[3-minute reading time…]
Most AIOps discussions focus on technology. We talk about predictive analytics, the complementary roles of machine learning and configured logic, and how artificial intelligence delivers continuous insights across the operational lifecycle. However, technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Technology adoption is heavily influenced by organizational culture, and at the same time, technology drives cultural change.
Why IT Operations Needs to Change
Let’s start by looking at the current state of IT. While IT organizations now understand the importance of customer and business focus, most are still stuck in a constant reactive state – expending huge amounts of time and money just keeping the lights on. IT operations is at the sharp end of this, wading through huge volumes of irrelevant noise to keep services up and running. “I don’t know” is the common refrain, with siloed technology teams constantly passing the buck. This lack of accountability isn’t a condemnation – it’s simply a consequence of human nature when faced with a situation we can’t understand or control.
Worse still, IT doesn’t just work in technology silos. It’s also functionally fractured. Monitoring teams, NOCs and service desks are still disconnected, with each group passing data – and issues – over the wall. And, despite our focus on DevOps, operations and development are still at loggerheads. Developers fear being pulled into the support quagmire, while operations staff view continuous delivery as a disruptive risk. What’s the result? IT still can’t keep up with today’s business demands, and aggressive digitalization only exacerbates the situation.
AIOps Shifts IT Ops to the Left
AIOps changes this, delivering automated insights that end the blame game. It brings together monitoring, event management and ITSM into a cohesive whole. Instead of blindly passing the buck, IT staff now know where the problem is, and they know who owns it. And, by eliminating noise and focusing on meaningful events, IT can resolve issues earlier on – radically reducing escalations to L2 support and development teams. At Evanios, we’ve seen this shift time and time again at our customers.
“Evanios enables us to shift more validation and remediation activities to the left.”
Eric Carino, Manager Worldwide Network Services, Fox Entertainment Group, Inc.
Preparing for AIOps
To achieve these AIOps benefits, focusing on cultural factors is critical. This starts up front during the evaluation and planning phase. Because AIOps spans monitoring, event management and ITSM, it forces teams to come together. From a political perspective, it’s critical to decide who has overall ownership. And, AIOps can’t be treated as if it were a point tool. Each team has to contribute to the overall requirements set, with the solution design addressing the needs of different user communities.
Changing Roles and Skill Sets
To take full advantage of AIOps, IT organizations need to change the way they operate. IT staff have to work hand-in-hand with artificial intelligence, creating a whole that is bigger than the sum of the parts. Some roles – for instance, triage and assignment – are significantly reduced because AIOps platforms use machine learning to create a clean signal, prioritize events, and route incidents to the right support team.
Other roles continue, but with a new focus. For example, support teams spend far less time investigating and remediating service issues, and more time validating the conclusions and recommendations of their AIOps platform. This demands more generalist skills, rather than deep domain-specific knowledge. Since IT environments are now too complex and interconnected for a human to understand in detail, this is a perfect example of how human and artificial intelligence complement each other.
Unlocking the Potential of Support Staff
The benefits for IT staff are clear. AIOps eliminates huge amounts of drudgery, automating many of the mind-numbing tasks that consume IT today – such as filtering and triaging millions of largely meaningless events. Because AIOps augments human intelligence, it leads to better business outcomes – creating a growing sense of success. And, by freeing up people’s time, it lets support staff focus on higher value activities, which increases interest and satisfaction, and leads to better career opportunities.
Finally, let’s talk about bringing together development and operations. With AIOps, IT support is no longer a quagmire. Instead, IT operations becomes an agile organization – one that is a true partner with development. Instead of sending development vast numbers of unqualified incidents, IT operations remediates many more service issues by itself, only involving development in complex cases.
And, development now has access to a huge set of operational insights, such as discovering new failure modes, understanding the reasons for application performance issues, or identifying gaps in monitoring strategies – increasingly important in an infrastructure-as-code world. Rolling these insights back into development strengthens mission-critical applications, increasing service quality and further reducing the support burden.
In other words, by connecting development and operations, AIOps creates a virtuous circle. That’s just one more reason why every IT organization needs to put AIOps at the top of its agenda.