Aligning IT With Business

Mercury Interactive outlined a new initiative and tool to help IT better align its operations with business goals.

Mercury Interactive Corp. earlier this week outlined a new Business Technology Optimization (BTO) initiative intended to help IT better align its operations with business goals.

The application testing and management provider, as part of its BTO effort, introduced the first tool in a new suite that will help bridge the gap between lines of business and IT operations.

Measuring the performance of business applications and presenting performance data in a meaningful way to line-of-business managers has long been a challenge for IT. Most management tools deliver metrics that describe server utilization, CPU usage and the like, but few link those metrics to business goals or show the impact of performance problems or outages on the bottom line.

"The language IT speaks to measure the quality of an automated process is different from that used by the business," said John Bruggeman, vice president of marketing for Mercury Interactive in Sunnyvale, Calif. "The Line of Business (LOB) wants to measure quality by how many more orders can I process, how much cheaper is it to process an order, how many orders can I process concurrently, and so on. The technologists enable them to measure: is the application available, is the network bandwidth enough, is the application secure, is the database accessible."

In fact, in a Mercury Interactive study conducted by Forrester Research of Cambridge, Mass., only 25 percent of IT executives at Fortune 500 companies surveyed said that their organizations did very well at defining and measuring the IT performance of automated business processes against service levels that matter to business.

The study, just released this week, at the same time found that 51 percent plan to transform IT into a service-driven or business-centric model over the next two years.