How IT spring cleaning can drive business efficiency in the next normal

SolarWinds Head Geek™, Sascha Giese, discusses how IT professionals can perform a spring clean to improve team performance and drive long-lasting business benefits.


This is a contributed article by Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds


Spring has sprung, and with it the old clichés have emerged—fresh starts, a wiping clean of winter's dreary slate, and an eagerness to embrace optimism. And after last year, we're all for it. For IT professionals and businesses, spring cleaning in 2021 has a restorative weight, allowing organisations to see beyond the worst of the global pandemic and attempt to plan for a brighter future.

It's important, then, for this optimism not to be misplaced and for organisations to embrace this opportunity to properly evaluate their environments and set out on a new path to drive greater business efficiency.

Here, we run through the different ways IT professionals can perform a spring clean to improve team performance and drive long-lasting business benefits.

DevOp-timise for the next normal

The phrase "next normal" has become a part of the cultural lexicon, as commonly heard as "social distancing" and the utterance of "Can you see my screen?" from hopeful Zoom® screen sharers. Now, the next normal seems to be upon us, as UK vaccine rollout continues apace and businesses look to swing open their (physical) doors for the first time in months.

So how can IT pros optimise in preparation for what comes next? First, reflection is key—this means taking the time to evaluate the challenges of the past year and thinking about what the next steps will look like. For example, delivering collaboration among IT teams of all sizes will remain a point of focus, so DevOps can deliver added value and be crucial to a company's success going forward.

Thankfully, DevOps doesn't have to mean a huge financial burden for businesses, and IT pros will be able to create a new stream through shared metrics to deliver straightforward, empirical feedback for all team members and drive better collaboration.

Assess multi-cloud suitability

The multi-cloud approach has seen significant growth in recent years, with an IDG® survey in 2020 finding 55% of all enterprises use two or more public clouds. This is no surprise given the wealth of benefits it offers, including flexibility, reliability, and cost-effective performance optimisation.

This, however, isn't the whole picture—the same IDG survey found 79% of these enterprises struggle to leverage cross-platform synergies. It's clear multi-cloud—as with almost any tech deployment—is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Whether it's right for your organisation depends on two critical things.

First, do you have a capable, DevOps-oriented IT team to manage multi-cloud's extra complexity? If not, do you have the budget to outsource the technical aspects and monitoring of their multi-cloud solution?

If your business can answer in the affirmative to either of these requirements, multi-cloud could become a vital asset as you rebuild after your spring clean.

Embrace APM to manage multi-cloud

If multi-cloud adoption makes sense for your business, an application performance management (APM) solution is an excellent way to proactively manage it, enabling you to monitor application availability, performance, and throughput across the complete cloud application and infrastructure stack. These solutions also allow you to measure the error rate of transactions in the application.

At a minimum, IT pros should look to standardise one APM solution for every cloud environment. However, if you're looking to optimise this approach, IT pros and their organisations should opt for a single APM solution to monitor all apps across cloud platforms consistently instead of using one solution for Google Cloud and another for Azure®. This will minimise complexity and deliver more clarity into the status of an organisation's multi-cloud deployment (bonus points if the same tool can be used for on-premises applications, too).

Break down the walls

We all know the danger of silos in an IT infrastructure, so ensuring all team members are able to monitor application performance across all components and life cycles is key to a spring clean and will reduce the risk of IT pros gaining insight that's less than insightful.

The dissolution of silos is a natural by-product of organisations prioritising an environment's overall quality of service over the specific characteristics of technologies, architecture, and operating styles. With this comes numerous business-wide benefits, which will be particularly felt with regards to applications with many components spanning multiple teams.

Turn to data in your decision-making processes

Collaboration in an organisation only works when everyone's singing from the same hymn sheet; by ensuring everyone agrees on metrics and event analytics, organisations can achieve this sense of harmony.

It's now no surprise to see significant improvements in access and uptime for critical applications, with performance monitoring being used to gain important objective operational data. During their spring cleans, organisations should ensure they have the flexibility to quickly customise and share production performance data, as it'll lead to more effective team interaction and benefit the business as a whole.

The future of technology is full of new opportunities for businesses, and a spring clean is a perfect time for IT pros to examine their environments and embrace methodologies focused on flexibility and continuous process improvement, such as DevOps and APM. With optimism in short supply over the past year, it's time for the next normal and a sunnier outlook for enterprises.

Sascha Giese is one of SolarWinds' Head Geeks™. He has more than 10 years of technical IT experience, four of which have been as a senior pre-sales engineer at SolarWinds. As a senior pre-sales engineer, Giese was responsible for product training SolarWinds channel partners and customers, regularly participated in the annual SolarWinds Partner Summit EMEA, and contributed in the company's professional certification program, SolarWinds Certified Professional. He specialises in Network Monitoring, Server and Application monitoring, and virtualisation management.