Data Sherlock: The Change of Perspective

In this, our first case, our Data Sherlock was in a room full of very experienced executives who, in total, had more than 100 years’ experience and were responsible for providing key infrastructure and services to 100+ unique websites around the world. They were all there to discuss allocation of resources among their disparate groups to best support their customers’ websites. With so many websites to support, the intent was that the sites be treated as equals. Yet all of the executives knew that there would be a hierarchy when it came to how the resources would be distributed.

Upon arrival, our Data Sherlock first sat back and listened as executive after executive stood up and ranted about why their area was the most critical. It went something like this:

“The Network is the backbone of communication and thus we need to double my investment so we can create redundant services.”


“Everything is going mobile, and we need to adopt standards for our mobile applications in order to make sure these devices don’t introduce undue risk to our environment.”

This went on for 90 minutes, until the room was exhausted and in need of a break. Initially, our Data Sherlock was only granted 15 minutes of presentation time. This was now reduced to five as the other executives were extremely protective of their time and unwilling to allow an outsider to add any value. However, they were in need of a break, so our professional was invited to speak briefly, without a presentation.

Our Data Sherlock confidently walked to the front of the room and indicated that a presentation wasn't necessary and frankly, five minutes was too long as the challenge the room was facing was already clear.

Laughter broke out immediately; comments were made about arrogance and ignorance, and there were a few other off-color remarks. Our Data Sherlock just stood there, resolute, until the executives had their fun or got tired of jeering.

Finally, the senior executive in the room tried to hide his laughter and disbelief and mustered a semiprofessional “Please tells us what our challenge is.”

Our Data Sherlock calmly said, “Your perspectives are mistaken and you have lost sight of why you are here.”

Well, that did it. The room, which was once filled with laughter, was now overwhelmed by shouting, with more than one person throwing paper at our Data Sherlock, who just stood there waiting.

The senior executive was no longer laughing, but he was also not joining the fray of the others, and instead chose to slam his hand on the table hard, which caused the room to freeze immediately. The executive warned our Data Sherlock that they were on thin ice, but he was intrigued by the comment and even more by the confidence that was portrayed. “Please tell us what you mean by our perspectives and the fact that we have forgotten why we are here,” he said.

“Easy,” said our Data Sherlock. “In the last two to three minutes we have heard all of you scream about how important your network, app, server, etc. is. You saw, as I did, the passion each one of these executives holds for their world and their service. That is what I mean by the wrong perspective.

“Next, to hear the room talk about themselves for 90 minutes before I was called to the front was disappointing, because I thought we were all here to talk about your 100+ customer sites. Yet none of your executives talked about them, what they need, or what they think of your service.”

The room went silent with this realization as the senior executive looked each member in the eye. 

“Great point, please continue,” said the senior executive. “You have all of our attention now, I promise.”

“First, let me assure you that the situation is not dire, as you have a tremendously talented team and all they need to do is change their perspective. This is how I recommend you do it.”

Our Data Sherlock explained the following as each executive took copious notes.

“First, I strongly suggest you create a top-down service view of your 100+ locations. You should have a single view across all your sites with key performance indicators. This view should be shared with each site individually, and yet you can all see the full 100+.”

“Once you have this view, you can start to evaluate the services that your team offers as they relate to and are consumed by the sites. This top-down view with drill-down capabilities will give you the perspective of your sites individually and collectively like never before.

“Finally, as you look to create this cascade of information, you can start to layer in all the machine data that you have been missing to date. For example, you will be able to tell if a certain cell phone is popular in one area, or see what applications are popular, or see what service peaks in different areas at different times.

“In the end, you need a platform that is flexible, works in real time and has the ability to layer the service view for your key sites and integrate all the machine data produced at each site. The only solution for this is Splunk Enterprise + IT Service Intelligence.”

With that, our Data Sherlock said thank you and calmly walked out of the room. The room was silent for the first time, until the door had shut. At that point, our Data Sherlock could hear the executives talking about the websites and the KPIs they should track, and acknowledging that their perspectives had been wrong.

Case Closed.

Z – Data Sherlock

Michael Zuber

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