5 Reasons Why IT Should Embrace End-User IT Analytics

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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Paul Cash, MD at Fruition Partners UK, explains why IT departments should use analytics to slice and dice valuable data

In an ideal world, every time an IT user has a problem or a request, it would be solved at the first time of asking with a 100 percent closure rate. But this nirvana is pretty remote, given that the world we live in is one of ever-increasing business IT complexity; the growth of cloud computing, consumerised IT and BYOD being just a few of the trends that make providing IT support increasingly complicated.

Indeed, recent independent research of CIOs from Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Fruition Partners UK, found that when it comes to cloud-based IT services, organisations only use 50 percent of the processes they use for supporting for in-house IT services. Against this backdrop of complexity, and potential decline in support, every opportunity to reduce the number of IT incidents and keep end-users happy needs to be thoroughly investigated. One such opportunity that’s already delivering considerable results is End-User IT Analytics (EUITA). Despite the results it’s delivering, the technology is not widely understood – so what is it exactly?

Inside agents have the intel

In theory it’s very simple. A tiny agent is slipped onto each end-user device and this reports back to a central database server whatever happens on the device including web applications, software and hardware changes, application executions, input/output etc. Of course this is something of an over-simplification; the agent has to be absolutely tiny and use up very little bandwidth, very little CPU and no disk space, so that all the work is done in memory.

The collected data is then reported back centrally and analysed proactively to identify IT problems, before the user even calls the IT department. By using analytics to slice and dice the data, patterns of issues beyond single devices can be spotted quickly and easily and, through the power of analytics, the IT department can deliver a much improved service. Here are the top five reasons why IT needs EUITA:

1. Supporting the consumerisation of the IT department

Users’ experience of IT in the consumer world is driving demand for improved levels of IT service at work: according to recent research by ServiceNow, 75 percent of managers want simple, self-service support processes that are as easy to use as Amazon, Tesco or FedEx. In other words, they want ordering a new work PC, or tracking a support request, to be as simple as buying a book online, or tracking the delivery of an order from John Lewis. Corporate IT can deliver this, using self-service portals and automation, but it has to work seamlessly and this is where EUITA can help – anticipating problems before they arise, and enabling rapid, accurate response when support is needed.

2. Enabling secure use of cloud

Research shows that 60 percent of CIOs think their organisation is at risk from the spread of the cloud, particularly ‘shadow IT’. With EUITA, that shadowy world becomes much easier to get to grips with: IT can detect unsanctioned applications and react appropriately, and it can get a much clearer view of security risks, duplication of applications and support needs for those cloud applications that are endorsed by the organisation.