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Filling in the gaps

Following a recent survey highlighting the avoidable problem of IT outages, James Goulding spoke to Mark Banfield about how LogicMonitor enables its enterprise and managed service provider customers to avoid IT outages

More than half (53%) of IT outages and brownouts experienced by UK businesses – and 97% of businesses have experienced one – are avoidable, claims LogicMonitor, provider of a SaaSbased performance monitoring platform for enterprise IT and IT service providers. According to its new report, IT Outage Impact Study 2019, the most common causes of downtime are network failure, software malfunction, usage spikes/ surges, third party provider outages, human error and configuration error.

Mark Banfield, Chief Revenue Officer of LogicMonitor, suggests that many of these incidents could be avoided simply by identifying when critical hardware or software performance is trending downwards or when usage is moving towards a danger level (e.g. when there is more traffic than the network can handle or when a primary storage share is running out of space).

While IT infrastructure monitoring has long been standard practice, Banfield suggests that the complexity of today’s environments means that many businesses have gaps in their coverage that is putting them at risk, not just of IT outages, but also of degraded performance, e.g. latency and delays on websites, that can be just as damaging to a company’s reputation and customer relationships.

“IT infrastructures are far more complex today than they were just three or five years ago,” he said. “Organisations are moving to the cloud at a dramatic rate and they are embracing new technologies, such as software defined wide area networks. The monitoring tools that many of these organisations have used for years aren’t necessarily able to cope with complex new environments or the pace of change, so you start to get gaps in coverage. That’s where LogicMonitor’s value proposition is very strong. We provide a unified monitoring platform that allows you to monitor everything in your infrastructure, from the network through to the servers, the virtualised environments, the applications layer. We monitor more than 2,000 different technologies out of the box. Not only that, but our customers are able to extend the capability of the platform very easily through scripting.”

As well as increasing the likelihood of gaps in visibility, the complexity of today’s IT environments adds to the management burden for organisations that might already have half a dozen or more monitoring platforms.

“Where LogicMonitor wins is in tool consolidation. Enterprises are over the moon when they come across a product like ours that allows them to do everything from a single pane of glass. Most of our customers will reduce multiple monitoring tools down to one, which is ours,” claimed Banfield.

European expansion In the 12 months since its acquisition by Vista Equity Partners in May 2018, LogicMonitor has significantly expanded its presence in the UK and Europe, increasing headcount in EMEA operations from 10 people to more than 60 and enjoying year-on-year sales growth of more than 160% amongst its customer base. This includes MSPs that use LogicMonitor to manage the IT infrastructure of SME customers (accounting for about 40% of LogicMonitor’s business) and enterprises that, because of digitisation, depend more and more on reliable IT.

“Organisations across the world have digitised multiple aspects of their customer experience and their employee experience and as a result have become increasingly dependent on the underlying IT infrastructure. IT outages are really catastrophic for businesses, so whatever you can do to minimise that is absolutely critical,” Banfield explained.

“It is critical to have visibility, to be able to pinpoint a potential problem quickly, to be able to identify exactly what part of the infrastructure is underperforming or falling over. We enable organisations to do that and we enable them to do it really well and really quickly.”

Traditionally IT monitoring has been dominated by on-premise solutions. However, Banfield believes this is changing.

“Ten years ago, convincing people to move to SaaS for their core infrastructure monitoring was a tough job. But I think times have changed. If you look at the proliferation of ServiceNow, for example, which is in 60-70% of major enterprises, people have clearly got over the hump of moving to SaaS. We are catching that wave in the monitoring world,” he said.

“LogicMonitor is a completely cloudbased service. There is just a collector, a very lightweight piece of JavaScript that we put into the customer’s network. This inspects the different technologies an organisation may be running, collects information and brings it back into the SaaS platform where we correlate and analyse the data, build dashboards and provide alerts when a particular threshold has been breached.”

Banfield says that LogicMonitor’s delivery model – SaaS and agentless – allows it to start monitoring environments in a matter of minutes, unlike an on-premise product where you have to set up the platform and then deploy agents on relevant infrastructure pieces before they can start monitoring.

“Any CIO will tell you how important it is to be agile, to be able to drive change in a business very quickly. LogicMonitor supports this vision by allowing organisations to move quickly. If they have a new project that involves deploying new technology or they acquire a company that has a whole new infrastructure, LogicMonitor enables them to start monitoring that overnight. Having that visibility, that single pane of glass is really, really valuable,” he said.

What’s next

And it is likely to become more valuable as LogicMonitor continues to develop its product. It has already begun to move into AIOps, improving its ability to spot anomalies, for example, and with the next iteration of the platform will be much more predictive.

“Monitoring historically has been a very reactive process, where you identify a problem, the monitoring tells you where it is, and you fix it,” explained Banfield. “We are developing the platform to be more predictive, to identify an issue early, to bring it to the attention of the IT operator before it becomes a major problem and to automate the actions needed to fix it. It’s about taking an IT approach and being more preventative and predictive.”

www.logicmonitor.com/it-outage-impactsurvey

Opportunities for the channel

Historically, LogicMonitor has sold direct to enterprises, but as it seeks to expand, it has started to work more with channel partners

“In the past, we have been very much a direct sales operation, which we will continue to be – we will always have direct sellers that work directly into enterprises to convey the solutions and the value we provide. But, increasingly, we are also working with the channel. We are working with resellers, value added resellers, as well as system integrators,” explained Banfield.

“That channel is quite valuable for us, because they will very often have deep relationships with end users and they have a lot of services capability, so they can start to provide professional services around the product.”

He added: “One of LogicMonitor’s values is that it is very quick and easy to deploy. Another – and this is one of the great things about SaaS products like ours – is that we integrate with so many parts of the eco-system. You can integrate it with an ITSM, ServiceNow for example. We integrate directly into the CMDB, so everything you discover in the network can be pulled in to populate the CMDB. We also integrate with orchestration products like Puppet or Ansible, and we integrate with things like Slack. Because LogicMonitor integrates with so many different parts of a customer’s IT environment, there is a definite opportunity for the channel and system integrators in particular to drive that services business. They can get good revenue from that, as well as making margin on reselling LogicMonitor.”

Selling LogicMonitor to larger enterprises with IT teams that like to retain responsibility for the operation of their own systems is one source of revenue. LogicMonitor also gives the channel the ability to offer monitoring as a service.

“MSPs do well with a certain size of organisation or a certain type of organisation where IT isn’t necessarily the core competence,” explained Banfield.

“Think about an SMB, say a 200-person law firm in London. Is IT their core competence? Are they really thinking through big data, how to embrace mobile, how to transform the business for the cloud, or do they rely on a specialist provider like an MSP? Mostly, the answer is that those organisations go to an MSP because they are their trusted IT provider. LogicMonitor is pretty powerful for an MSP because it lets them monitor an entire environment on behalf of those customers.”

 

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2020