I love eating out. Who doesn’t? And I’m lucky because I’ve got all the options in and around my village. I have a lovely, elegant restaurant in a grade II listed building. I have a nice “eat as much as you like” Chinese buffet restaurant. I have a great takeaway that will also deliver. Which do I prefer? It depends on my requirements.

So where does IT come into this? Well, just like fast food, IT can be consumed in many different ways:

  • Homemade: When I cook at home, I go out and purchase the required ingredients at a reasonable price with the given budget. Similarly organisations can also buy all the separate ingredients and build their own IT systems and manage them in-house.
  • Order-in: Most organisations decide to pick and choose. This reminds me of when my family and I order Chinese to eat-in, we always try and get just the right amount and put it in the middle to share. Organisations can purchase IT systems from a third-party supplier, just like building a cloud environment in which the initial platform may be supplied by another but can be used as its own by the organisation.
  • Dine out: In restaurants the purchasing of ingredients, the process of cooking and service is dependent on the restaurant’s own staff, equipment and logistics. Customers are expected to do nothing but enjoy their surroundings and the food delivered to them. Similarly, some IT organisations do just that. They outsource the whole of their IT systems and processes to another organisation. So just like a customer in a restaurant they own nothing, enjoy the service and simply pay a bill at the end of the service.

The different choices each have their own advantages, and disadvantages, and often a mix and match approach is required to fulfil organisational needs. But how do we then manage this complex, hybrid approach of consuming IT?

Well, an IT performance system offers the tools to manage the different challenges of the different approaches. How? Let me use the examples above. If cooking at home, an IT performance system can automate the building, testing, releasing and management of IT infrastructure and software applications.

This reduces costs and the time-to-market. If ordering-in, it can monitor all the parts of the complex IT environment and predict and fix outages before they happen. This maximises IT reliability. If dining out, it can monitor the end-user experience and both alert people of any issues and initiate diagnosis and fix. This maximises quality of service to the customer.

It’s true that technology is not yet advanced enough to incorporate IT performance systems into a restaurant-environment. But for an IT department, it can yield higher quality applications with better security, while maintaining, and in some cases improving the speed of delivery.

For now, I’m enjoying my local Chinese restaurant and buffet as they are. After all, in reality it wouldn’t be a full restaurant experience without the occasional wrong orders, kitchen disasters and front-of-house mishaps. But just imagine the accumulated chaos this would cause in an IT department if these happened daily!