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What IT pros need from an advanced analytics tool

Everything You Need to Know About ITSM Analytics
By Sridhar Iyengar, Vice President, Product Management, ManageEngine

ManageEngine conducted a survey to understand what IT pros need from an advanced analytics tool. The survey looked at the critical areas of analytics and reporting for service desk management around incident management, asset management and change management.

Here's what they had to say:

Who needs reporting the most?

76.6 percent indicated CIOs and service desk managers.

Service desk managers and CIOs are key decision makers who need insight from their data to formulate better strategies. For instance, by tracking including technician performance, service desk responsiveness, IT user preferences, customer satisfaction, SLA violation rate, and other critical metrics, they can better analyze costs, trends, manage resources, and improve overall service quality.

How is service desk activity tracked?

42.6 percent of respondents prefer to track service desk activity on their own by building custom reports based on the information needed. And 38.7 percent use live dashboard to check data, while 18.8 percent use pre-built reports.

One size of reporting does not fit all-everyone wants to create reports based on need. Self-service business intelligence (BI) tools provide more flexibility in this regard, as users can create personalized reports, get real-time insight on the data you care about, and make quicker decisions. The best part is that self-service BI tools can do all of this without relying on a data expert, which makes them more popular than traditional BI and analytics tools.

How often do IT staff create reports?

33.5 percent of respondents said they create custom reports as needed, while 27.7 percent preferred a monthly report.

Businesses are in a constant state of evolution and, to stay ahead of the competition, need to predict changing trends. Adhoc reports tend to be more popular as they provide answers to particular questions and analyze specific data.

How challenging is it to create the needed reports?

48.6 percent said that reports take between 30 minutes - 1 hour to create, while 41.4 percent said that they can create reports in 15 minutes.

Complications defeat the purpose of self-service BI tools. Reporting is not a primary task for most IT users, so they need to be able to create reports quickly and share them with other stakeholders. If it takes a long time to create reports, it could mean that there's a lack of intuitive and easy-to-use tools.

Do IT pros prefer custom or standard reports?

Respondents preferred custom reports. When asked how many custom reports they created, 34.7 percent reported that they had more than 10 custom reports in hand, while 33.3 percent had five to 10, and 24.7 percent had less than five.

Compared to standard reports, custom reports can address specific questions and data. They do a more thorough job breaking down data to uncover the root of a problem and identifying hidden patterns for in-depth analysis. Different teams have different reporting needs, and custom reports can help personalize them for each team's individual requirements. They also provide more insight into why certain strategies work and others do not.

Which ITSM modules do users require insight on?

22.5 percent of respondents preferred to start with analytics for incident management. 17.5 percent felt that they needed more reporting information on asset management, and 13.2 percent preferred customization for their change management module.

Incident management is the foundation of any ITSM system, used to reduce the impact of an outage on service operations and recover from outages quickly. Building specific dashboards with in-depth analysis (e.g., finding the root cause or determining trends for particular incidents) allows for better planning. Most organizations start with incident management and then add other ITIL processes such as problem management and change management as they evolve and mature.

When it comes to asset management, one major requirement is license compliance. Any non-compliance could mean paying penalties and running into high software costs. With an efficient asset management system, it is easier to plan license purchases in advance and to only purchase software that adds value to the organization.

Finally, we have change management. A change in your infrastructure (e.g., software upgrade or virtualizing servers) can have a ripple effect on your business applications. If these dependencies are ignored, this kind of change can cause unplanned downtime and drastically affect your business.

Building intuitive reports and monitoring metrics such as the mean time to resolution (MTTR) and the frequency of downtime will identify crucial failure points, evaluate the impact of changes, and aid in change management. This means that IT pros can formulate an action plan to handle emergency situations.

Building reports: Which is the preferred method?

42.6 percent of users prefer UI-based options. 29.6 percent prefer to use query reports, while 10.7 percent use third-party reporting software. However, 8 percent of respondents contact product support desks to view query reports.

A visually driven, intuitive user interface adds more context to your data and lets you instantly view, interpret, and analyze important information. Although query reports seem to be the second most popular option, for non-technical managers, it's a challenge to manually type in queries to produce reports. Those dependent on this method may need to hire a data expert or depend on other sources to get the data they need.

Driving factors for reporting needs?

One important use of a smart reporting tool is to detect inefficiencies and gaps in the ITSM process, and 36 percent of our respondents agreed. But, 30.1 percent felt that reporting helped them identify problem areas and tackle issues. 19.5 percent felt that it was a good way to measure customer satisfaction, while 12 percent felt that reporting helped them drive budgetary or financial decisions.

Clearly, monitoring to improve help desk efficiency, identify problem areas, and ensure customer satisfaction are the top three driving factors behind the adoption of reporting and analytics tools.

In conclusion: The road ahead

From studying the survey results, it is clear that respondents prefer a user-friendly and responsive BI tool that can deliver information accurately and as needed. To increase user adoption, BI vendors need to offer a solution that is easy to deploy and maintain, identifies and resolves outages or performance issues quickly, and does not require any expert assistance.

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Sridhar Iyengar is the Vice President, Product Management at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp. He has spent two decades building IT Management Solutions for mid and large markets. For more information on ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, please visit www.manageengine.com; follow the company blog at http://blogs.manageengine.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ManageEngine and on Twitter @ManageEngine. Follow Sridhar on Twitter @iSridhar.

@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, and is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.

DevOps at Cloud Expo / @ThingsExpo 2017 New York 
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The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.

@DevOpsSummit will expand the DevOps community, enable a wide sharing of knowledge, and educate delegates and technology providers alike. Recent research has shown that DevOps dramatically reduces development time, the amount of enterprise IT professionals put out fires, and support time generally. Time spent on infrastructure development is significantly increased, and DevOps practitioners report more software releases and higher quality. Sponsors of @DevOpsSummit will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

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For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

The World's Largest "Cloud Digital Transformation" Event

@CloudExpo / @ThingsExpo 2017 New York 
(June 6-8, 2017, Javits Center, Manhattan)

@CloudExpo / @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

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Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsors of Cloud Expo @ThingsExpo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35 minute technical session
  • Online targeted advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented Marketing Coverage: Editorial Coverage on ITweetup to over 100,000 plus followers, press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez (@GonzalezCarmen) today by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

Secrets of Sponsors and Exhibitors ▸ Here
Secrets of Cloud Expo Speakers ▸ Here

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Track 1. FinTech
Track 2. Enterprise Cloud | Digital Transformation
Track 3. DevOps, Containers & Microservices 
Track 4. Big Data | Analytics
Track 5. Industrial IoT
Track 6. IoT Dev & Deploy | Mobility
Track 7. APIs | Cloud Security
Track 8. AI | ML | DL | Cognitive Computing

Delegates to Cloud Expo @ThingsExpo will be able to attend 8 simultaneous, information-packed education tracks.

There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content.

Join Cloud Expo @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA for three days of intense Enterprise Cloud and 'Digital Transformation' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indispensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and (IIoT) Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) Digital Transformation in Vertical Markets.

Financial Technology - or FinTech - Is Now Part of the @CloudExpo Program!

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Our Top 100 Sponsors and the Leading "Digital Transformation" Companies

(ISC)2, 24Notion (Bronze Sponsor), 910Telecom, Accelertite (Gold Sponsor), Addteq, Adobe (Bronze Sponsor), Aeroybyte, Alert Logic, Anexia, AppNeta, Avere Systems, BMC Software (Silver Sponsor), Bsquare Corporation (Silver Sponsor), BZ Media (Media Sponsor), Catchpoint Systems (Silver Sponsor), CDS Global Cloud, Cemware, Chetu Inc., China Unicom, Cloud Raxak, CloudBerry (Media Sponsor), Cloudbric, Coalfire Systems, CollabNet, Inc. (Silver Sponsor), Column Technologies, Commvault (Bronze Sponsor), Connect2.me, ContentMX (Bronze Sponsor), CrowdReviews (Media Sponsor) CyberTrend (Media Sponsor), DataCenterDynamics (Media Sponsor), Delaplex, DICE (Bronze Sponsor), EastBanc Technologies, eCube Systems, Embotics, Enzu Inc., Ericsson (Gold Sponsor), FalconStor, Formation Data Systems, Fusion, Hanu Software, HGST, Inc. (Bronze Sponsor), Hitrons Solutions, IBM BlueBox, IBM Bluemix, IBM Cloud (Platinum Sponsor), IBM Cloud Data Services/Cloudant (Platinum Sponsor), IBM DevOps (Platinum Sponsor), iDevices, Industrial Internet of Things Consortium (Association Sponsor), Impinger Technologies, Interface Masters, Intel (Keynote Sponsor), Interoute (Bronze Sponsor), IQP Corporation, Isomorphic Software, Japan IoT Consortium, Kintone Corporation (Bronze Sponsor), LeaseWeb USA, LinearHub, MangoApps, MathFreeOn, Men & Mice, MobiDev, New Relic, Inc. (Bronze Sponsor), New York Times, Niagara Networks, Numerex, NVIDIA Corporation (AI Session Sponsor), Object Management Group (Association Sponsor), On The Avenue Marketing, Oracle MySQL, Peak10, Inc., Penta Security, Plasma Corporation, Pulzze Systems, Pythian (Bronze Sponsor), Cosmos, RackN, ReadyTalk (Silver Sponsor), Roma Software, Roundee.io, Secure Channels Inc., SD Times (Media Sponsor), SoftLayer (Platinum Sponsor), SoftNet Solutions, Solinea Inc., SpeedyCloud, SSLGURU LLC, StarNet, Stratoscale, Streamliner, SuperAdmins, TechTarget (Media Sponsor), TelecomReseller (Media Sponsor), Tintri (Welcome Reception Sponsor), TMCnet (Media Sponsor), Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium, Veeam, Venafi, Violin Memory, VAI Software, Zerto

About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (@CloudExpo), Big Data Expo® (@BigDataExpo), DevOps Summit (@DevOpsSummit), @ThingsExpo® (@ThingsExpo), Containers Expo (@ContainersExpo) and Microservices Expo (@MicroservicesE).

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More Stories By ManageEngine IT Matters

ManageEngine believes IT management can be simple and affordable. Our authors share insights and how-to tips for SMBs and large enterprises. Over 120,000 companies around the world – including three of every five Fortune 500 companies – trust our products to manage their networks, data centers, business applications, and IT services, and security. We take a straightforward, customer-centric approach to IT management software. Our customers' needs drive our product philosophy. And we've built a strong, in-house R&D team to support our product team and turn customer requests into product realities. We look forward to hearing from you.

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