2023 is the year tech professionals deal with tool sprawl once and for all

Application performance tools. Cloud services tools. Database performance tools. Here a tool, there a tool, everywhere a tool! Digital transformation initiatives and the rapid shift to remote and hybrid work have made for one tired and spun-out IT professional.

What are the cons to tool sprawl?

Information technology (IT) environments have become increasingly complex and hard to appropriately monitor as enterprises have adopted a host of various tools to keep up with digital transformation projects insisted upon by leadership and mandated by the changing times. In addition to these new developments, companies are already relying on a bevy of solutions to monitor their IT infrastructures, applications, networks, and databases.

On average, engineers are tracking 16 monitoring tools, with some managing as many as 40 as service-level agreements increase. “Less is more” is the most applicable phrase here, as many tools only lead to siloed data, poor integration, security vulnerabilities, and an immense lack of visibility. And homegrown tools aren’t making the situation any better.

Instead of licensing software apps from vendors to meet business needs, some information technology teams create their own in-house. Then individuals often carry them as they move from job to job, and when the tool owner leaves, critical knowledge of that tool is also lost. The more devices they have and the more tools a company employs, the harder it becomes for teams to get the valuable information they need from their homegrown tools. 

Homegrown tools also aren’t very compatible with other tools, meaning IT pros have yet another system to log onto and navigate. We’ve previously seen IT pros be highly hesitant to give up their homegrown tools. Part of this resistance comes from the difficulty of letting go of their creation, and part comes from determining how much time is spent on maintenance.

What are the two trends to look out for in 2023?

With all these challenges and complexities facing us in the next year, I think we will finally see more and more people release their tools to create more streamlined processes and save time. Tool sprawl is not a new problem by any means. We have discussed this obstacle for nearly a decade in both technology and the business industry at large. But there are two trends on track to make 2023 the year we combat tool sprawl once and for all.

Economic Headwinds and a Potential Recession

Reporting has shown that CEOs expect a recession over the next 12 months. In the face of this, businesses are cracking down on budgets, looking to cut costs wherever possible.

And not only obvious financial costs but also time costs which translates to labor cost and customer loss due to slow issue resolution times. Smaller teams mean the demand is on employees to do more with less. The bar is being raised for the introduction of new tools. If they aren’t consistently adding value, they won’t be in the company’s infrastructure for long. 

Introduction of New Solutions and the Move to Observability

Thankfully, there are some tools on the market proving to be invaluable for companies. The move to observability makes it possible for these IT teams to achieve better visibility with fewer tools. It empowers them to do more with less instead of drowning them.

Leveraging observability and AI tools help IT pros achieve full visibility of all tools in one place, ensure greater application performance, troubleshoot and resolve issues more quickly, improve operating efficiency, and produce higher-quality software. Technology solutions have undergone various evolutions and transformations over the last few years.

Observability is the evolution of monitoring, and AIOps and machine learning are tools intended to augment and improve upon observability. Companies globally are beginning to realise they can save valuable time for their organisations by essentially investing in these new tools and technologies designed to enhance the quality of their work lives. 

Continuous iteration, improvement, integration, and delivery systems are becoming widely adopted because they could save companies roughly $4.8m per year, on average. 2023 is the year companies finally consolidate these tools into observability and AIOps solutions. 

The business needs and customer experience have to be prioritised as they are the main driving forces in making and executing decisions. When conducting thorough “look-backs,” business executives see signs the tools they initially implemented are no longer meeting business objectives. As a potential recession looms, information technology teams should be looking to let go of those tools and return some money to their budget. 

IT teams should release those homegrown tools found to no longer provide value and determine which tools can be merged into one. Stay unemotional in 2023 and get rid of it.

Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek and Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager at SolarWinds. He is a dedicated technologist with over a decade of experience spanning capacity planning, server architecture, and troubleshooting.

Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek at SolarWinds