Data Centre Cockpit
// Business Intelligence, IT Processes and Organisation, IT Quality Improvement
Interview: Dr. Matthias Rensing and Marco Nielinger (noventum consulting) with Prof. Dr. Gottfried Vossen (WWU)
Rensing: Professor Vossen, what was the objective of the cooperation between you and noventum consulting in the Data Centre Cockpit project and how did the cooperation work out?
Vossen: A cooperation with partners in the industry is typical for projects of this type and is of great benefit to our students. You are confronted with realistic tasks which typically has strong learning effects. But there is also a change that good employers and their future employees meet one another in these projects. Therefore, both parties have a lot to gain from this. To us, the cooperation felt quite productive.
Rensing: There is a number of approaches and systems that support the control of IT. What is so special about the Data Centre Cockpit?
Vossen: The Data Centre Cockpit allows for the mapping of any abstract business goals to concrete network sizes via goal hierarchies. This means to essentially apply a data warehouse approach to the validation of business goals.
Nielinger: Contrary to a data warehouse which only stores hard facts, it serves as a bridge towards interpretation and assessment. Thresholds are defined, and the system then indicates e.g. how „good or bad“ 1000 incident are.
Vossen: And the measurement graphs are configured such that the degree of achieving the goal can be calculated for different consideration contexts, e.g. for an individual service or for a specific time period. I can see how close I am to a specific requirement and/or to what extent I have achieved a specific goal. I can perform analyses in real time. I can do this with different visualisation techniques. I have cross-references. I have different forms of aggregation for navigating in goal hierarchies and such.
Rensing: Based on which scheme or system did you classify the processes to be discussed in your project?
Vossen: The Cobit framework served as a guideline. But the Data Centre Cockpit is not tied to it and other hierarchies and other control options could also be supported by it.
Rensing: How much customisation is necessary, if applicable, to put the system to use for different customers? Can the DCC be applied anywhere? And when talking about applicability, does the work start from scratch each and every time, does the wheel have to be reinvented time and again?
Vossen: Only in part. Of course, the program code is preconfigured. But, depending on the customer, the relevant goals have to be identified first and then entered into the meta data. And that, at times, can take some effort. Ultimately, customers have to specify what they want to control and what they want to look at.
Rensing: What does the future hold for the mapping of IT management goals in information systems – will this continue to be a topic at your department?
Vossen: The topic requires intensive interaction with a practicing partner such as noventum consulting. If the opportunity for other cooperations in this area arises, we will be open to it.
Rensing: What does the future hold for the topic Data Centre Cockpit at noventum consulting?
Nielinger: We keep on working on it. We have the DCC running on two of our systems and we have made initial contact with customers who are very much interested in the idea.