Biz metrics on backburner

Enterprise IT managers trying to get a handle on managing IP-based applications will be challenged further to integrate business intelligence into their management tools.

Back to the main story, Trouble in Paradise

While management vendors struggle to pull together pieces of technology for managing IP application performance, the idea of incorporating business intelligence into the mix gets pushed further into the future.

Management software vendors have lately been promoting their respective visions of how one application can pull bits of data from multiple systems and determine how a slow server, for example, could ultimately impact the customer experience. Yet as more enterprises expand the role of automation and service management in their networks, this business angle seems to be taking a backseat of sorts.

"We take very seriously how IT has to support the business, but in terms of how our systems are reporting to us, we are still measuring the things we are responsible for from an IT perspective," says Martin Webb, manager of data network operations for the province of British Columbia, in Victoria. "We understand what the business wants, but the question for us is still, how do you measure in IT systems the business relevance."

Webb speaks to the challenge facing business analytics vendors and IT management software makers hoping to converge their perspectives into one tool. Business process management vendors such as Fuego and Metastorm, integration vendors such as Tibco Software and SeeBeyond, infrastructure platform vendors such as BEA Systems and Oracle, and business-monitoring specialists such as Celequest are pitching products to correlate system and transactional events with their potential business implications. And the likes of BMC Software, Computer Associates, HP, IBM, Managed Objects, Mercury Interactive, Peregrine Systems and a slew of others are working to bring business-relevant alerts - such as provision a new server to support the expected load of an online fashion show - into management consoles. The problem will most likely be best solved with partnerships.

"I see business management vendors trying to dabble in IT management and see IT management vendors dabbling in business management, but I do not believe there will be a converged solution," says Bill Gassman, a principal analyst at Gartner. "Instead, each area of focus will 'signal' each other of its limitations and needs. Vendors that try to do both will quickly learn that business and IT worlds have very different goals and requirements, and will have problems gaining success at both."

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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