IT monitoring tools often come last in the DevOps toolchain, as enterprises strive to continuously improve their applications, but one company has flipped that on its head.
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Boticario Group, a cosmetics manufacturer based in Brazil, has locations in a dozen countries worldwide. Its IT environment is massive -- it manages the largest SAP deployment in Brazil, with 3,500 internal users, as well as eight data centers in that country alone. During busy periods, such as Mother's Day and Christmas, it records millions of dollars per day in sales.
To keep trouble at bay, Boticario uses several IT monitoring tools unified through custom API integrations. IT monitoring tools, including CA Technologies' Unified Infrastructure Management, Knoa Software's user experience management and Cisco's AppDynamics application performance monitoring, funnel data into CA's Spectrum that uses APIs created by Boticario's app developers.
These APIs analyze the email output of individual monitoring tools, convert it into structured data and feed it into the Spectrum database. Spectrum then correlates the various monitoring metrics and feeds weekly reports through Microsoft's Power BI data visualization tool for business managers and IT coordinators to review. The Spectrum system can also automatically create support tickets in ServiceNow's IT service management product.
"Every Monday, every IT coordinator and manager meets to discuss the services that each of the coordinators are responsible for," said Nicholas Pierri, a senior IT consultant for Boticario, who spoke through a translator provided by Knoa. "This is part of a continuous improvement initiative, [where] they use the results from the previous week to coordinate proactive measures to reduce downtime."
IT monitoring tools have real-world operations impact
In Boticario's e-commerce division, for example, the average revenue stream is 500 Brazilian reals per minute for a single brand -- a little over $150 U.S. per minute. The company's fabric of IT monitoring tools gauges the experience of these users.
Last month, the company experienced a performance glitch in which Boticario franchisees temporarily couldn't purchase product stock from the e-commerce division. With the IT monitoring tools in place, the issue was reported to the IT operations team for resolution within five minutes, instead of waiting for franchisees to report a problem, which could easily take five times as long, Pierri said.
Nicholas Pierrisenior IT consultant for Boticario
"The amount we'd lose would be 13,000 reals [about $4,000 U.S.] per minute, so you can do the math," Pierri said. "There's not only the financial problem, but the problem of how the franchisee perceives Boticario as a corporation, and that can be very damaging."
Analysis of historical IT monitoring tools' metrics can also help IT operations prepare for the company's next busy season and help IT managers determine whether or not to add infrastructure to the environment to accommodate spikes, revise applications to perform better, or a combination of both.
The company's application developers contribute feedback to the process by attending weekly briefings with IT coordinators and managers.
Boticario IT monitoring tools roadmap includes AI
Boticario has recognized an emerging trend of IT automation, fed by IT monitoring tools that can intelligently analyze and learn patterns from data. The company has purchased all of ServiceNow's IT management software modules. This includes its Intelligent Automation Engine, which it plans to roll out before the end of 2017. The Intelligent Automation Engine will also feed data through Spectrum for analysis and reporting.
The company is considering business process analytics from Celonis, a Munich-based company, to expand SAP monitoring to include background processes for internal databases.
"Last week, we received a list of 70 transactions from the finance team that they wish they could monitor," Pierri said. Boticario had 3,500 internal SAP users last year, and he expects to add at least 200 users this year.
IT monitoring tools also could help Boticario trim SAP licensing costs by gauging actual usage of the application within the company. In the current IT monitoring system's first year of adoption, even with a limited scope of users, Boticario identified more than 70,000 reals -- $21,000 -- worth of SAP licenses to cut from the budget.
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