In every company, you are bound to hear the same thing from IT. Upper management doesn’t understand what we do or value what we bring to the organization. This is particularly true when it comes to monitoring because it’s a difficult area of IT to understand.
When you think about it, monitoring is an esoteric area of IT. You’re scanning systems and trying to figure out what’s working and what’s not. You’re not building stuff. You’re not fixing stuff. You’re watching and trying to figure out if your application or web site is running optimally. Seems simple enough, but it’s a complex activity and it can have a big impact on user experience.
Just trying explaining that to the folks in the executive suite and watch their eyes glaze over as you discuss performance metrics. The key to getting executives, and the business units for that matter, to understand what you do is to give them metrics that help them see what it means to your company when a given application or external web site is running slow, how it translates into frustrated visitors and maybe even lost customers.
Executives can easily understand the bottom line and anything that has an impact on it. One thing you can do is to package key metrics in a format that makes easy for your executive staff and business units to see at a glance what’s happening from performance perspective inside your organization.
The best way to do this may be to provide a dashboard of key metrics. Sit down with these folks. Have a quick training and let them see the value of what you do. When executives can see the core benefits of monitoring in black and white (or even better in color), they actually get excited about it. And why wouldn’t they, right?
Monitoring data is good information about how well you’re performing and while IT might not be able to explain that in terms that a non-technical executive or manager might understand, a simple dashboard often proves the old chestnut that a picture is really worth a 1000 words, especially when those words are technical gobbledygook that on a true geek could understand.
As hard as it may be for a true techie to understand, folks who don’t eat sleep this stuff just want it presented in a simple manner and a dashboard view may be just the ticket.
So even though it may feel like these folks don’t get you, and they probably don’t, it doesn’t mean you can’t present performance information to them in a way that’s easy to understand and that gets everyone in the organization focused on the same high performance goals.