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Cisco Live Preview: Limiting Operational Disruptions with AIOps
The Wall Street Journal recently described the current market for tech talent as “insane.” Well-heeled enterprises with gobs of cash competing for workers with more traditional employers who lack the resources, brand cache, and trendy perks of the better-known organizations have driven demand for technology employees.
But those traditional organizations, and other tech-focused enterprises, still need good IT people to run their technology estates up to expectations. Meanwhile, technical professionals—recognizing the opportunity—have poured fuel on this employment fire by leaving their previous jobs in favor of places and positions that offer a better work-life balance.
The Great Resignation, as the employment migration has been described, comes at an inconvenient time for IT leaders responsible for keeping the tech lights on. Already forced to accelerate their plans for IT transformation because of the pandemic and resulting shift to remote access to technology assets by employees, customers, and partners, they now find themselves wondering how to strike a balance between meeting end-user expectations for IT reliability and availability without putting undue pressure on IT operations staff. It’s a very real dilemma that requires a change in legacy thinking and a new strategy for investing in IT.
ITOps in a Post-Covid World
According to McKinsey & Co., since the start of the economic response to the pandemic in early 2020, 85% of organizations have accelerated their digital transformations, while 67% have accelerated the adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI). These trends were necessitated by the need to accommodate the sudden onset of a work-from-home paradigm that increased the demand on IT resources. End users, oblivious to the strain their en masse logins and remote use of services, applications, and transport infrastructure was causing, carried an expectation that their at-home experience would be on par with accessing those same resources in the office. Customers had the same expectations, and theirs were often backed by the contractual obligation of performance metrics as quantified under the terms of service level agreements (SLAs). The burden of those expectations fell on the shoulders of IT operations.
For some organizations among McKinsey’s 85% and 67%, because they’d already begun planning their digital transformations and evaluating options for AI and automation, they were familiar with the benefits of an investment in artificial intelligence for IT operations—AIOps—as a foundational platform for their initiatives. They recognized that achieving complete observability of their IT estates, including across on-premises and cloud environments, was a necessary catalyst for the level of analytics required to support process and IT automation. But the advantages of AIOps became even more evident as the dual trends of digital transformation and the Great Migration unfolded.
As a former IT operations team member, I am all too familiar with the scars that come from receiving a phone call at 3:00 a.m., or during a holiday with the family, and the stress of bearing the expectations of customers and management to find and fix problems fast when things go wrong. I am sympathetic with those who pursued a career in IT because of its many benefits, but who now have decided to seek a healthier work-life balance because of the frustrations of spending far too much time on fixing the same mundane problems again and again, rather than apply their creative energy on high-level tasks. We all want to be recognized as valued employees, and to be treated accordingly—not used as backstops to clean up otherwise avoidable messes.
AIOps: Empowering Overburdened IT
Deploying AIOps as a means of augmenting and maximizing the skills of IT staff has proven to be an invaluable benefit to those organizations that have invested in the technology. When used as a means of discovering the configuration items comprising the IT estate; collecting real-time, contextual data from those services, applications, and devices; creating a single, operational data lake of reliable data; populating and updating the enterprise’s configuration management database (CMDB); and using that information as the means for establishing a clear, contextual picture of the health, availability, and reliability of IT operations, the path toward analytics and automation is clear.
And when the enterprise can rely on AIOps to drive automations that free IT staff from spending too much valuable time chasing mundane incidents and gives them the means of finding job satisfaction and achieving a healthy work-life balance where they are, the results are twofold: stemming the tide of the Great Migration, while also meeting the expectations of customers and users by delivering maximal reliability, availability, and performance for the tools and services they count on each day.
I’ll address this topic at Cisco Live with a presentation entitled “Rein in Operational Disruptions with AIOps” on Monday, June 13 at 4:05 p.m. at the World of Solutions—Content Corner 2. If you plan to be at the event, it would be my honor to have you attend and to talk with you afterward. I look forward to seeing you there.