By Dennis Drogseth
Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is about to embark on research currently titled, Unifying IT for Digital War Room Decision Making: A Deep Dive into How to Succeed in the Age of Cloud and Agile. The research is partly inspired by current debates about the role of the war room and how it is or is not evolving. Some seem lost in fantasy—the war room will absolutely disappear. Whereas for others, basic incident handling is just emerging and a more defined and effective war room team gives hope for the future.
Defining the War Room
As with so much in our industry, a lot of this debate depends on meaning and definition—or in this case how you define war room. It is often defined as disastrous assemblages of finger-pointing adults caught up with siloed versions of the truth—or at least as interested in proving that their teams are not guilty as they are in actually solving the problems at hand.
However, for our research we take a much more open-ended approach. Our goal is to discover how teams are formed and optimized to handle major incidents and problems that require cross-domain insights. This includes proactive cross-domain teams for managing issues before they become the IT equivalent of life threatening.
Our war rooms can be either physical or virtual. Highly automated or not. Made up of consistent, well-defined teams, or not. But what makes them war rooms is the need for collaborative decision making across silos.
All cases—even the more proactive environments—require consistent processes that include the initial awareness that something is or about to be awry; response team engagement—making sure relevant stakeholders are aware and have an informed context for working together to resolve the problem; triage and diagnostics; and remediation and validation. Ideally, a history is also kept so that IT can work to prevent the problem in the future, or at least bring it to a speedier resolution.
And of course, we’ll be looking at cloud in multiple dimensions. How could we do it otherwise? Is cloud really making things easier or harder? If so, where and why? And what about DevOps teams? Are they working with or through the war room for major incidents, are they moving primarily in a separate track, or is it a mix of both? Finally, we look at security issues as well as performance and availability, as the two increasingly intersect.
Last but not least we’re trying to find out what technologies are most critical to address all of the above. What are IT organizations looking for that they’re not getting now? And what patterns emerge around those digital war rooms with demonstrated efficiencies in working together and resolving incidents and problems, versus those that struggle within themselves?
It is my hope that this data helps put a spotlight on the beating heart of IT with insight into present/future trends and needs. With luck, I’ll have a lot more to share with you about these outcomes well before the end of Q1. SW
Dennis Drogseth joined Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) in 1998 and currently manages its NH office. He brings several years of experience in various aspects of marketing and business planning for service management solutions and supports EMA through leadership in IT Service Management, CMDB systems, as well as megatrends like advanced operations analytics, cross-domain automation systems, IT-to-business alignment, and service-centric financial optimization.
Feb2018, Software Magazine