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Seamless operations… It’s the north star keeping every business systems leader on top of their tech stack’s stability, reliability and performance. 

From understanding the nuances between your cloud-environments and on-premise systems to the interconnectivity of third-party apps, it’s an objective that requires you to have deep oversight on the status of tools across every department within your organization. 

This is where observability and monitoring tools become critical to the success of business systems leaders, empowering them to not only avoid pitfalls like integration breaks, but also cultivate an environment where decisions are driven by data.

We’re diving into how observability and monitoring work together to provide a holistic view of your integrated systems and strengthen your business and revenue systems.

What are Observability and Monitoring?

Before diving into the details, let’s establish a clear understanding of the fundamental definitions and key characteristics of both observability and monitoring. While the terms have historically been used interchangeably, they’re are key differences between the two that are important to call out. 

Differentiating between observability and monitoring enables leaders to grasp the complete spectrum of system behavior and performance, ultimately leading to more accurate decision making and enhanced optimization.

1. Observability 

Observability, in simple terms, is like having a window into the workings of your company’s systems. By observing the data they produce, Systems leaders are offered a snapshot of what’s going on internally. Think of it as a centralized dashboard that gives an overview of all the tech-related activities in your organization. Observability tools help you spot inconsistencies and make sense of the vast amount of information from every tech segment within your organization.

These observability tools act like vigilant watchmen. They discern how different parts of your company’s digital infrastructure, from cloud services to traditional software, relate to and influence one another. To do this, they focus on three primary sources of information: 

  1. Logs: A record of system activities
  2. Key performance metrics: quantitative measurements of system performance
  3. Traces: The journey data takes through the system

If something seems out of place, your team receives an alert, equipped with the essential details to address and rectify the situation promptly.

2. Monitoring 

At its core, monitoring is like a health check-up for your integrated tech stack. It gathers all the data from your business systems and allows you to make sense of it. 

Monitoring offers a heads-up on how your applications are being used, helping your team spot and fix problems. But here’s the kicker: monitoring only shows you what you’ve decided to measure. It’s like checking for a fever when you’re sick but not looking for other symptoms. So, if you’re not measuring the right thing, some problems might just sneak past unnoticed. And that’s where observability steps in, offering a broader, more holistic view, moving beyond just what we’ve predetermined to measure.

The Differences Between Observability and Monitoring

Now that we’ve explained what observability and monitoring are, let’s take a look at the main differences that set them apart. 

The key distinction between observability and monitoring boils down to how the data from IT systems is collected. Monitoring gathers and evaluates data we’ve already decided to track from specific systems. On the other hand, observability pulls in all the data from every IT system, without pre-filtering.

For more context, use this chart to compare observability and monitoring side-by-side:

Observability  Monitoring
Focuses on understanding system behavior and gaining insights. Focuses on predefined metrics and KPIs.
Emphasizes the availability of diverse data sources and rich context. Provides real-time or near-real-time data.
Allows exploration and investigation of unknown or unexpected issues. Primarily used for detecting known issues and system health.
Often involves collecting data at higher granularity and with richer context. Generally relies on data collection at fixed intervals.

There’s No Competition: Observability and Monitoring Go Hand-in-Hand

Long story short– both observability and monitoring tools are essential for business systems leaders. In terms of distinctions that set the two apart, monitoring plays a proactive role in flagging potential issues. Observability, however, is a reactive enabler that dives into the root causes of problems. By implementing both methodologies, you can gain a comprehensive view of your systems and better address both known and unexpected challenges. 

Why Business Systems Leaders Should Utilize Observability and Monitoring Software

When striving for optimal system performance, both observability and monitoring tools are like two sides of the same coin. Monitoring is your trusty watchdog, barking when known issues arise based on what we’ve set it to watch. Observability, on the other hand, is like a wise guide, helping to navigate and understand the vast landscape of system data, especially when unexpected challenges pop up. Together, they’re the dynamic duo, ensuring you’re both proactive in catching issues and adept at diving deep when mysteries arise.

Here 6 reasons both observability and monitoring are critical to your operations: 

1. Complete system insight

Monitoring presents an “outside-looking-in” lens, helping you pinpoint the exact timing and location of issues within the system. 

On the other hand, observability adopts an “inside-looking-out” viewpoint, allowing you and your team to dive into underlying causes and specific reasons behind these issues. 

Monitoring serves as an early warning system, flagging potential issues for the team’s attention, while observability dives deeper, enabling your team to identify and address the underlying root causes of issues and breaks.

2. Proactive and reactive measures

Monitoring operates primarily in a proactive realm, allowing you to establish thresholds and alerts that signal potential concerns before they escalate into critical problems. This proactive stance enables preventative measures to be taken, safeguarding the system’s stability.

Observability takes on a more reactive role. When challenges arise, particularly unforeseen ones, observability tools grant your team the ability to dig deeper into intricate system data. 

The combination of in-depth analysis to pinpoint the root of the problem paired with warnings before issues become critical gives you a holistic view of the health of your systems. 

3. Flexibility in handling systems complexity 

Monitoring diligently oversees the proper functioning of each component within your intricate systems, while observability steps in to tackle the complexity that arises when these components interact, often unpredictably. 

By combining the insights from monitoring and observability, teams gain the ability to not only ensure individual components operate as intended, but also grasp the broader context in which these components interact. 

4. Driving business decisions

When it comes to having the ability to drive informed business decisions, both monitoring and observability play a pivotal role. 

Monitoring measures essential KPIs concerning system health, uptime, and service level agreements (SLAs), ensuring uninterrupted business operations.

Observability sheds a light on intricate user behaviors, system interactions, and performance bottlenecks. These insights extend beyond operational parameters, ultimately shaping the overall trajectory of the business. 

5. Adapting to evolving systems needs

The relationship between observability and monitoring holds a critical role in equipping teams to seamlessly adapt to evolving system requirements. 

Monitoring takes charge of ensuring system scalability by efficiently allocating resources, providing the ability to accommodate changing demands seamlessly. 

In parallel, observability plays a crucial role when new elements such as features, services, or integrations are introduced. It facilitates a comprehensive understanding of their effects and behaviors, providing the insights needed to optimize their integration. 

Together, these practices allow teams to not only meet current needs but also anticipate and cater to future demands, keeping the system agile, efficient, and well-equipped for changes. 

6. Strengthening team collaboration

Monitoring and observability can also help foster enhanced collaboration across teams within your organization. With teams such as DevOps, SRE, Development, and Business Analytics having distinct data needs, each requires a different view. 

Monitoring addresses this need by delivering tailored dashboards and customizable alerts that align with the unique requirements of each role. This ensures a unified understanding of the system’s health, promoting cohesive decision-making. 

Observability extends this collaboration by facilitating specialized teams to engage in comprehensive data explorations. This capability enables in-depth issue investigation, system performance optimization, and the extraction of valuable insights. 

By capitalizing on the different strengths of monitoring and observability, teams can work in synchronized efforts to drive business success. 
If you’re hoping to get a more holistic view into one of your most essential business systems, Salesfroce, look no further. Sonar allows you and your revenue teams to proactively identify and fix issues with business systems integrating within your Salesforce instance. Try it free today.