With the exponential growth of new technologies, the world is seeing an ever-growing implementation of digital transformation. According to the IDC, 75% of enterprises will launch a digital transformation roadmap by 2023.
To keep up with this fast-paced transformation, your organization must become operationally and organizationally collaborative. Emphasizing collaboration helps teams quickly adapt to the increasingly complex IT infrastructure.
Underlying this collaboration, though, is visibility into the transformation process. You must monitor and measure the effectiveness of innovations at every stage of your digital transformation— and with every group involved.
The importance of visibility to IT and IT service management (ITSM) is nothing new. In order to optimize costs and minimize wasted resources, you need a complete picture of who is using which resources for what purpose.
But gaining visibility in a modern and decentralized cloud infrastructure is complex. It requires you to juggle various cloud vendors, multiple tools, and several configurations — all while trying to keep up with innovations. And maintaining visibility through digital transformation is crucial.
In this article, we’ll discuss why visibility is essential to successful digital transformation and discuss challenges of maintaining visibility as processes change and become less compatible with legacy infrastructure. Then, we’ll cover strategies to achieve dynamic visibility, exploring IT inventory and asset management systems, ITSM tools, and more.
Why Visibility is Essential
The key to a successful digital transformation is having a clear line of sight into the transformation process and visibility at every implementation stage. Visibility can make or break your strategy. Visibility is also critical for your ITSM efforts, helping ensure the various solutions provide value to the end user.
Visibility enables you to categorize the different technologies your organization is using, determine each technology’s benefit to the business, analyze the risks associated with each technology, and establish how your organization will support the technology. This visibility is crucial when you’re making the switch between on-premises, monolithic infrastructure and a distributed, cloud-based infrastructure.
For example, on-site visibility tools won’t work on cloud-based infrastructure, meaning your on-site equipment can no longer be used to diagnose and resolve issues. Since IT infrastructure and processes are now decentralized, you’ll require more information to determine faults. Without proper visibility and cloud-based visibility tools, it’s simply impossible to track issues within your cloud-based infrastructure. During your digital transformation process, you need to determine which cloud-compatible tools your team will be using to gain insights (visibility) into any system issues your teams encounter. Visibility also ensures that IT teams can track and diagnose system issues before they become a bigger problem.
Additionally, maintaining visibility across your digital transformation efforts offers many benefits, including helping monitor your projects’ statuses so you don't get lost in the minute details of your transformation processes. Visibility also enables you to streamline your digital strategy to the company's business objectives and users' needs. This alignment ensures that you maximize your digital investment’s benefits.
As you migrate from legacy to cloud infrastructure, the transition phases may expose your assets to security vulnerabilities. Total visibility enables your IT team to identify and neutralize threats before compromising your transition efforts. Any other issues that might occur, like unexpected downtime, can also be aided by maintaining total visibility. Having clear visibility enables IT to drill down on root causes and quickly resolve incidents before they can negatively affect the user experience.
At the center of digital transformation is a combination of IT solutions and teams working together to translate legacy systems into cloud-based workflows. Getting the right tools is the first step to achieving visibility during the digital transformation process.
Building cloud-based visibility tools on your own is costly and time-consuming. It requires numerous configurations to align multiple business processes. Customizable, out-of-the-box solutions offer a better alternative. They offer the flexibility to meet specific needs without building the tools from the ground up.
These out-of-the-box solutions enable your IT team to automate and achieve dynamic visibility. Let’s explore four groups of cloud-based solutions that companies commonly use to enhance visibility:
- IT inventory and asset management systems
- ITSM tools
- A configuration management database (CMDB)
- Device and application dependency mapping
IT Inventory and Asset Management Systems
A critical aspect of enhancing visibility is documenting your existing hardware and software, determining how relevant it is to your digital transformation strategy, and seeing what needs to retire.
Take stock of your IT assets, such as mobile devices, computers, internet of things (IoT) devices, networking devices, and any other IT equipment across your entire ecosystem. Then, evaluate each asset based on how they contribute to business workflows, maintenance costs, end-of-life timelines, refurbishment needs, warranty deadlines, and required software updates.
If you’re an early-stage enterprise, it may not require much effort to take inventory of your IT equipment. However, as your company scales, you’ll need to add more devices and software to your tech stack.
Automating the discovery, tracking, and maintenance process from the onset makes it much easier to maintain consistent visibility of IT assets as your company grows. A clear map of your IT inventory also helps you understand the trickle-down effect — from service to device — whenever there’s downtime.
IT Service Management (ITSM) Tools
ITSM is a vital component of digital transformation. This approach provides the technology for deploying IT services to your end-users. Having total visibility over your ITSM platform ensures that the system consistently delivers value to end users with minimal downtime.
Having an end-to-end system for implementing and delivering IT services increases the velocity of your digital transformation efforts. As much as cloud technologies can provide vast capabilities, it can also be complex to track, integrate, and tune all the different components available in cloud platforms.
Cloud-based ITSM tools offer a holistic view of how every business function operates. With these tools, you can create repeatable frameworks for running those processes. Using these frameworks helps deliver consistent services while seamlessly adding new tools without negatively affecting the user experience.
A comprehensive ITSM module should provide these core capabilities:
- Service request management
- IT asset management
- Knowledge management
- Incident management
- Change management
Specialized companies can help your IT team integrate these tools into your environment so you don't have to build them in-house. Instead, you can focus on scaling your business.
An example is Device42, which provides continuous and end-to-end digital transformation solutions from cloud migration to workload optimization. Device42 services include infrastructure discovery, dependency mapping, storage discovery, SSL certificate management, software license management, and IP address management.
Device and Application Dependency Mapping
In a decentralized cloud-based environment, it's easy to lose sight of all the IT components connected to your cloud environment. Automated device and application mapping visualize all applications and services deployed to specific devices while providing granular information on all software components powering these dependencies.
Device and application mapping is helpful for continuous visibility into all IT components, how they impact the business, what areas need improvement, and when to retire obsolete technology.
When you have a better view of interdependencies, you can resolve problems much faster. You also reduce risks and service outages to prevent problems from arising.
Configuration Management Database (CMDB)
The primary role of a configuration management database (CMDB) is to store information about a company’s IT ecosystem. It’s typically a standardized file system containing relevant configuration information about your organization’s software and hardware components, the relationship between elements, and how they deliver IT services.
A CMDB generally includes documentation, information about dependencies between configuration items (CIs), risk management policies for IT components, service-level agreements (SLAs), and service and infrastructure ownership data.
The CMDB is essential for visibility because a central data repository lets you visualize dependencies and connect various functions throughout your digital lifecycle.
It’s also a helpful tool in multi-cloud environments for synchronizing various cloud configurations and requirements because to synchronize you need a record of all the services, allocated resources, infrastructure, added or removed users, and migrated data.
A well-maintained CMDB gives you a single point of reference for all moving parts, enables robust internal workflow management, and enhances visibility into your cloud ecosystem.
Maintaining visibility while transforming your digital outlook can be an uphill task due to how fast technology evolves. Having adequate visibility into your ecosystem and adopting the right solutions ensures your organization's digital roadmap is in tandem with innovations and can capitalize on emerging opportunities.
Are you ready to make your digital transformation? Start your free trial of Device42 to see how it can help streamline your IT visibility.