So, how do you manage your most critical applications when they may be impacted by 10 or more service providers, and the multiple business partners who now share in extending your business model? And, how do you optimize your infrastructure when large chunks of your infrastructure are becoming invisible?
Some research done in conjunction with Internet infrastructure services provider Neustar, revealed there are tons of commonalities across many different types of ecosystems. Just for starters, if you happen to be in the Internet game, B2B looks a lot like B2C in the complex interdependencies you have to capture and manage. But the same is true for healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, retail, and high technology, etc. In other words, as long as you have some critical dependency on Web-based applications for internal productivity, or how you come to market, or how you partner to extend your business model, or how you deliver your critical business services externallyyou should be asking yourself the following questions:
Take the time to understand how individual outsourced services impact your top-tier critical business needs. For instance, you may be dependent on a credit card processing applet on your website for financial transaction processing of various kinds. If so, that may not fall into the category of something you need to prioritize as top tier for monitoring―unless of course its been a problem for you in the past, or if you are dependent on it for your core business transactions.
Guarantees are negotiable. Youre not alone in facing the bigger issues of ecosystems. Some service providers are already grappling with a parallel set of challenges and therefore should be more ecosystem-friendly in their negotiations with you.
Sharing information across ecosystems is paramount and research shows that its on the rise. There are, by the way, real parallels here between a single IT organizations growth in sharing information across domains and information sharing across partners, clients and service providers in an ecosystem. Similar processes and policies must ultimately apply to both.
Closely related to the prior point is the very real demand for new or expanded types of best practices and process definitions to extend beyond the enterprise, and even linear enterprise-service-provider relationships. These new process definitions will be designed for a community of interdependencies and embrace new types of technical, and more importantly, political and cultural barriers.
Processes for change and configuration management across multiple organizations are also beginning to get attention in more progressive environments. So dont give up on a CMS requirement if you face competitive hosted data centers. Ive already seen CMS initiatives succeed in enterprise situations targeting, interestingly enough, a cohesive and non-disruptive way to virtualize infrastructures that span multiple, competitive hosted environments.
On monitoring tools: you will need to monitor your services from both outside the firewall and inside the firewall. Those outside the firewall are typically software-as-a-service capabilities such as those from Neustar, Keynote and Gomez/Compuware .
Probably the best reassurance I can give is that just by being aware of your ecosystem situation and taking the time to understand it, youre already ahead of many of your competitors. Beyond that, applying common sense and prioritizing meaningful and pragmatic phase-one objectives can go a long way in helping you to make the right choices as you progress from reactive to proactive in your approach to ecosystem management.