Yes, monitoring software like Idera DM and Quest Spotlight does work. I use them all day long. It is the best black-box recorder you can have when CIO wants to know why database had a problem last week (month) and evidence report.
However I wrote a lot of stuff myself, because A) the tool may not provide or provided a different view. Imagine how many performance counters you can have recorded and shown. The tool may not have all. Any DBA manual tasks, I wrote them into automated scripts. When I come to work, I only need to glance review everything. B) I wrote index defrag which savs my company $1200 per instance per year. That is $80,000 saving. I wrote database refresh script so I can plug in parameters and run a refresh at a few clicks. There are things money cannot buy.
When I have some doubts about my databases, I pull out some scripts from my repository (most of them in SP form), a few clicks I have complete info about my databases' current status.