Concord Business Console Checks IT Health

IT performance reporting provider Concord Communications hopes its Business Service Console appeals to CIOs and line-of-business managers looking for a quick status check on the health of their IT services.

IT performance reporting provider Concord Communications Inc. on Monday announced its new Business Service Console, making a play for CIOs and line-of-business managers looking for a quick status check on the health of their IT services.

The Business Service Console, which draws its data and analysis from Concords eHealth Suite, provides an aggregated view of network, systems, application performance and end-user response time data.

The simple console, which features red, yellow and green icons, displays "the end user experience" of an IT service so that component-level failures that dont affect end users are not called out, according to Frank Kettenstock, vice president of marketing at Concord in Marlboro, Mass.

"We give the same thing to IT operations, plus a lot more data. Thresholds can be customized per user, so operations gets their view while executives get theirs," he said.

Unique to the Concord BSC is a stock ticker-like format for the display of specified IT services, which the IT executive or line-of-business manager can click on to drill down for more detail on a specific icon.

"You can double-click on something that shows yellow or red—click on it to see if someones working on it, how long its been a problem. You also get a strip chart for the past 24 hours to see when a service has been out if youve been out of the office," Kettenstock said.

"Im not sure if the ticker is useful, but its sexy. Ill periodically look at it," said beat tester George Tillmann, CIO at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in McLean, Va. "Probably as sexy as it is, the data below it is more useful,"

What Tillmann said he finds more useful about the BSC is the fact that each of the views provided by the console and by the eHealth reporting tools comes from the same "definitive database." That way, as data is used to drive operational and management decisions, "you have the same data driving strategic decisions," he said.

Concord is a bit late to market with such capability, but the move is a "natural one" for the company, said Stephen Elliott, an analyst with IDC in Framingham, Mass.

"If youre in infrastructure management and you dont have a business console, youre behind the times," Elliott said. "Now, with that said, this is a no-brainer for a company with a big installed base where they have strong [customer] relationships. They are also making sure they dont miss out on deals because they dont have a business portal."

The BSC, a browser-based console, works with eHealth servers running on Windows as well as on Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris and Hewlett-Packard Co.s HP-UX. It is due in June and starts at $100,000.

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