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Tech pros' favorite tools increase IT efficiency

Ann Bednarz | April 17, 2015
Each year we ask IT pros what they love, and this year several management tools ranked among the favorites.

For Wade Warren, a favorite time saver is PagerDuty, an alarm aggregation and dispatching service that integrates with a company's existing infrastructure, application, and network performance management monitoring systems.

"PagerDuty has allowed me to seamlessly build a global staff into a cohesive team to provide rapid response to problems in our production environment, which is serving a user base of nearly 140 million people around the globe," says Warren, vice president of technical operations at wiki hosting service Wikia. "It integrates with all our internal and external monitoring systems and provides visibility into the health of our infrastructure from an executive level, including all the detail needed for our technical staff to drill into problems right away, reducing our time to repair."

On the facilities front, Stuart Walker, facilities technical services manager at Mentor Graphics, has grown to depend on FieldView Infrastructure Software, which he's been using for five years.

"The [FieldView] tool is a monitoring and reporting solution that spans the IT and facilities universe, so it's easy to integrate multiple vendor equipment and multiple protocols with a global reach," Walker says. "We use it to monitor and alert our data centers and critical infrastructure around the world. It only gets better with age. The tools helps me sleep at night knowing that any issue will be detected and alerted. Then for the day job, it's helping us identify waste and inefficiencies."

Todd Kokoszka raved about Microsoft Azure. Kokoszka is vice president of technology at PI Worldwide, which helps companies make data-driven decisions related to hiring, developing, and deploying employees. Azure reduces PI Worldwide's reliance on infrastructure personnel, decreases the time it takes to provision and configure new servers, and integrates smoothly with its NET development, Kokoszka says.

"We are doing a complete rebuilding of our accessPI application, which is our client-facing SaaS offering that delivers behavioral science insights into an organization's employees, candidates and job positions," Kokoszka says. "Azure provides us a way to use continuous deployment while reducing the need to daisy chain a variety of build, deployment, and testing tools."

Employee monitoring software impressed Jim Beck, owner of Beck Tech Support, which offers tech support to small business and consumers.

"Our clients need the same support of larger firms but do not have the same financial depth to afford that support. That's where we come in," Beck says. "We constantly monitor new tools and solutions and offer the best of them to our clients. ActivTrak has been a boon to several of our clients by allowing them to monitor what their employees are doing without being intrusive."

Thanks to ActivTrak, one of Beck's clients found an employee trying to poach clients; another discovered an attorney was inappropriately trying to affect a settlement amount; and a film production company identified an assistant who was leaking script and shooting information. "ActivTrak puts the control in the hands of the employer and keeps the price affordable or free," Beck says.

 

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