A love affair is burgeoning between you and your monitoring tool. It’s a relationship that should be steady and long term, quite simply because it’s going to be your everyday partner for a long time. Like all couples, you’re going to have to get past love at first sight to build a lasting relationship. We’ve made a list of 8 determining criteria to help you choose with peace of mind, and so that things run smoothly between yourself and your monitoring tool!

Criterion n°1: interoperability, or how to guarantee argument-free integration into my everyday life

Setting up software that can’t integrate with an existing IS, forcing you to change all your habits and solutions, is a bit like being with someone who can’t chat to your best friends and therefore asks you to change them. To be able to interface your IT monitoring solution with your ITSM solution, or connect it to your company BI are criteria that it’s worth looking at.  They will guarantee an obvious and effective integration of your tool with your existing IS, making it possible to get value from the collected data and its use by Business.

Criterion n°2: modularity and flexibility, or how to hope for fast adaptation to your environment

The question is this: is my future software modular and can I add value-added modules to it? In the future, can I add cartography tools, data viewing or BAM if I need to move towards a more business oriented monitoring solution? Can I do “custom” while keeping the power of standard?
Being sure to invest in a monitoring tool for the long term is fundamental, because you don’t need me to tell you that a monitoring project can’t be put into doubt every other day.  The implications are high, and not only for the IT department, because business and IT are increasingly intertwined when it comes to business performance.

Criterion n°3: maintainability and evolutivity, or how to live happily ever after

My grandma used to say that not everyone ages well! What goes for your partner also goes for your IT monitoring tool. Is your monitoring solution easygoing and easy to maintain? Is it reliable, robust and, especially, adaptable? And what about the community it federates if I choose an open source solution? Monitoring is a daily task and changes as your IS evolves over time. Maintenance and ongoing improvement require strong adaptation according to your monitoring scope changes, your IT infrastructure evolutions and Business unit requests, in short your IT daily routine!

Criterion n°4: the economic model, or how to avoid arguments “over money”

Everyone knows software isn’t just about functions. How it’s purchased and sold are also key elements in the choice, because they will determine a long term and significant commitment. Is my future software free of charge, not free of charge, or both (like the hybrid mode where the solution’s engine is free to download and some modules are charged for)? Will I access in license and support purchase mode, or in all-inclusive annual subscription mode (CAPEX/OPEX)?  These elements are determining both to assess the acquisition cost, but also the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Criterion n°5: technical support and documentation, or knowing who to count on to get started

Is technical support easy to access? Even if I’m at the other side of the world with a 10 hour time difference? Is 24*7 type technical assistance available? The next question is quite obvious: are they competent? The ability of the publisher to propose a PoC during the pre-sales phase can give a preliminary insight into their technical competence.  Another fundamental point: documentation and training. As you’re not a fortune teller, it’s essential you make sure you will have support in setting up your solution thanks to quality training and proper documentation.

Criterion n°6: attentiveness and reactiveness, or how to make sure you get support when you need it

In a field as critical as IT monitoring, your sales and technical contacts must be attentive to you. Malfunctions happen, but what counts is the publisher’s capacity to solve the problems that occur and understand your needs. Attentiveness is a fully fledged part of the expertise you should demand from a software publisher. Often, in a couple, having big ears is more useful than having a big mouth.

Criterion n°7: the required level of expertise, or how to know if you’ve got what it takes to succeed

Considering the selected product, it’s normal to query the levels of internal expertise and skill transfer. If I don’t have the skills, can the user community provide it?  Choosing open source can precisely be especially smart to be able to benefit from shared expertise and feedback, far beyond FAQs and answers from the software publisher’s technical support. It’s also important to find out if skills on the solution are available on the market.

Criterion n°8: change management, or how to go beyond habit

The last criterion, but by no means the least: change management. The main question is to find out what role the monitoring tool can have in structuring your processes and change management. The more a tool is structuring, the better your chances of getting a high approval rate for it.

To conclude, and to use the analogy of a romantic relationship again, remember that it’s not enough for a software solution to be good looking, well “marketed”, and have a good reputation, for it to be THE ideal solution. Beyond functions, your future software should also have certain differentiating qualities.

Similarly, remember that you’re not just choosing software, you’re choosing a software publisher too. They’re a bit like the in-laws: are they going to be invasive or will they be a precious help in times of need? Will they help us to set up house or just give us vague advice on how to succeed in life? Publishers should be capable of giving you guarantees on an everyday basis. And finally, remember to look at the expertise your chosen monitoring solution requires, as this is also one of your IT monitoring deployment project’s success factors.

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