My father-in-law was laid off from his computer operations job in 1972 when the insurance company where he worked decided that computer systems weren\u2019t necessary for the business of insurance. The organization didn\u2019t see how those early IBM systems benefited the business.Needless to say, that company is no longer around.However, is that view\u00a0very different\u00a0from the view of much of business management today? IT is often perceived as a necessary evil and purely a cost center, with at best an unclear context for establishing value. To combat this, IT has to focus on the needs of the business, and to have mechanisms for tying technology infrastructure back to the business and the business objectives. For instance, understanding how a particular server process benefits - or harms - specific business processes helps to streamline operations and inform IT executives in making value recommendations to the business. Automating this linkage and providing views of the information to the lines of business can help create a powerful link between the business and technology.NetQoS has focused its newest version of SuperAgent on providing high-level perspectives on service-level objectives. NetQoS has two primary products: Reporter\/Analyzer for planning and optimization, and SuperAgent for troubleshooting application-based services across a network. The new release of SuperAgent takes this capability one step further by mapping application service performance to business priorities. Using a typical dashboard approach, the product provides a view into business processes that executives can understand and use in their day-to-day management of business operations.IT executives also benefit from personalized attention. For instance, the executive responsible for inventory management needs to know that the business process is running well without having specific knowledge of how it is implemented. When issues occur with the process, the IT team needs to know that one of the key business processes is affected and what is causing that impact. With SuperAgent and products like it, users from executives to operations staff can drill into problems to see specifically what areas of technology - for example, network links, LANs, server farms or load balancers - are causing the problem, and can use that information to decide on resolution strategy.With a configured service-level management tool like SuperAgent, business managers and IT are able to see which servers, networks, and processes comprise their business processes. This makes managing to objectives clear and links infrastructure engineering to the business needs. Current business issues also become clear, and IT can become the hero for fixing those issues, sometimes before they cause a real problem.NetQoS\u2019s SuperAgent is one of a growing number of products illustrative of this trend. Its strengths are simplicity, clarity of focus, the fact that it comes with a rich background in performance management and its partnership with Reporter\/Analyzer for capacity and service planning. SuperAgent starts at $34,500 and a typical installation costs $100,000 to $120,000.