On the business side, decision makers are asking for some kinds of Operational Intelligence. In an episode of the a16z Podcast, they discussed The Future Of Decision-Making. They noticed that:
As companies digitize, they change the way they make decisions: decisions are made lower in the organization, based on data, and increasingly automated.
In another word, our application needs to provide real-time business related data, such as subscription numbers, churn rate, and so on. Since the data is updated in real-time, business people don't have to wait for a long feedback cycle (from weeks to years) to get a conclusion and then make a decision.
On the operation side, DevOps people are asking for the same thing, a better Operator Experience. In Operable Software, Fred Hebert explained why Observability is important:
- If we want our system to be reliable, we need to know when it misbehaves and when there are bugs.
- The general approach for this is monitoring
- In a nutshell, monitoring is the act of asking your system "how are you doing?", and checking for a response
- Monitoring generally tells you only whether something is wrong, but not what is wrong, nor why it is wrong.
- The identification of a fault is more generally resolved through observability.
- monitoring asks "how are you doing?"
- observability asks "what are you doing?"
- Observability comes from control theory
- self-regulating systems such as
- speed control on a car,
- flight stabilizers in airplanes.
- The gist of observability according to control theory is that by looking at the outputs of a system, you can infer its internal state.
To get a higher level of observability, our application needs to provide real-time data to infer its internal state. Again, real-time is the key here. Only with a short feedback loop, can a better Operator Experience be achieved.
The demands are high from both the business perspective and operation perspective. But I don't see any good solutions for this problem. That's also why in The Future Of Decision-Making, the hosts thought this problem is a great opportunity for starting a new business.