My new report went live this week for Forrester clients – Predictions For 2014: Technology Monitoring. Normally I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to predictions, especially in regards to technology, because while they are interesting to read they can cause confusion and unnecessary deliberation for a buyer/strategist if they are not in context. So my aim for this report was to provide some concrete advice for I&O professionals in 2014 in regards to their technology monitoring (user experience, applications and infrastructure) strategy or approach.

So my top level advice is that during 2014, I&O has to concentrate on monitoring business technology which serves external customers. In fact this is not just a call for I&O professionals but also the rest of the business including marketing and eBusiness professionals. Why? Well just take a look at the near weekly media reports on “computer glitches” during 2013. These glitches meant lost revenue but more seriously impacted the brand image. Technology fuels business and this means that monitoring has to be a strategic business concern. So to avoid your company being the next computer glitch headline you should:

  1. Make sure that your monitoring solutions cover mobile and web fueled business services. From a mobile perspective, your monitoring solutions should provide holistic insight in regards to mobile devices and applications in terms of availability and performance down to the network/carrier level. From a web perspective, in depth web application monitoring down to the code level is a must.
  2. Ensure that your monitoring approach includes end user experience monitoring. Ultimately applications and infrastructure can seemingly be performing well but what really matters is the end users/customers' experience. Many solutions offer both synthetic (simulated user) and real user monitoring. You need both to ensure holistic monitoring here. Real user monitoring can help to identify unpredicted customer behavior caused by a configuration update error – such as when Delta Air Lines website incorrectly began offering ultra-low fares at the end of last year. 

  3. Realize that monitoring is not only for live/production environments. 2013 was the year in which the word DevOps was etched into our brains in the IT world. Every organization was talking about it and at times it sounded like some mythical savior that could cure all IT suffering. I understand why it’s important and for me it’s an important evolution for enterprise IT. At its core, it’s about the need for continuous, rapid delivery of modern applications. This means that development, test and pre-production environments are becoming more fluid and you should be utilizing monitoring solutions earlier in the application development lifecycle. This will help with identifying configuration issues before they hit a live environment and more importantly, before they are experienced and in some cases exploited by your revenue generating customers. 

So what monitoring solution predictions do I expect during 2014 to help with the above call to action? Here are some that I have summarized from my report:

  • Automation will be an important feature of any monitoring solution. Specifically run book automation features that are triggered on a monitored event will be a necessity in order to ensure rapid remediation to any business service issues.
  • Further development of pattern analytics to complement log-file analytics. For the last five years, log-file analytics has been a major focus area in the area of IT operational analytics. During 2014 we expect further development with pattern analytics or features that can make insights based on data in-stream or in-flight on the network.
  • Nonrelational data stores will become a core solution architecture component. Simply relational databases can’t store all the data which you need to monitor economically meaning that we expect more solution vendors to develop or move towards nonrelational data store architecture.
  • Re-emergence of business service management (BSM) features. Increasing technology innovation is leading to greater complexity in business service architecture. This means that any features that simplify the management of complex business services become a must. Hence why we predict the re-emergence of BSM features that will be more successful than previous attempts, as these new BSM approaches will have automated discovery and mapping of technology to business services. 
  • Monitoring solutions will begin to be sold to non-IT teams. The business priority of developing business technology, systems and processes to win, serve, and retain customers will mean that technology monitoring solutions will be appealing to marketing and eBusiness professionals during 2014. We expect solution vendors to start marketing and engaging with these roles.

In all the cases above we can point to solution vendors who are embracing the above predictions but as always I would like to hear your comments and thoughts. If you have read my full report and you are a Forrester client then I would be more than happy to speak further via an inquiry also.