To ensure applications meet customer expectations, many organizations deploy numerous solutions to monitor, alert, analyze, and share information. Finding the best tool for the job often results in several different teams using different tools and confusion over which tools are best or where to look first when trying to resolve an incident; hence, the purpose of this series. Each blog will cover a description of the category, vendors, common features of the tools, and relevant Catchpoint integrations. Categories to be covered include:
- Application performance monitoring
- Alerting and notification
- IT operations and analytics
- Configuration and release
Communication methods have evolved. Long gone are the days of the Pony Express, as individuals are now looking for near-instant communication and ways to collaborate. Email used to be the preferred method of communication but that is slowly being replaced by collaboration and messaging platforms.
These platforms include features such as:
- Instant individual and group chats
- File sharing
- Workflow automation
- Task management
- Video and voice conferencing
With today’s distributed workforce, being able to quickly communicate and collaborate with team members in different locations can increase employee and organizational productivity. Communication and collaboration are important at all times, but one of the most critical times is when trying to resolve an incident. When systems are not behaving as expected and customers are unhappy, every second counts. Being able to quickly communicate and access the relevant information can lead to faster incident resolution.
While organizations are becoming flatter, work is still sometimes done in silos. There may be multiple teams trying to resolve an alert for their area of focus, and the events are all related. Collaboration tools help to remove the communication silos and mystery of what other teams may be working on.
One of the most frustrating aspects of incident resolution for me was the seemingly constant interruptions from people asking for status updates. It sometimes seemed like more time was spent responding to emails asking for status updates than troubleshooting. With collaboration platforms, all messages can be visible in public workspaces eliminating the stream of emails requesting status updates.
Additional resources are often needed when troubleshooting such as runbooks or conference bridges. This information can be stored and quickly accessed from the workspace streamlining workflow and saving valuable minutes.
Collaboration tools are becoming essential for organizations to adapt to the changing needs of the workforce. When implementing a collaboration solution to help with incident management, ensure you have processes in place to identify which tools should send messages to which workspaces and how those messages are managed. Initial alerts can go to a general team workspace but then may need to move to a war room or specific incident workspace for better tracking and archiving purposes.
Being able to rapidly communicate with key stakeholders when an incident is occurring is a critical component of incident resolution. No longer is email the preferred method of communication for many organizations. Through our integrations with collaboration and messaging platforms organizations can receive alerts and take action without waiting for an email to be delivered.
The information sent in the alerts can be customized and tailored to your organization’s needs. Details including the severity of the alert, which systems are impacted, and indications as to potential reasons for the incident can be included. If/switch statements can tailor the message and routing. For example, if a critical alert occurs send it to the Sev1 channel with a note that says “Attention NOC: Critical incident for core application in US-West.”
The Alert Webhook from Catchpoint can push data to an alerting & notification system when a test triggers an alert enabling customers to kick off meetings, assign tasks, and start collaborating. Any tool supporting Webhooks or providing a URL to POST data can be used. Alert Webhook templates can be customized to fit a tool’s format and content-type using Macros. Catchpoint customers can get more details on configuring alert webhooks from the Alert Webhook Guide.
A sampling of alerting & notification vendors that Catchpoint integrates with:
Microsoft Teams drives intelligent communication across an organization by combining conversations, meetings, documents, and third-party integrations into a single platform. Create persistent or threaded chats with files such as runbooks and procedures attached to quickly resolve incidents.
Slack provides a platform to connect teams with the applications, services, and resources necessary for collaboration. With thousands of applications, organizations can streamline work and automates tasks to increase operational efficiency.
From Atlassian, Stride is a complete team communication solution. It combines everything you need for collaboration in one place with group chat and direct messaging, voice and video conferencing, and built-in collaboration tools. Assign tasks based on conversations, or flag a discussion to be able to quickly reference and find them in the future.