Every IT environment is made up of complex and ever-changing infrastructure systems and applications that interact with and depend on each other to function. As applications continue to grow in complexity and IT infrastructure moves to the cloud, tracking these dependencies has become increasingly difficult. To ensure IT is effectively supporting the business, it’s critical to maintain an accurate and complete Application Dependency Mapping (ADM). Without one, you’re leaving the business vulnerable to suffering from some potentially serious consequences, including:
- System outages that result in a key business application becoming unavailable
- Diminished user productivity that results in financial or client perception loss
- Lengthy Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) due to insufficient information about key systems that are required to resolve the issue
Key Steps to Building an Application Dependency Map
By ensuring your organization maintains a complete and accurate application dependency map, IT support staff can reduce MTTR, increase user productivity, focus more energy on improving client experience, and better assist with planning future upgrades and/or migrations.
Here are some steps every IT organization should consider when building an effective Application Dependency Mapping:
Reduce Mean Time to Resolution: In the event of an outage, security breach, or other time-sensitive events, there are four major factors that could prevent a speedy recovery: Mean Time to Identify, Mean Time to Know, Mean Time to Fix, and Mean Time to Verify. Mapping the relationship between business services and the underlying IT applications and infrastructure that support them is the first step to driving down Mean Time to Resolution – especially when it comes to the “Know” factor.
Invest in the Right Tools and Products: The number of products on the market that address application dependency mapping is overwhelming. When deciding which tools and products to leverage, it’s important to start by identifying the use case of the solution. Who will be using the tool? How will this product help them accomplish their goals? From there, you can narrow down your options to the tools that will serve the business best. Finally, consider your existing investments – select the tool that will integrate best with the systems you already have in place.
Ensure Ownership & Accountability: We often see an initial push to improve a pain point (e.g. reducing MTTR of outages). However, it’s not uncommon for these initiatives to lose traction as teams get sidetracked with other urgent matters and ultimately disband because there isn’t a designated leader to continue the momentum. When it comes to your IT environment, application dependencies are continuously changing and growing more complex. It’s critical to designate a specific person to maintain the implementation and updates associated with application dependency. After all, a map that is only partially accurate and complete is of no use to the business.
Does your organization maintain an application dependency mapping? How accurate or complete is it? To gain a better understanding of the tools and strategies mid-market businesses are leveraging to build application dependency maps, contact us to learn more.