Single-Pane-of-Glass Management: Is It a Myth?

IT Infrastructure - Other
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Many organizations tolerate inefficiencies in their IT infrastructure by using multiple, separate tools that need to be handled individually.


Editor's note: This article introduces the white paper "Single-Pane-of Glass-Management: Is It a Myth?" available free from the MC White Paper Center.


The ever-increasing accessibility of IT presents business with a great opportunity to be productive from just about anywhere. However, this in turn gives rise to a range of issues and complications that cannot be ignored. Organizations in today's marketplace must be able to securely manage a complex configuration of applications, devices, and business-critical information while allowing employees to engage with the systems in a variety of ways. Even the smallest businesses have to manage a myriad of different entitiesservers, networks, applications, storage, and remote devices.


With so much to take into account, and with so much riding on the implications of these decisions, is it possible to manage it all through a single pane of glass, or is the concept just a myth?


Just 25 years ago, Donnie MacColl, Technical Director at Halcyon Software Inc., started his career in IT. He looked after an AS/400 installation, so he was concerned with one only thing: the AS/400. That was all he needed to know and understand. Over a quarter century has passed, and now he has to multi-task across different operating systems, networks, and an ever-growing number of applications that are critical to the success of the business. Today, this scenario is not unusual.


Specialization was a buzzword in the IT industry, promising increased productivity and efficiencies of resource, and large organizations kept the application, server, storage, and network teams separate from each other. IT managers purchased separate software solutions with specialist functionality for each team because collaboration between the teams was infrequent and each silo was responsible for its own management and decision-making.


This legacy still holds true today, with even more silos adding more complexity to the infrastructure. Nowadays, it's common to see additional silos for virtualization and cloud teams, using yet more tools and different applications. Such complex arrangements can lead to a collection of disparate IT departments, often duplicating services and leading to an unfathomable maze of options to consider when problems arise. This causes inefficiencies in the business, recognizable from the following symptoms:

  • Individual workers are limited to looking after only a part of an organization's infrastructure. This leads to inflexibility amongst staff because they can manage only a subset of the bigger picture. They are unable to provide cover for other IT silos; consequently, there is little or no transfer of skills.
  • Multiple tools and interfaces require staff to become a "jack of all trades." This can reduce both productivity and morale as individuals are frequently required to work outside of their skillset.
  • The time taken to resolve issues can increase if the problem cuts across multiple teams and platforms, all using different tools.


As a result of these symptoms, the business becomes sluggish, and critical systems and applications can become unavailable, which in turn can have potential implications for orders, shipments, or transactions. When this happens, the inability to respond in a timely manner can have far-reaching consequences.


By having a single-pane-of-glass solution in place, you minimize the confusion and remove the obstructions that can prevent the business from moving forward.    


The concept of a single pane of glass has been with us for some time now and is one that many companies still struggle to come to terms with. Too many organizations still tolerate inefficiencies in their IT infrastructure by using multiple, separate tools that need to be handled individually, which normally results in a duplication of effort and a waste of valuable and expensive resources.


Without throwing out things that are embedded and already work really well within your business, is it worth working toward improvements that can lead to significant IT efficiencies and a more coordinated IT strategy for your business operations?


By implementing the right single-pane-of-glass strategy in your organization and actively moving toward it, you can reduce costs, save time and resource, increase productivity, and improve service levels.

Want to Know More?

Download the free white paper "Single-Pane-of-Glass Management: Is It a Myth?" from the MC White Paper Center.