We have all heard the expression “it’s not the size of the tool, it’s how you use it.” If you are
anything like me you will be experiencing frustration. Large tools that are either being misused or
misrepresented in their capability. I am of course talking about proactive system management tools.
We can be aided by software integrated into clients systems to report data back to our service and
sales teams. Allowing us to know all the details of these environments, allowing us to commit to
service level agreements with the satisfaction that we will always know what is going on.
Business intelligence, dashboards and web based analytics, all managing the collation of available information and presenting it in a simpler, readable or visual format is becoming rapidly adopted to help end users to make informed business decisions. It’s all about being timely, being able to close off your end of month accounting at the push of a button rather than five days into the new month.
This same concept in data collection to assist with decision making should be deeply integrated
into the way we deliver our services to our clients. It is clear to software and hardware vendors
that this is the way forward, that system analytics is the way to reduce the effort of supporting core
infrastructure while being able to use trends and information to make the next sale, to ensure that
they get the best return on any investment.
Personally I have worked with tools focused on server analytics (Kasayer, Microsoft System Centre)
as well as the dreaded and often under serviced desktop support (Microsoft Intune). My issue
stems from the level of investment in these tools that I have discovered in the New Zealand market.
From top 100 turnover companies to five user site,s all could benefit right up to the point that they
are actually buying service level agreements that pitch proactive support. As much as a shorter
turnaround time on a hard-drive failure is of benefit to clients there is no way that this can be called
I have walked into opportunities where the prospect will place a thick monthly report down and say
that their current provider has already sold them proactive support and they now have a telephone
directory of undecipherable information that they feel cannot be referred to as either proactive or
support. The monthly fee that they pay for their servers to be monitored is mainly used to show
them that their anti-virus software is either up for renewal or expired.
Maybe it comes from working with both core infrastructure and software development or maybe it
is my view that the better my clients do the better I will do, but I believe that fully developing these
systems so that they are robust, useful and repeatable is a necessary evolution of our industry.
Sales people, I am going to ask you to join me on this one.
First, you are going to need to work with your service delivery team. They will be the ones who configure the information from these systems.
Second, look at any reports through your customer’s eyes. I have found that creating a single heading of actionable items can assist you to understand better what your clients are willing to spend money on.
Finally, if you are using system management tools you can measure the impact of your suggestions, this is the reason organisations outsource to use as providers, taking information from work we have done and either avoiding the same mistakes or bringing improvements.
If you don’t want your clients to go out and look for satisfaction elsewhere now is the time to ask for
help. I have outlined some of the tools I have used but there is a wide variety in the market. Work
with a vendor, develop a plan and put some training in place.
If you know how to use it, system management tools will give you a better performance and keep
them coming back for more.