User Experience Monitoring as Governance?

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This blog was originally posted under: The Norfolk Punt

I’ve just been talking to Compuware at its new offices in Maidenhead. There are a couple or three things I like about Compuware’s product offerings, quite apart from the technology (and it is one of the few vendors which can extend holistic user experience monitoring across the mainframe platform, treating the mainframe equally to everything else).

Firstly, it is beginning to offer a holistic “service governance” solution. End-user experience monitoring from Vantage and service portfolio management from Changepoint fit well together and address governance of IT from the business’ POV—and Changepoint becomes a “knowledge repository” for managing IT.

However, what is needed for a “complete” IT governance solution is, to some extent, a matter of semantics—are testing and the management of the end user experience aspects of “governance”? Tukun Chatterjee, European Sales Director of Changepoint at Compuware says, “We see IT Governance as the collection of processes and artefacts, together with the necessary organizational structures empowered to drive the necessary decision making, which together allow IT leadership to plan the effective delivery of innovation while maintaining existing infrastructure and systems. Changepoint is at the very core of the automation of IT Governance…. we remain an open architecture, using our own tools (e.g. Vantage, Optimal Trace and our old QA Center products) to deliver integrations which add value and efficiencies, we assist, monitor and drive adoption to ensure rapid return on investment and we integrate with third-party applications which our customers have already invested in”.

As a knowledge repository, I think that Changepoint really needs more than full text searching (it needs more ontology, the cataloguing and indexing of “things”, rather than just the words which happen to be used to name them; and full metadata searching). However, it does fit well with other tools and offers “root cause analysis” to relate business user experience back to the technology causing it, closing the loop and delivering the possibility of user experience improvement. There is no point in monitoring end user experience if you can’t also do something to improve it when it is bad. To me, delivering and improving the effectiveness of the user experience is an important aspect of IT governance (using the normal English definition of governance).

Of course, the service view and continual service improvement are (as ITIL v3 practitioners are finding out) concepts for higher maturity organisations, so Compuware still (rightly) tends to talk about monitoring “applications” to most of its customers, but I think the direction is clear.

Secondly, Compuware is doing something which I’ve thought was a good idea for years. It builds end user experience monitoring from Vantage into Changepoint, so that as well as improving IT management, deriving the metrics to show that you’re improving it is built in.

It’s not enough for IT to save the business money, it has to show the business that it is saving it money, using language the business can relate to. It may come as news to some people in IT but the business pays their salaries and buys their toys. It makes huge sense for Compuware to ensure that its benefits are visible—but the same applies to any piece of IT development, even in-house ones. If it saves the company money or whatever the business benefit was supposed to be, provide a business-friendly display of this benefit as it is achieved. If you can re-use end-user experience monitoring tools to do this, that makes more sense than reinventing the wheel and writing extra application code to do it.

Thirdly, in Vantage 11 BSM capabilities are built in, at no extra cost (and Vantage already also incorporates Six Sigma techniques for service improvement). So, going forwards, Compuware has a BSM platform it can exploit with little up-front cost (see also here). This, to my mind, is what will really move it into the “business governance of IT” space.

Compuware already talks the technology to technologists very successfully, and there’s an interesting story around its targeted tool acquisitions. But the service monitoring and improvement messages can and should be directed at C-level and business management generally—once again, always remember that it’s the business that eventually has to pay for this technology stuff.