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The Right Tools for the Job

Over the course of my IT career I've noticed that the tools available to us provide monitoring and visibility into our network, servers, and applications have improved and matured greatly. There are a plethora of these tools that have made the lives of administrators, operations, and help desk teams much easier by providing them the ability to see issues within the network or applications before or as soon as they happen. This greatly reduces the time to resolution and provides a better end user and customer experience.

However, one of the downsides is the over-tooling of an IT organization. The term used for this is tool fatigue. Different groups within IT implement a variety of tools which tend to overlap in functionality. Many times a tool was implemented reactively to help solve a specific problem leading to a collection of various tools over time. One of the issues with this is that these tools do require care and feeding. The original purpose was to reduce the time IT spent troubleshooting issues, however with an abundance of tools that each require care and feeding they start to become neglected, reducing their overall effectiveness and thus leading to a negative opinion of that tool. Many times when this happens another tool is acquired and implemented and the cycle starts over again.

The way we approach solving this dilemma is to be proactive. IT as a whole needs to identify and document the requirements they need from a tool and then look to find the one that can meet those requirements. There may not be one tool for everything but in these cases look for those one-off tools that can complement and even integrate with the primary tool.

The goal is to have only the tools necessary so that they can be managed effectively. The team should be forward-thinking and understand what the overall organization’s goals are with regards to IT strategy to ensure that is taken into account. An example of this would be cloud adoption. Many of the tools on the market integrate with the underlying network and server infrastructure. With cloud technologies you lose out on having that type of access to the underlying infrastructure, reducing the effectiveness of that tool when workloads are shifted to a cloud platform.

At the end of the day treat it as a tier one application. Bring together the various groups in IT to work together to find a solution that meets all of the needs. This will lead to a more efficient IT organization and better investment in the long run.

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