Too Many IT Tools—what’s Your Number?

The number. Someone in your organization likely knows your number. Some talk about it openly and seek to make it better. Others avoid the topic as an uncomfortable reminder of failed projects doomed to incompletion due to unfinished migrations or unexpected integration failures.

I’m talking about the number of different IT operations tools owned across your organization. I’ve heard numbers as high as twenty-two and as low as five in the last two years.

The rapid expansion and adoption of so many tools is easy to understand. Over the last twenty years, the landscape of IT operations tools has exploded from a handful of network-centric solutions to hundreds of vendors and tools for every technology, team, and role in your organization. Teams found value in technology-specific tools, some providing only ‘monitoring,’ others offering improved ‘administration’ and a few promising both. The vast array of capabilities, often accompanied by aggressive sales and marketing, meant that individual technology teams often ended up with multiple tools within each silo. Factor in mergers and acquisitions, and tool sprawl expands further still.

Over the last twelve years, we at Loop1 have helped our clients with countless ‘tools displacement’ projects. More recently, that trend evolved into ‘Tool Rationalization’ projects, or ‘Tool Consolidation’ in more reactive organizations. The former conducts reviews of tools and capabilities to reduce costs while finding value in solutions best aligned to their needs. The latter are typically motivated by purely financial objectives and neglect to consider the optimal business outcome.

In our Loop1 Monitoring Maturity Model (L1M3), pronounced ‘lime,’ we provide a model that supports both the cost-savings of fewer tools and the increased cost savings of fewer vendors.

The essential component of our maturity model that explicitly addresses both tool rationalization and tool consolidation is what we call “Feature Awareness.” Lack of feature awareness, or failure to fully understand the capabilities of a given tool, is what leads to teams owning tools with overlapping features. Extend that issue across all of your technology teams, and it’s no surprise that organizations end up with far too many tools and far too little understanding of capabilities.

The sheer number of tools, each with a range of possible integrations or vendor-specific limitations, exasperates IT professionals, DevOps, and administrators. Staff who spend countless hours attempting to correlate all of the IT tools data for business use while also managing the IT environment. Incident detection and incident resolution are entangled in the web of teams and tools that lack the time and training to make the tools useful.

Spiraling tool spending contributes to the bad reputation of  ‘Silos’ in IT. But I disagree. Silos are valuable. They represent the strength of expert knowledge, deep experience, and powerful troubleshooting skills. The problem isn’t the existence of IT silos. The problem is a lack of communication between silos. We need ‘Fully Meshed Silos.’ Silos that share information openly and easily across integrated and correlated tools platforms.

Fortunately, over the last 15 years, SolarWinds has assembled a robust, comprehensive, integrated, and automatically correlated set of tools unique in the industry. The Orion platform offers each of your teams the functionality and visibility they need as a natively and intelligently integrated tool easily shared between all of your teams.

From storage to network, virtualization, servers, database, containers, applications, and ITSM, SolarWinds Orion is the single platform that truly serves all teams while simultaneously creating the fully meshed fabric of IT tools data.

Sound too good to be true? Get in touch. Our team can give you a tour of Orion AppStack and PerfStack, as well as other features of the SolarWinds solution that can empower your teams to collaborate and operate, driving excellence in your business.

See for yourself the path to highly effective teams, and how to create your own ‘Fully Meshed Silos’.

Bill Fitzpatrick, Loop1 Chairman and CEO

Bill Fitzpatrick
Chairman and CEO | Loop1

AUTHOR

An accomplished engineer with a gift for translating technical concepts into plain English and a sharp business sense, Bill Fitzpatrick is building on the success of Loop1 Systems to execute an ambitious vision for the future. Bill co-founded Loop1 Systems, a SolarWinds Authorized Partner, in 2009. He played an integral role in building the nearly 10-year-old business into what is today, a bustling, Austin-based company counting more than 200 of the Fortune 500 as clients. In the summer of 2017, Bill assumed full ownership of Loop1 Systems and has since laser-focused on one simple goal: to bring the truth to light for each Loop1 client.

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