IT Directors face the challenge of providing quality services to support business performance. Business service insights are imperative in order for these teams to ensure that their users have a satisfactory experience when interfacing with applications, systems and processes; however this goal can only be attained through understanding user engagement – both its efficiency/effectiveness and corresponding impact on reaching desired objectives & outcomes.
The Challenge of Low Business Service Visibility
High environmental complexities can result in low business service visibility, leading to service outages and degraded user experience and service performance. As a consequence, this can diminish business engagement and productivity. Without good visibility, it can be challenging to determine when an issue is occurring, where it is originating from, and how to fix it. Low visibility can also make it difficult to track service usage and performance, which can impact decision-making and resource allocation.
The diagram below represents a partial view of the intricate network of services, software, and hardware that make an online banking service function. From user-facing interfaces (see shaded area in the diagram below) to underlying cloud and physical infrastructure, the interconnected hierarchy of technologies is vast and complex. Attempting to gain visibility and manage user-facing business services from the depths of this massive infrastructure can be daunting. Later in this article, we will explore a top-down approach that puts IT teams in a better position of control and contribution to business outcomes by prioritizing business service instrumentation.
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Bottom-Up Modernization Approach
IT teams often embark on infrastructure modernization projects to improve service visibility, remove constraints, and contain complexity. One approach to modernizing IT infrastructure is a bottom-up approach that begins with consolidating and standardizing tools, and dealing with the massive volume, variety, and velocity of data generated from complex hybrid IT environments.
The first step in this approach is to consolidate and standardize tools and data across the IT environment. This can be a daunting task as there can be hundreds of different tools and technologies in use across the organization, each with its own data format and requirements. Once the tools and data have been consolidated, the next step is to contextualize the data, which involves defining granular data relationships starting with data-to-data relationships, data-to-device relationships, device-to-device relationships, and then finally devices-to-services relationships. Building these relationships is a time and resource-intensive process and can take months to years to build up to the needed business service visibility.
Limitations of Bottom-Up Modernization Approach
While the bottom-up approach to modernization is thorough and enables in-depth service visibility, it is not without its limitations. It can be resource, time, and cost-intensive, and organizations with lean IT shops may find it difficult to implement. Moreover, it can take a considerable amount of time to achieve the desired service visibility, during which time organizations may experience major business impact and outages.
The sheer magnitude of infrastructure that needs to be contended with when working with a bottom-up approach can be overwhelming. For instance, as shown in the earlier diagram, a full-service commercial bank may have hundreds or even thousands of software components, hardware devices, and underlying infrastructure working together across a hybrid cloud environment to provide its 21 online banking services . There could be multiple clouds, data centers, storage arrays, networking equipment, and other supporting hardware such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and cooling systems. Given the potential magnitude of infrastructure, a bottom-up approach can be an insurmountable task for many organizations.
Top-Down Instrumentation Approach
However, there is an alternative top-down approach to provide teams with a fast path to service visibility and performance insights. This path prioritizes instrumenting business services from the user’s perspective in all available manners. Instrumentation is the deployment of monitoring technology against key points of service engagement to gain visibility into the user’s experience with business services; examples range from web applications to transportation ticket machines.
Supply insights from the beginning through the end of a transaction. It’s no longer sufficient to map services based only on technology infrastructure. To truly enable improvements in user experience, reduce mean time to resolve (MTTR) and mean time to identify (MTTI), and ultimately enable the business to grow, efforts must begin with a focus on user experience. Pinpointing service degradation or outages must be from the perspective of users, not solely from the infrastructure. Business context and cycles, usage patterns, and historical trends are vital data elements for proactively addressing potential negative impacts on the user experience. Solutions need to act on this in real time and provide these elements to architecture, development, and design teams for core system enhancements.
Shown below are three top-down business service monitoring examples, including banking, retail, and transportation. Elements in the service views represent key points and flow of user engagement for each business and are colored according to their availability and performance status..
Online-Banking Service—Monitoring 21 Points of User Engagement
The online banking screenshot below shows services and sub-services that millions of customers interact with daily. Online banking is a critical service that customers rely on for managing their finances, paying bills, making transactions, and more. Any disruption or slowdown in the service can quickly lead to frustration and even financial losses for customers. That’s why having a top-down view of the online banking service is essential to identify and fix issues before they impact customers’ satisfaction and the business’s bottom line. With Ceeview’s service monitoring platform, businesses can monitor and optimize their online banking services to deliver a smooth and secure experience for customers.
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Service visibility is a critical aspect of ensuring that online banking services are meeting their business objectives and regulatory requirements. However, service visibility is not complete without understanding whether the services are operating in compliance with the service level agreements (SLAs) that define their required performance. SLA compliance monitoring and reporting provide the necessary insights for IT teams to proactively manage their SLAs and stay ahead of potential service disruptions, demonstrating their commitment to delivering against business requirements. With Ceeview, IT teams can proactively manage their SLAs, providing insights to important questions such as SLA compliance status, trending breaches, compliance/breach history for past SLA periods, and more.
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Retail eCommerce Service—Monitoring 27 Points of User Engagement
The retail eCommerce screenshot below shows the hierarchy of services and sub-services that customers interact with while shopping online. With the rise of eCommerce, retailers face intense competition, and customers have high expectations for a seamless shopping experience. Even a small slowdown or issue can result in lost sales and dissatisfied customers. That’s why having a top-down view of the retail eCommerce service is crucial to ensure customers can easily find and purchase products. Ceeview helps retailers monitor and optimize their eCommerce services to deliver a smooth customer experience.
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Civilian Transportation Service—Monitoring 28 Points of User Engagement
The civilian transportation screenshot below shows the hierarchy of services and sub-services that passengers rely on during their travel journey. In the transportation industry, delays and disruptions can be costly both for the business and for passengers who rely on timely and efficient transportation. With a top-down view of the transportation service, businesses can identify issues quickly and take corrective actions before they escalate. Ceeview’s service monitoring platform helps businesses in the transportation industry monitor and optimize their services to ensure passengers have a seamless travel experience.
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Check out the video below to see how Ceeview’s top-down service visibility can take shape in multiple forms. With Ceeview’s GPS-enabled dynamic dashboards, you can track and monitor the location and movement of anything, anywhere, and in the context of your mission-critical business services.
For example, transportation service models can be complemented with real-time GPS tracking, allowing you to stay on top of your fleet of service vehicles. This capability can help you operate more efficiently and enhance the customer experience.
Benefits of Top-Down Instrumentation Approach
Top-down points-of-business-engagement instrumentation will produce immediate and insightful KPIs that inform business productivity and health. When KPIs reveal trouble, IT teams can be directed to the prevention of serious business impact.
The top-down technique enables more expedient service visibility than a bottom’s-up approach in the face of complexity and change. Many of the interfaces (points of business engagement) that users use and the business is driven by are relatively constant, while the underlying infrastructure supporting these interfaces is in a state of constant change.
Implementation of Top-Down Approach
In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the top-down approach, let’s take a look at two real-world examples of organizations that have successfully implemented this approach with the help of Ceeview. The following case studies will illustrate how Zurich Linie and SRZ Protection & Rescue Organization leveraged Ceeview’s service monitoring solution to gain visibility into their business services and drive better business outcomes..
Ceeview’s Observability Platform Improves Service Visibility for Zurich Linie
Zurich Linie faced an inefficient swivel chair management approach with monitoring systems and departments being distributed. By integrating 16 vendor management systems into a single view using Ceeview’s Intelligent Observability Platform and integration platform 1Gateway, Zurich Linie established a single point of truth for their transportation infrastructure and services. This led to significantly improved service visibility, customer experience, and business performance, including the ability to show the current location and movement of transport vehicles on Ceeview dynamic dashboards.
Ceeview Improves Service Visibility for SRZ Protection & Rescue Organization
SRZ Protection & Rescue is the largest protection and rescue organization in Switzerland, comprising fire brigade, paramedics, civil protection, operations control center, and fire police. With 750 personnel and up to 230 vehicles, the organization’s services involve a multitude of intricate and interdependent actions that must be taken both on the frontline and at the back-office level for missions to be completed successfully. To support high-performing mission execution, SRZ Operations Control Center employed Ceeview’s Intelligent Observability Platform. With Ceeview, SRZ gained service visibility across their entire operation, enabling them to identify and address issues before they escalated.
The need for business service visibility is critical for organizations seeking to support business objectives. While a bottom-up modernization approach can provide significant benefits, it is time-consuming and costly, making it a challenging option for many organizations with lean IT shops. On the other hand, a top-down approach with selective monitoring instrumentation can provide immediate and insightful KPIs to inform business productivity and health.
By prioritizing business service instrumentation, IT teams can gain visibility into the state of business applications and services that drive business performance, ensuring that services are fit to deliver against business objectives and outcomes. Ultimately, the choice between a bottom-up and top-down approach depends on the specific needs and constraints of each organization, but both approaches can help IT teams provide high-quality services that enable business productivity and performance.