When it comes to technology many companies face the “iceberg problem” — 90 percent of IT issues, innovation and evolution happens beneath the visible surface of corporate networks, users and boardroom discussions. The results? Some are positive, like when C-suite execs are pleasantly surprised at the depth and breadth of IT efforts. Others are more worrisome, like system faults and failures which go unnoticed, unreported and unresolved in turn making your iceberg sink lower in the water. Too far and you go under — pull up too hard and you risk upsetting the IT balance. What you really need is clear water but how do you see below the surface?

Seeing Is Believing

As noted by CIO Review, it’s easy to get trapped by the idea that visible surface is the entire tech iceberg — after all, how could systems and networks even function if what’s below the water was in such dire need of repair? In fact, many systems are just “scraping by” with a thousand small cuts to service, support and uptime impacting day-to-day operations. But without users reporting these problems and detection tools only catching the most obvious examples of IT failure, it’s no wonder companies have trouble separating fact from fiction, the seen from the unseen. What you don’t know can hurt your bottom line.

Murky Waters

Supply chains are an ideal example of the iceberg problem — a host of data under the surface but often untapped in favor of reaching time-to-market targets. According to Green Biz, however, supply chains are under increasing pressure to demonstrate complete transparency from source to destination. This limits the chance of confusion or misrepresentation about supply and inventory levels, both of which could lead to unfavorable media coverage or governmental review. Technology is now aiding this effort to clear the waters, in part through intelligent big data solutions which can track supply at each point along its journey and help uncover specific areas of improvement. It’s also possible to leverage customer-facing applications, enhanced corporate dashboards and external platforms to both unify and examine critical data — in effect letting companies “see” below the surface and discover what’s lurking under the leading edge.

Don’t Flip Out

While it’s easy to talk about the positive impact of technology on supply chain transparency, the waters cloud up again when end-users enter the equation. Consider, from a recent Nexthink case study: A client’s existing monitor solution detected just four incidents in the specific time frame, giving the impression of relative tranquility. A closer look, however, revealed 72 users under the waterline who had experienced over 100 crashes in seven days, leaving 68 users unable to complete specific tasks and 3266 systems exposed to this particular point of failure. For many companies, the temptation here is trying to “flip” the iceberg and push sub-surface events to the top of C-suite agendas. The problem? That’s a bottom-heavy proposition, one you won’t be able to sustain over the long term; eventually the ‘berg comes crashing down and you don’t want to be under it when it lands.

There’s a better way: Shine a light under the water line with per-device end users analytics designed to give you the actionable data required to see what’s going on underneath the surface. Once waters are clear you can start streamlining the iceberg; finding ways to increase its speed and lift it higher in the water. Simply put? You are the iceberg, like it or not. Pushing for a melt or total flip brings the ice crashing down; better to understand what’s underneath the surface and then begin taking reasoned steps towards solving the hidden problems.