In-Depth

Aligning IT and business goals

It's a classic disconnect. ''The 'guy' who has to manage the box in the data center and is four layers from the end customer ... how do you align [his] goals with business goals?'' posed Zohar Gilad, vice president and general manager of the APM business unit at Mercury Interactive, Sunnyvale, Calif. The solution, he said, is to align IT and business goals through the use of common metrics and performance indicators, and to get both sides of the 'technology divide' speaking the same language.

Mercury is calling that alignment Business Technology Optimization (BTO), and brought out two BTO solutions just prior to the start of its eighth annual Worldwide User Conference in Orlando last month. ''Today,'' said Gilad, ''business measures itself by revenues, costs, etc., while IT talks about server uptime and bandwidth. The challenge for IT is not only to reconnect all the different technology silos, handle the complex infrastructure and disconnected IT processes, and to do more with less, but to minimize the fixed costs in business and maximize business process quality.'' Certainly this is an issue confronting those who would purvey the real-time enterprise.

A recent Forrester Research study commissioned by Mercury found that only 25% of the IT executives interviewed said their organizations did very well at defining and measuring the IT performance of automated business processes against service levels that matter to business. Targeting that problem, BTO is based on business processes, not technology components, said Gilad.

Mercury's new Optane suite represents the tight integration of Mercury's existing product families for enterprise testing, production tuning and performance management, according to Gilad. ''The three areas now share the same business process description languages, so the scripts can be reused,'' he said. Just like you would test a car, the Optane suite helps IT answer the question: ''Does it deliver the right functionality and the right response time?'' he said.

In addition, Mercury introduced Topaz Business Availability, described as a digital dashboard that can map technology-enabled applications to the business and present a real-time view of the service levels IT is delivering to the lines of business. ''We're not [looking at] the uptime of servers but the availability to business users,'' Gilad said. ''The executive wants to know, for example, whether a mortgage application was available and performing for users.'' If a problem is identified, Topaz Business Availability can drill down to the underlying infrastructure, including data centers, technology clusters, geographies and the like that are associated with the business applications.

See the related story Status update: The real-time enterprise by Lana Gates and Jack Vaughan.

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.

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