Map Your Organization on the Monitoring Maturity Model

How mature is your monitoring capability within IT?

Monitoring has been around for decades as a way for IT operations to gain insight into the availability and performance of IT systems. However, according to a survey by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), most enterprises find it difficult to determine the right monitoring strategy. Additionally, 65% of enterprises have more than 10 monitoring tools. These monitoring tools run as siloed solutions to support specific needs for different teams. This limits IT operation’s ability to centrally detect, diagnose and address performance issues, especially when they span multiple teams or technologies. When issues occur, it is left to the IT teams to figure out root cause by manually piecing together siloed data fragments. This traditional approach to monitoring is time-consuming and doesn’t provide the insights that improve business outcomes. 

Based on research and conversations with enterprises from various industries we created the Monitoring Maturity Model. This model reflects the four stages of monitoring. It will help you understand your current monitoring maturity level, as well as what you can aspire to.

Level 1 – Individual Component Monitoring

At the first level of the Monitoring Maturity Model, you are lagging behind industry peers. Monitoring is largely done manually or not at all. IT teams spend most of their time understanding and filtering alerts and minimizing downtime. At this level, you are monitoring each individual component across your environment. Monitoring solutions only report whether a component is up or down. If an issue occurs that involves multiple components, it’s up to you and your team to find out what happened and determine if it’s relevant for further investigation. Monitoring the health of each component is the basis of monitoring. To gain a better understanding of the performance and availability of your systems, it’s critical to move on to level 2.

Level 2 – In-Depth Monitoring

Most organizations are at level 2. At this level, you are monitoring systems from different angles to gain an overall perspective. You need to collect three critical types of telemetry from the components you are monitoring: metrics, logs and traces. Today’s IT organizations use many different tools for different purposes. That’s a good thing, because you’ll need the different types of data to get a better understanding of what’s going on across your systems. However, the use of different tools also comes with a price. When everything goes haywire, multiple teams receive an overload of alerts and need to jump from tool to tool to determine root cause. Technological and organizational boundaries further complicate the process of piecing together a complete picture of what’s going on. War room meetings and finger pointing usually follow. Meanwhile, your customers are not happy and revenue is lost.

Level 3 – Next Generation Monitoring

Organizations are migrating workloads to the cloud and implementing DevOps to accelerate software delivery. Fast, short release cycles and dynamic cloud environments make it hard to manage the application and infrastructure landscape. IT teams need to understand how infrastructure and applications are interrelated and how changes impact the business. At monitoring level 3, you are not only tracking alerts, metrics, logs and traces, but you also take changes and dependencies into account. This data comes from tools that know a specific part of the environment like discovery, deployment or provisioning tools, cloud providers or container management. Consolidating all data gives you a precise picture of your entire IT landscape and how it evolves over time. At this level, you have full stack visibility into all the components that make up your different services. 

If your monitoring maturity is at level 3, you’ll instantly see the cause and impact of any change or failure across silos. Seeing what, when and why something happened allows you to accelerate MTTR, quickly solve incidents and avoid war room meetings. If you find yourself operating at monitoring level 3, you are on the right track and ahead of most of your peers.

Level 4 – Relationship-Based Observability

The final level of the monitoring maturity model is all about applying relationship-based observability to your operations. Relationship-based observability breaks new ground, allowing you to add the following unique capabilities to monitoring: 

  • Relationship change analysis between transactions, microservices, applications, containers and all of the resources that support them in real-time, over time. This means understanding exactly what these relationships are and how they changed before, during and after an incident. 
  • Changes in configuration state of the application and its entire supporting infrastructure in real-time, over time. This means knowing exactly how the configuration state changed before, during and after an incident. 
  • Root cause based upon AI and deterministic relationships. Relationship-based observability means that the AI knows with certainty that a set of objects are related to each other and that they all support and affect a transaction of interest. This avoids the false alarms that can result from AI, confusing correlation with causation.


Monitoring is at the core of any digital enterprise. Knowing what changed and who should be concerned, and being able to take action in real-time is critical to meet business SLAs and the growing expectations of customers. This Monitoring Maturity model provides a yardstick to measure your monitoring approach as well as a guide to make improvements. 

Visit StackState in booth 1 and get the complete Monitoring Maturity Model white paper or download it from the StackState website.

Author's Bio

Heidi Gilmore

Office of the CMO at StackState