Information is key for businesses to operate and succeed, making it imperative that the Enterprise Informant Management platforms they rely on are robust, reliable, and high performing.
Over the last 23 years, I’ve been involved with designing and running many mission critical systems for corporate IT and the software vendor side across roles in Architecture, Support, and Managed Services. In this role, I’ve seen some of the best and some of the worst EIM platforms. What I’ve learned is that the key difference often comes down to how well equipped the team running the environment is. Having a well-defined set of processes in place enables the team to meet the demands of the business and continuously improve the service levels of the EIM platform.
Every EIM platform is like a living, breathing system. It is dynamic and, as such, occasionally issues may arise. The goal of incident management is to restore service back to the end users as quickly as possible when an issue does arise. While you may not be able to prevent every incident, you can be prepared.
When an issue arises, you want to have a systematic approach to quickly triage and hone in on the source. Which components are up and responsive versus not? Are they down or merely hung? Is there a common component such as the database that is blocking all the servers? Has something recently changed?
That last question may be the most important. Something has caused the environment to shift from operating normally to not. If there hasn’t been any recent configuration or patching, it could be something outside of that such as a change in usage patterns, data related, or external factors. Always look for what has changed, as this may be the fastest and best way to restore service.
Monitoring and event management
Ideally, you want the run team to know about issues and be working to correct and/or avoid user impact before the end users even report the incident.
Typically, environments will have good infrastructure monitoring in place to alert when servers are down, storage is full, CPU is high, etc. It is just as important to have application-specific level monitoring place for the EIM platform. For example, on OpenText Content Server you can leverage the OpenText Monitoring Agent to perform synthetic requests to mimic end users. There are also alerting available from inside Content Server through PS modules like Informant to warn of issues.
With the right application level monitoring in place you can help prevent or minimize negative impact on the business.
While incident management is focused on restoring service, problem management is about getting to the root cause and corrective actions to prevent future occurrences. At times they can be at odds with one another: in the desire to quickly restore service you may lose the ability to do deeper investigation into root cause as the issue is no longer occurring. When possible, attempt to “preserve the crime scene” even if that just means saving off logs from the time of the incident before they roll over.
When problem management is performed, too often the root cause being identified is only superficial at best. One method to get to true root cause is the 5 Whys. As the name suggests, this involves continuing to drill down further by asking “why” at each layer until getting to a true root cause that enables you to take permanent corrective action.
Taking the time to do problem management right will elevate your EIM platform to higher service levels for the business.
Assistance when/how you need it
OpenText™ enables you to run your EIM platform anywhere. If you’ve chosen the OpenText™ Cloud, then much of what we’ve discussed here is already taken care of for you. If you are running on-premise, in a public cloud as AWS, GCP, Azure, or some hybrid combination, then there are still several ways in which OpenText can assist you.
For starters, OpenText Learning Services has a series of courses to help enhance the skills of your IT staff. These are available as instructor-led for both in person and remote as well as Learning On Demand.
The OpenText Managed Services team is fully certified both in EIM products as well as ITIL v4. Regardless of the level of assistance you desire, we can tailor a program to meet your business needs. If you’re looking for an extra edge, Optimize Assist can provide your IT with on demand access to technical experts and a Service Manager. If you want to go even further, Application Managed Services can remotely administer the day-day operations of your EIM platform allowing your IT to focus on the business needs.