The logs go in and the visualizations and insights come out. You suddenly have access to data you never had before—data that helps improve your operations and your DevOps environment. But is that where the value of log analysis stops? No! Extending log analysis benefits your entire organization, not just the development and IT Operation teams.
When you’re in the weeds of operations and development, finding the time to discover and implement extensions of your tooling isn’t always easy. Log analysis holds the unique position of transcending the entire development environment, and with access to more data on your operation than any one individual, log analysis can and should be leveraged across your entire enterprise. Communication, technical support, product management, growth hacking, infrastructure cost allocation and security are just a few of the specific areas that benefit from supercharged log analysis.
We often don’t realize how much time we spend explaining technology concepts to executive and development teams. Log analysis provides the opportunity to create a standard setup of visual communication using tools and terms that only need to be explained once. Operations teams are certainly guilty of using terminology that is difficult to understand. Using log analysis, ops and development teams are able to prepare and present their information not just more quickly, but also in a simple, clear format that becomes familiar to the audience over time. Those receiving the information can concentrate on the takeaways rather than struggling to understand what is being conveyed.
Support operations are dramatically improved in environments where the team utilizes the log platform to help customers. Log analysis increases response time, provides real-time access to issues and doesn’t waste development and IT resources on issues support can now solve. Sharing feedback is also much easier with a ticketing system that allows for submitting queries and linking to reports on bugs or common issues. This saves countless hours of speculation and facilitates communication of issues that support intuitively understands.
Likewise, log analysis lets the product management team more easily explore how users are interacting with the platform. Issues such as where users get stuck, the impact of popular features, unexpected user flows and use cases that are brand new can be taken into account when planning for the future and prioritizing the roadmap. Product management also benefits from improved two-way communication with developers as they share ideas for future changes by providing a query or report for backup.
There are two types of growth hacking. The first is outward focused and led by marketing. The second, an internally-focused version of growth hacking, is ideally situated for support by log analysis. This type of growth hacking is conducted by a technical person, usually a previous developer, who analyzes user patterns to identify ways to encourage users to repeat the positive behavior that leads to conversion. Once the growth hacker get an idea, they share it with product management, development and/or marketing who works on building in-product guides or optimizing email campaigns. There is no way to take advantage of this type of growth hacking without access to comprehensive system and user log data.
Infrastructure Cost Allocation
Ops teams regularly evaluate and consider improvements for application infrastructure. In the modern development world, the ease of spinning up and down infrastructure means it’s not always clear which servers are active, overloaded or sitting idle. This is not only a waste of resources, but also adds confusion to the decision-making process for ops and consequently impacts infrastructure spend. Log analysis helps IT identify areas of optimization to ensure the organization receives the best value.
From the innocuous cases of repeat user registrations using random emails to the compliance risks of users violating laws or even serious network intrusion threats, log analysis helps with all aspects of application security. Internally, log analysis can be used to build more comprehensive security tools by allowing ops to open access to server data without giving access to servers directly and by tracking the number of people with system level access.
All use cases should be validated against a real pipeline, and they should also be measured against the effort cost to implement them.
The above is definitely not a comprehensive list of the ways companies can supercharge their use of log analysis. Organizations have taken advantage of log analysis to support gamification, orchestrate automated scaling decisions and measure the performance of the delivery pipeline. However you choose to use log analysis, just don’t underestimate its power and the opportunity you have to be a hero by using it!