Bill Roth, Ulitzer Editor-at-Large

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Beyond SIEM: IT Data Management - Part 2

Managing IT data for compliance and enterprise-wide operational intelligence

In our last post we discussed the emergence of IT data management, or ITDM, how it differs from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), and the need go beyond SIEM to address managing IT data for compliance and enterprise-wide operational intelligence.  IT systems are generating an increasing amount of data, and there is hidden meaning that can be extracted from them.  Until now, however, there has been no efficient way for IT departments to collect, manage and analyze this disparate data from across the enterprise.  Today, ITDM is emerging as a solution that can collect and report on actionable data from all IT sources, help enterprises propel growth, manage their IT assets and ensure security.

ITDM is unique in allowing, first, data collection from systems scattered throughout the enterprise and cloud; second, comprehensive reporting on that data; and third, broad-based analysis of the data.  All three of these are critical because many analytic systems in the enterprise employ IT data, including IT operations management; security information and event management; IT governance, risk management, and compliance; service-level agreement (SLA) management; and a range of third-party applications. Only ITDM has the scope to access, correlate and present that data to all the enterprise applications that require it.

The Forrester Consulting report titled "The Evolution of Security Information Management: From Security Information Management to IT Data Analytics," published in April 2011 and available here, points out three reasons for adopting the latest data analytics tools.  One is that executives are demanding more insight into data; in fact, "Data governance is driven from the top down.  Executives are asking to review IT data," and "Looking to their IT departments to provide the actionable data these leaders need to effectively govern today's highly regulated corporate environment."

A second reason for adopting data analytics is that its capabilities are needed at all levels of the organization.  Third, unstructured data that can be useful for decision-making is generated by any type of IT system and exists in all IT departments.  The report also noted that as a result, vendors "will be compelled by market forces to expand their offerings and provide an avenue for the collection, aggregation, analysis, and reporting on any type of IT data."

According to John Kindervag, senior analyst for Forrester, “Our research illustrates that better decision-making and improved productivity are the major reasons these executives are looking to leverage IT data.  As IT systems become more and more complex, there will be an increased demand to improve the way in which we define IT metrics and use that data to make important, and potentially costly, decisions.  Companies need better ways to do change control and schedule downtime. They need deeper understanding of how resources are being used. They need better data to leverage for capacity planning exercises. The use cases for this data are nearly endless, but we need to find ways of making the data understandable and actionable.”

Enterprises that have the foresight to realize the need for ITDM don't want to be boxed in by the limitations of SIEM and its coming obsolescence. We've surveyed a number of enterprises and found that the need for data analytics has long gone unmet.  ITDM is not a hypothetical solution to some future need; the need is now.  Virtually all the functionality of mature ITDM tools can be deployed today and start delivering actionable intelligence immediately.  By collecting and analyzing new data types, ITDM tools align with a higher business purpose and create substantial value in the enterprise.

In sum, by incorporating new data types and providing new data analysis models, ITDM can greatly improve the ability to IT leaders to make future technology and business decisions.

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More Stories By Bill Roth

Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.