the customer experience. And then set your teams up for future success by adopting DevOps capabilities that will lead to higher organizational performance.

In this economy, business leaders cannot afford to over-invest -- especially if these investments impede progress instead of improving it. Instead of wasting scarce resources, leaders must focus investments on the tech stability that improves critical uptime and finds time for engineers to innovate the customer experience.

Photo credit: Nomad_Soul/Shutterstock

Phil Tee is CEO and founder of Moogsoft.

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