Creating a More Predictive IT Culture
Being reactive, the opposite of predictive, is common in many IT organizations. It is also essential when operating vital technologies where things can break. The ability to quickly react and fix highly complex technical problems is a critical skill. However, this mode of operation should not be the foundational strategy of a service delivery organization. The concept is captured succinctly by author K. M. MacAulay who wrote, “You can’t prevent what you can’t predict.” A “predictive” culture is one in which people are always thinking ahead, continually asking “what does this mean” and are grounded in analysis.
Every IaaS provider, including Peak 10, has monitoring services that provide essential trending analysis. These tools form the bedrock of predictive analytics for your current environment, but what about the things on your whiteboard? What are you thinking about to support your next business move and changes to mission-critical applications?
At Peak 10, we have critical people called Technical Assistance Engineers (TAEs) in each market. They support many of your technical needs and have the responsibility to be “looking over the horizon.” They are concerned about what’s on your whiteboard.
So how do we enable this predictive capability? One approach is a customer-facing program called the JTR or Joint Technical Review. This program enables us to set aside critical time to review and assess our customers’ environments. We re-baseline their current environments through an in-depth collaborative review of both the infrastructure and application layers to ensure that we are effectively supporting current needs. More important, we are prepared for the next change in our customers’ businesses. This enables us to predict “if you do ’x’, this means ’y’.” It also it gives our engineers the opportunity to proactively assess the overall architecture and management, helping avoid problems down the road and prepare for business changes.
I admit that JTR is a bit of a geek mind meld. But it is an effective program for culture change―from reactive to predictive ―and fosters a better partnership between customers and their IT infrastructure partners.