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What You Need is This Tool!

Have you heard that "This latest tool gathers critical data and uses clever techniques to deliver IT operations answers"? "Only this next generation tool can get the answers, you need".

I attended a demonstration of just such a tool with a client. The sales engineer ran through all the great features, rotating graphics, zooming in and out, all very clever. Thank goodness the client asked, "But how do I use this to fix problems". The sales engineer had little idea and, ironically, I bailed the guy out by proposing potential workflows.

Before you dash out and purchase the latest killer tool, I'd ask:

* Could we start with something much smaller to learn lessons?

* Does this tool just generate more variants of data we already have, and don't know how to use?

* While the AI stuff sounds great, can you talk me through workflows that will deliver answers within 4 weeks?

* How many people will I need to configure, operate and maintain the tool, and what skill levels will they need?

* At what rate would you expect us to be able to deploy this; 6 applications/services per day, 6 each month, 6 in a year?

* With our environment in mind, are there any limitations that will prevent me covering everything I want to cover? I raise this because I regularly come across clients that have invested hundreds of thousands in tools that promise a fantastic future, but right now they are not delivering the answers needed.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that you shouldn't invest in tools. There are some great tools out there that can really help but, rather than focus on what a tool can do, make sure the vendor explains how you can use it in your situation.

Author: Paul is CEO of the Site Reliability Engineering company, Advance7. Through services, technology and consultancy, Advance7 helps banks, financial services companies and insurance companies adopt SRE practices within a traditional enterprise services environment.

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