As IT leaders, we are facing an era of unprecedented events. Not only are IT teams still adapting to working and living from home — with many companies now announcing their support for a remote workforce indefinitely — but they’re also facing a novel combination of heightened external pressures from family, friends and colleagues. At the same time, they’re being asked to do invariably more in their daily professional roles in building, delivering, running and supporting technology enabled services to customers, employees and partners. These days business transactions, ecommerce and digital communications are booming, which means there is now a desire to do even more via digital channels.
But if history has taught us anything, it’s that in times of scarcity, innovation is at the forefront. Therefore, it is imperative that we focus on improving IT productivity during these difficult and uncertain times to foster innovation. Great service delivery is a team sport and to support distributed, dynamic IT organizations, here are three key ways to enable effective IT workforces.
Develop a Collaboration Playbook
For an effective IT strategy, organizations need to develop a collaboration playbook that details how people in their organization communicate using channels such as Slack, Microsoft teams, email, trouble ticketing systems and Zoom. It’s essential that people understand which communication channels are most appropriate for the types of issues they face. For example, do you Slack someone to ask them a question or do you join a Zoom call to collaborate live? Outlining a clearly defined process among members of the team on how to best approach communications boosts team productivity through improved collaboration.
Ensure your ‘distributed operations center’ is really built to be distributed and that people can connect from anywhere, at any time.
Given that employees, in many instances, are now mandated to work from home, you’ve effectively distributed your operation centers — seemingly overnight. The crucial question is whether your organization has taken the time to consider how to create a distributed operation center? Have you really thought about reengineering your processes, systems and data strategy to support a remote workforce? If not, I suggest you start by reviewing all of the alerts generated by your systems and understand the gaps in your monitoring solutions so you can get ahead of technical issues before they paralyze your workflows.
Additionally, ask questions like: are you engaging the right person in the resolution process? Are your problems being resolved by one person? Or are you heavily reliant on a war room where 50 people join Zoom and attempt to resolve a problem when it’s already too late? Are your people able to easily connect with others on the team that can assist in the resolution process? Or are they spending needless time trying to determine who can assist? Bottom line, building a distributed operations center is no small task, so now that you’re being forced to build and operate one, let’s figure out how to do it right.
Institute Regular Data-Driven Post-Incident Reviews
Make sure that you’re taking the time to do a post-incident review on a regular basis. Start with a simple question, “what went wrong and how did we not catch this problem?” Use data as a way to score your early detection, your incident response process (MTTA) and recovery time (MTTR). This will help you better refine your processes, identify gaps in your data collection and better understand which of your models are working most effectively in order to predict outages and initiate action based on the questions being asked. Document clear steps on how to prevent this problem in the future — changes in process, data collection or better processes make you proactive. By asking simple questions, you can get a more accurate assessment of whether or not your operations center is moving from being good at reacting to becoming more proactive and predictive.
Modernizing Your IT Operations — It’s a Team Sport
For many organizations across industries, the last 30 years have been spent running IT teams like a manufacturing floor. Specialized technology-focused teams have grown up with disparate tools and processes all in the name of driving IT team productivity and capitalizing on investments. But this sort of siloed IT management has yielded a myriad of operational inefficiencies, resulting in longer mean times to repair and slower resolution times.
In today’s world of instant transactions, real-time communications and high availability, IT teams need to ensure they’re collaborating and communicating effectively. They must build operations centers that are agile and scalable enough to support evolving demands and leverage post-incident reviews to better refine their IT processes. All in all, as networks become more complex and teams increasingly transition to working remotely, communication, transparency and observability become paramount to driving productivity across IT teams.
Learn more about how you can increase IT productivity with Splunk's IT Operations portfolio.