Surface – Refine – Act: Data-Driven Decision Making

Configuration Manager creates a lot of data.  We can be better systems managers if we can use that data to make decisions, but that process is not always as simple as it sounds.  Often, getting at the data you need in the  console feels like traversing a crevasse. You can see where you want to go, you have a good idea of how you might get there, but when it comes to actually getting across the gap there’s a lot more to it than first meets the eye.

This problem often leads to something I like to call data paralysis.  In the same way you might look down with trepidation over the edge of that gap or break out in a cold sweat at the broken rung, surfacing the data you need to make systems management decisions has a lot of ways you can get sidetracked.  We take one look at the gap we need to cross to get make the decision we need, and spend days trying to find a way to fix or fill it– spending a lot of time and effort but going nowhere.

the sword in the stone disney GIF

Build a Better Bridge

The solution to many of the procedure issues that cause gaps in the decision making cycle is to build a better bridge.  This is one of the main reasons we created the Right Click Tools in the first place– when we can surface data more easily, refine that data to a usable state, and then act on it immediately, we avoid data paralysis altogether.   

way bridge GIF

The RCT Enterprise Query tool is a perfect example of this: 

If you would like to see more of how the Query tool and other Right Click Tools can help you improve your data-driven decision making– schedule a walkthrough with us.  It’s a quick, low pressure way to learn more about the tools, ask technical questions, and see how the tools can help in your environment.

RCT Tip of the Week: Using SUDS to Check Your ADR Work

The Software Update Deployment Status (SUDS) tool, is a great way to check on software update deployments and more proactively manage your environment.  SUDS can also help you address some of the more common Automatic Deployment Rule (ADR) issues so you can refine your automation and make sure your processes aren’t missing anything.

Navigate to SUDS: Monitoring tab-> Recast node-> Software Update Deployment Status tool.

Run a scan on the collection your ADR’s target for deployment.

Looking at the non-compliant results, you can determine if there might be ADR issues by checking the “Deployed” column.  If the update is part of your ADR’s and the column shows “False”, check out your ADR’s to see what you might have missed.

For more information about SUDS and the other RCT Security and Compliance Dashboards– check out out the video below, or visit our Wiki.  You can also schedule a demo to talk more specifically how RCT Enterprise can help in your environment.

A Happy You is Good for the Org, Too

At Recast, we often get asked about the Right Click Tools in terms of dollars and time saved, and how we can help admins like you be more productive in the time you work.  It’s important stuff, maximizing your time and effort as a System Administrator can have sweeping effects on the productivity of the entire organization.  That being said, today’s blog post is all about something much more important and with much more impact: being happy.

Being Happy and Engaged in the Work is Critically Important… Especially in IT.

Systems management is hard.  Somewhere between all the technology changes, revolving security concerns, people/process issues, organizational policy/politics, and myriad of ways things can just go wrong– there’s a real person who wants to achieve their career and personal goals.  Too often in our industry, the needs of the person get lost in favor of the needs of the organization or the needs of the technology, but this thinking is actually backward for those seeking high performance from their sysadmin teams.

In an 3 year survey report published by Towers Perrin ISR, organizations with high employee engagement had nearly 6% better operating margin and 4% better profit margins compared to those with low employee engagement.  In a field that already has the potential for sweeping impact on an organization, making sure that sysadmins enjoy and believe in their work is critical for maximizing organizational success.  The fact is, when sysadmin teams are engaged in their work, magic happens.  Systems are more secure.  Downtime is decreased.  End users are better trained in the use of their technology tools and therefore more effective at their jobs.  The organization stands out from the competition because the team is more effective.  

You Can’t Be Happy if Everything is On Fire.

This might sound familiar: Well-trained, highly skilled SysAdmin is hired on and tasked with managing an environment.  SysAdmin quickly realizes this actually means putting out metaphorical fires in the environment all day, while simultaneously being blamed for starting those fires in the first place. In this scenario, job satisfaction, happiness, and engagement are going to be hard goals to reach!  The solution is to get out of the business of firefighting, but you can’t stop firefighting unless you can stop the fires from starting, but you can’t stop the fires from starting until you have time to stop firefighting.  It’s a recipe for dissatisfaction, organizational friction, and high rates of turnover.


This was the reason we created the Right Click Tools from the beginning– if we can give you the tools you need as a SysAdmin to be more productive/proactive, offer easier ways for you to get the data you need to make better decisions, and improve/integrate with the tools you already use, you might just have a chance of shifting from firefighting to fire prevention.  Tools like the Status Message viewer– which lets you troubleshoot a task sequence in seconds rather than hours.  Or the enhanced Query Tool, which lets you surface data more effectively, sort/filter results to where they need to be, and then take action immediately.  You can learn more about the what the tools can do to help you get out of the firefighting business by scheduling a demo.