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A major shift in terms of how IT services are monitored and managed that is being driven by a need to correlate events in real time creates both risk and opportunity for managed services providers (MSPs).

A survey of 100 customers conducted by LogicMonitor, a provider of IT monitoring tools that are accessed as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, finds 80 percent of respondents are in the process of modernizing IT service delivery. The primary drivers of those efforts are a need to improve efficiency (80 percent), make better decisions (76 percent), and deliver a better customer experience (76 percent).

To achieve that goal, many organizations are in the process of either outright replacing or augmenting many of their existing IT management tools, says Forrest Evans, a product manager for LogicMonitor. Tools that are focused on a specific platform don’t provide enough actionable insight. In their place IT organizations are looking for tools that can correlate alerts from multiple platforms versus trying to correlate alerts generated by tools optimized for isolate IT silos, such as servers, applications, networks and storage, says Evans. The survey specifically finds 84 percent of respondents listed monitoring of devices, applications, and services as an important function of successful IT service delivery.

Evans says that shift will create an issue for many MSPs that have been contracted to manage one of those silos. Increasingly, organizations will be asking MSPs to provide more context about the overall IT environment. In fact, the LogicMonitor survey finds 82 percent of respondents believe a monitoring solution needs to provide context-rich alerts designed to make the response process straightforward and efficient. The survey also finds 77 percent believe that there should be automated synchronization between the monitoring platform and the configuration management database (CMDB). The later requirement enables IT organizations to more easily troubleshoot issues whenever a problem arises, notes Evans.

The MSP challenge

The issue many MSPs will need to contend with is to what degree they will want to continue to rely on tools optimized for a single IT service. Even though a customer may have only contracted an MSP to manage one aspect of their IT environment, Evans says there is a growing expectation that MSPs should be able to proactively provide insights into how that specific service is interacting with the rest of the customer’s IT environment, adds Evans. Even though the MSP may only be focused on a specific service, they may find a need to deploy more comprehensive management frameworks alongside those services to provide more context, says Evans.

In fact, Evans notes that to achieve that goal many organizations are starting to experiment with artificial intelligence (AI) to automate operations, otherwise known as AIOps, says Evans.

“AIOps is definitely coming,” says Evans.

Obviously, IT operational change of this magnitude creates an opportunity for MSPs that can modernize IT service delivery. Most MSPs are in a better financial position to make the investments in new tools and frameworks required. But those MSPs that continue to focus on a handful of IT services may soon find themselves left behind at a time when more integrated approaches to managing IT are finally coming into vogue.

Photo:  everything possible / Shutterstock.

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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