Thursday, 2 June 2016

Capacity Management - What are we trying to tell the business?

Interacting with customers sometimes throws up a question we’re sure we should know the answer to, but ends up being not as simple to answer as we’d expected.  One of those questions that really makes us sit down and ponder how to answer it.
So here’s my question:  As a Capacity Manager, what am I trying to tell the business?

Am I trying to tell them about Utilizations? Headroom? Risk? Costs? Customer Service?

There are so many things I could be telling the business it’s hard to say “This is what I’m providing to the business”.

It struck me that if I can’t provide the answer then maybe I’m trying to answer the wrong question.  Rather than dictate to the business what I can tell them doesn’t it make more sense to be asking them, “What is it that you want to know?”

As part of maturing their Capacity Management processes one of our clients is doing just that. They are successfully engaging with all manner of business units within their organization, showing them the sorts of things they can do and then asking the question.  “What information do you want to have? What is actually going to be helpful/useful to you?”  That might be a single metric on the intranet capacity report, or something with a lot more detail.

There are probably 3 main factors that have come into play in this successful initiative.

1.     The implementation of a Capacity Management tool, athene®, that gives them the ability to easily import and report on the metrics the business units are interested in.  Be that Searches, Transaction Response times, Transaction counts – in fact any time date stamped metrics that they want.  Whatever that part of the business considers to be the most important metric(s) to them.

2.     Integration with a real user monitoring APM tool.  Being able to see exactly what the customers (internal and external), are doing and experiencing.

3.     Having a member of staff on the capacity team who has a business background and the social skills to match.  Someone who can engage with the right people, who knows what they are currently doing to get their stats and who can learn how to integrate them with the platform statistics (CPU, Memory etc).

Bringing these factors together has resulted in heightening the profile of the Capacity Management Team and showing their real value to the business. Business units are now approaching them and asking for data to be included because they want the same advantages they see other departments getting from the data.

So what are we trying to tell the business?  I’m here, and I’ve got some really great stuff I can do to help you.  What is it you want to know?
Don't miss out on our Capacity Management 101 online workshop taking place in June.
Phil Bell


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