'Too many tools, too much noise' - CIOs bemoan tool sprawl and monitoring challenges


CIOs at a recent Computing virtual roundtable admitted that they have too many tools and dashboards which give rise to information overload, with critical data often being lost in the mix.

The group, which will remain anonymous as the event was held under , began by discussing cloud strategy.

One CIO, who works for a global payments company, said that his organisation is now ‘cloud first'.

"We run a mix of legacy on-premises technology, but we're now cloud-first in that we're moving everything to the cloud. We'll soon be using each of the three big public cloud providers, AWS, Azure and Google, and that move has been accelerated by Covid."

He admitted that this complicates the monitoring activity.

"Monitoring is difficult across heterogeneous systems," he added. "We've had to write a lot of glue to stick these systems together, which has been expensive in terms of time and effort."

Another IT leader from the building supplies industry explained that his organisation is also heavily invested in cloud.

"Previously if you couldn't see it, we wouldn't have it. If they couldn't give me an installation disk I wouldn't want it. But now we're cloud-forced rather than first. We use both AWS and Azure, and again Covid has massively accelerated our cloud adoption. We had to do a very rapid rollout of O365 because of the pandemic."

He added that his monitoring solutions were far from optimised and "need to be reviewed."

An IT leader of a large insurer explained that her organisation is also shifting rapidly towards the cloud.

"We still use mainframes, but we have a big project at the moment to shift as many workloads as possible to the cloud. We mostly use AWS, but there's also O365 and we do use Azure. We don't use GCP [Google Cloud Platform] yet but I'm just waiting for someone to ask for it. It's all done on a business case basis."

She added that her monitoring platform is a mix.

"Monitoring is federated with us, not centralised on one platform. We use a mix of tools, and it depends on what individual teams are comfortable with."

Discussing tooling and monitoring in more depth, the group admitted that most of them were running too many tools generated too many alerts, with a real lack of a joined-up strategy.

The CTO of a large sporting brand admitted that her challenge is "too much noise".

"There's too much noise amongst our monitoring tools. That tends to drown out the real issues."

The CIO of the builder supplier admitted the he's struggling with the same situation.

"I have so many tools that I don't even know what I've got, and we're monitoring so many different things. We've made mistakes in the past where we went faster into cloud than we realised and suddenly got a £60,000 bill for something we bought for £10,000, not expecting to need to pay more."

The CIO of a construction firm said that IT leaders should be using the pandemic to improve these issues.

"My view is that IT leaders need to be on the front foot, and I'm certainly not wasting this crisis. It's taken a pandemic to prove many CIOs' visions.

"Now we can say as the experts in monitoring these environments, CIOs need to be part of the business and contributors to the debate. IT shouldn't be the enablers as that implies you're delivering someone else's vision. We should be creating that vision and leading.

"We own the systems we're monitoring, so it's a great opportunity in the sense that you can rationalise these things."

John Rakoiwski, VP product marketing and sales from Logic Monitor, said:

"The need to move from a tactical, siloed approach to monitoring to a strategic, unified approach to monitoring is critical. The world developments this year have accelerated digital transformation, meaning greater IT infrastructure complexity. It's now no longer only important to have visibility into issues before they become business problems, but to view your monitoring strategy as a way of observing and collecting information, critical to accurate, fast decision making."


The roundtable was sponsored by Logic Monitor