What is tool consolidation?

Tool consolidation defined

Tool consolidation is the process of reducing the number of tools used by a business or organization to monitor their infrastructure and applications. Tool consolidation works by swapping multiple tools for a smaller set of tools that are more productive and efficient. This helps to cut down on an organization's technology stack, lowers maintenance costs, eliminates data silos, and can improve employee productivity.

What are some of the challenges of tool sprawl?

Tool sprawl refers to the creeping expansion of monitoring tools within an organization. It can be problematic because it leads to a technology environment with data silos making it hard to identify and troubleshoot issues. DevOps teams are then faced with a technology infrastructure that is tough to manage effectively. Some of the challenges of tool sprawl include:

  • Monitoring multiple tools: Monitoring complex application environments can create tool sprawl. Managing overlapping tools and systems can be an insurmountable task for teams. Maintaining multiple vendor relationships and contracts: Using multiple tools from various vendors can be expensive. It can require training on each tool power and manpower for each contract as it renews.
  • Lack of visibility: It can be tough to get a clear picture of what's happening across environments when too many tools are in use. For example, the lack of visibility due to monitoring and telemetry data in multiple tool silos makes it hard to correlate data and diagnose problems faster.
  • Lack of productivity: Teams may have to spend a significant amount of time managing and maintaining tools instead of focusing on their main responsibilities. Each new tool presents its own learning curve which takes time for each person to master. Having to constantly switch between different applications inevitably reduces employee productivity and increases mean time to resolution (MTTR).
  • Lack of integration: When tools are not integrated with each other, they can require manual workarounds and additional administrative tasks. For example, having separate tools to monitor front end, back end, logs, and infrastructure can make it difficult to correlate and pinpoint the root cause.
  • Increased cost: Multiple tools mean multiple license agreements or subscriptions which can quickly add up. Teams may require costly special training for some tools. Additional IT staff may be needed to maintain all the tools. Having tools that share some of the same features means paying double for the same functionality.
  • Security issues: The more complex the technology environment, the harder it is to get a complete overview of security. This leads to more chances for external attacks. It requires extra time and effort to keep up with patching and updates across older, dated tools.

Why is tool consolidation important?

Tool consolidation is important because it simplifies processes, reduces costs, and increases efficiency. By consolidating tools, organizations can get a better handle on their entire operations process. This helps IT operations teams make better decisions and increases their productivity.

Tool consolidation is essential for businesses to consider as they architect their digital transformation strategies for the future. By leveraging AI and machine learning, tool consolidation helps organizations gain deeper insights into their data, improving business outcomes and pulling ahead of the competition. Tool consolidation also makes it easier to migrate applications to the cloud because it provides visibility and end-user experience during the migration process.

Benefits of consolidating tools

There are numerous benefits to consolidating tools. Instead of using multiple standalone tools, organizations can use a single platform that provides unified observability and end-to-end functionality which offers the following advantages:

  • End-to-end visibility: Unified visibility delivers end-to-end visibility that helps organizations solve problems faster. By using a platform approach that collects and consolidates all telemetry data, organizations can spot bottlenecks that are happening, and note where improvements can be made.
  • Reducing costs: Consolidating their tools into one platform lets organizations do much more with fewer costs. They save money previously spent on licenses and subscriptions for multiple tools. Unifying under one observability platform also eliminates the ongoing maintenance and support costs that those tools required.
  • Recovered productivity: Do more with less. A simplified technology infrastructure allows businesses to adapt quickly to changing needs. With less time spent handling multiple tools, teams can pursue more productive tasks, completing more work in less time.
  • Eliminating data silos: Improve efficiency by breaking down internal silos. Consolidating tools creates a “single source of truth,” reducing Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) for potential issues.
  • Improved collaboration: A unified observability platform unifies teams and reduces friction in the collaboration and triage process. Teams receive the same, real-time information in an easy-to-navigate solution.

Implementing tool consolidation: What to look for in a unified observability solution

When choosing an observability platform for tool consolidation, it's important to ask a few questions first:

  • Can it scale as your organization grows? As your organization grows and adds more observability and monitoring data, your observability platform needs to be able to scale without compromising performance.
  • Does it offer resource-based pricing? This can help reduce costs because you are only paying for the resources you currently use. It can also make it easier to scale up or down depending on your organization's needs in the future.
  • Can it handle multiple use cases? Take inventory of your organization’s needs and systems to monitor. For example, if your organization has several departments, a platform needs to support the unique needs of each team while still providing a consolidated view of all your data. When everyone is working with the same data they can collaborate more effectively.
  • Does it provide data governance capabilities? These can include historical data, auditing, and access controls. This is particularly important when consolidating tools because it can help ensure that data is properly managed and secured across all your tools.
  • How much support and training does this platform provider offer? Do they have detailed training resources and responsive customer support? These are key factors when you are asking your entire organization to convert to a unified platform.

Achieve tool consolidation with Elastic Observability

Elastic Observability helps teams reduce tool sprawl with an open, flexible, and unified observability solution, powered by advanced machine learning and analytics — built on Elasticsearch. Easily learn and maintain just one tool for identifying performance issues, ingesting all operational and business telemetry data, and correlating issues for faster root cause detection.