The Digital Health Service – Full Stack Observability

By Tim Wadey, Head of Advisory Logicalis UKI

Many people nowadays have preventative health checks. Increasingly, we screen whole cohorts for disease that, if treated early, reduces the overall impact – breast and bowel cancer being the most well-known. This not only improves the chance of making a full recovery, but also requires less visits to the doctors. Our nations also invest heavily in healthcare for the unwell, but increasingly invest in public health to prevent us getting unwell - the COVID test and vaccination programme being a leading example. So, should we also be making regular health checks on our business?

As your business runs and changes, the leadership is concerned about all aspects of the business health, relying on the metrics that tell them that it is healthy, or not.  However, the metrics to track business health are diverse and often incompatible, for example:

  • Your CFO is focussed on the financial health – can we pay the bills each month, are we turning a profit, do we have the right pipeline?
  • The HR function is worried about not only attracting the right talent but also retaining and developing their colleagues.
  • The sales director is looking at the sales metrics, but also worries about delivery, reputation, and market sentiment – all impacting sales outcomes.

This complex mesh of inputs, outcomes and metrics is also currently somewhere on a digitisation journey, with each component being digitised on differing timeframes: 

  • Finance is well ahead having gone through several generations of technology – numbers are naturally stored and analysed in digital systems, and full digitisation will produce more data.
  • HR is staring at a chasm of opportunity and risk – new tools to assess and manage talent, a paper legacy as old as the first employee and a compliance minefield.
  • Sales digitisation brings new challenges – customers you do not speak with, who develop their sentiment from the online experience, from search to service delivery.

Getting a view of the “digital health” of your business is key.  Understanding what healthy looks like, leading indicators for digital “ill-health” and to ensure systems stay healthy will become the norm.  Being a healthy digital business will be as important as understanding your market.

To meet this challenge the IT professionals in the business need to develop their “digital health service”.  Currently, basic services such as patching and anti-malware help prevent issues, monitoring spots incidents and supports resolution. However, as the digital platforms become more complex, this simply isn’t enough.

In the future each component requires ongoing check-ups, and the digitised business needs general holistic oversight to stop its’ health being impacted in an unplanned manner.  Insight such as: are online transactions running smoothly from all geographies? Is fulfilment getting the right instruction? Are deliveries tracked and is the supply chain running as expected?, are key to delivering this insight correlating all digital health data in a single platform, accessed on a single screen that shows relevant and related insights side-by-side.  Whilst the whole business is a stakeholder in this, delivery end-to-end will sit with the CIO who needs tools to help.

Our strategic partner Cisco, call their solution to this: Full Stack Observability (FSO). Learn more about FSO in our Full Stack Observability Essentials available to download now.

FSO brings several digital tools together to provide an increasingly holistic view of the digital health of a business. With Logicalis and Cisco, our current FSO solution ensures that your business can:

  • Monitor the health of key applications and investigate issues, with enough granularity to identify the line of code that is impacting experience
  • Track digital performance as you roll out changes to applications
  • Understand the health of the digital infrastructure and optimise it – up to improve performance, down to save resources – for reallocation or a cost saving
  • Emulate the experience of a customer or employee accessing the digital service from relevant points around the world
  • Understand the digital experience of users through actively checking

These outcomes and more are delivered by using a converging trio of tools from Cisco; AppDynamics, Intersight Workload Optimizer and ThousandEyes.  But as your digital world is developing, the diagnostic tools need to develop too.  The early Artificial Intelligence (AI) embedded in each will both improve and self-teach, and the technology addressed will change.  And as the observed technology develops, so will the tools.

So what does “digital health” mean to all stakeholders? Even though FSO is early in its lifecycle, we have seen a few real-world examples:

  • A major retailer monitors check-out data and diagnose poor performance to code line level
  • A technology company that diagnosed an issue between its data centres – the traditional toolsets could not see the issue
  • Routine status and performance checks of back-up circuits to ensure they would work when needed

As the CIO starts to measure and diagnose digital ill-health, an option is to use FSO aligned with the differing states of digitisation, whilst delivering tangible outcomes from day one.  We feel that most CIO’s will chose to do this in stages – identifying the biggest problems and quickest wins and phasing in the solution to maximise early value.  Potentially a tactical investment to monitor senior staff experience when working from home, checking the global performance of the ecommerce website, and a significant investment to understand the performance issues in the supply chain software.  Over time the investments will build together to contribute to the overall FSO outcome.

At Logicalis we have a solution delivery approach that recognises this stepping through three phases:

  • Align – we consult to identify and prioritise business issue, run demonstrations and deploy a Proof of Value to the customers environment
  • Transform – we fully deploy the solution following the Proof of Value and incorporate all the supporting services
  • Scale – we work with each customer to include additional use cases or further functionality to increase the scope of the FSO service

We think you should care as much about the digital health of your business as you do for your own health.  FSO gives you the tools to diagnose issues and report on that digital health.  It supports the end users with a better service, IT with rapid diagnostics and the Board gets the reporting that gives confidence in ongoing digitisation.  In future, better AI will predict issues and allow for them to be dealt with ahead of time – in the same way Public Health aims to reduce health issues at source.

To discuss your “digital health”, book an Observability Discovery Workshop with a specialist from Logicalis, and kick start your FSO journey today!