What Is a Business Service & How Can AIOps Support It?
We talk a lot about business services and how to keep them running at peak efficiency, but every now and then these questions arise: what exactly is a business service, how can I provide the best possible experience to my users, and how does it affect the performance of my IT estate?
What are Business Services?
First, I want to be clear that we are talking about digital, and not traditional, business services. Yes, you can still walk into a bank and transact your business face-to-face, but the kinds of transformative business services that our customers either support or provide are technology dependent. In many cases they deliver a simple and convenient substitute for traditional business services, but more often they are highly innovative products that would not be possible apart from powerful, highly complex IT infrastructures.
Digital business services often require a combination of backend elements like artificial intelligence and machine learning, high bandwidth throughput, connections to on-premises and cloud-based resources, and integrations with third-party applications as well. All those pieces are invisible to the user, who expects to turn on their laptop and use the service with no hassles. Similarly, the business leader who approved budget for the business service has an expectation that her investment will help the organization be more productive and profitable.
Meeting Business Services User Expectations
Meeting those expectations is no easy task. When the business side of an organization wants a fast, efficient, and reliable way to manage payroll for hundreds or thousands of employees across multiple jurisdictions, it must align its needs and objectives with technical realities. IT operations isn’t worried about the business objective so much as it must determine how the new service connects to the resources it needs to do the job. Then it must monitor the performance of that service to ensure it is operating properly.
What’s more, once the new business service is up and running, IT operations needs to understand how that new service affects the performance of every configuration item it touches, and vice versa. Everything is connected, whether directly or indirectly, and so IT operations must have a full, contextual view of the entire IT estate if it is to plan, integrate, monitor, maintain, and operate the enterprise effectively.
A Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up View of Business Services
Business users have a narrow, top-down view of the business service: Is it available? Is it running like it is supposed to? Is it helping me do my job? IT leaders need to take a broad, bottom-up view: Do I have the resources I need to operate the business service? What new components do I need to get? What else is connected to the service, and what shared resources are involved? Are my connections secure?
Often, these two views will come into conflict when the business user doesn’t recognize that there is a process that needs to take place for the new business service to become operational. IT operations can close that gap by adopting an IT management strategy that takes a broad view of IT, discovers every element of the IT estate, and uses all data inputs to create a contextual map of the enterprise that understands all connections and relationships. This is where artificial intelligence for IT operations—AIOps—comes into play.
How AIOps Supports Business Services
When AIOps is used as the technical foundation for an IT operations monitoring and management program, you gain the level of situational awareness that is required to run the enterprise at a high level of health and reliability, including the deployment of new business services. And you gain that awareness even as infrastructure scales in size and complexity. That’s important because we all know that it’s never just one business service that IT operations must deal with. It’s hundreds of them (maybe thousands), and with each comes multiple potential points of failure.
An AIOps platform like the ScienceLogic SL1 platform provides the kind of real-time insight that is needed to know when something is broken or breaking, and to answer the questions required to resolve issues such as:
- Is CPU performance declining?
- It could be a disk drive is failing because the temperature in a remote server room is climbing. Is the equipment drawing power from a UPS array?
- If so, is the power out in that location, or is there something else in play?
AIOps collects data in real time to create an operational data lake that serves as a common knowledge base, or single source of truth, to use as the basis for running sophisticated analytics, the results of which can quickly eliminate possible causes and then drill down deeper into the factors that remain. That root cause analysis supports fast and accurate decision making, including automated responses, to resolve issues, restore service, and keep operations running at the best possible level of performance.
The Right AIOps Tool for the Job
Organizations today rely on a wide range of business services to achieve their goals and advance operational objectives. Many organizations not only use an array of business services, but they may provide business services to their customers and partners. In every case, to deliver a reliable user experience, your IT infrastructure must operate at peak efficiency. That means knowing the health of every component, anticipating maintenance needs, responding quickly to unexpected incidents, and fixing problems when they occur.
The days of “good enough” performance is over. Asking your technical personnel to shoulder the load of monitoring, investigation, analysis, and response is unrealistic. Given the scale, speed, and complexity of today’s IT estate, those tasks are beyond human ability. IT operations needs the right tools to do their job and to keep pace with the demands of the modern enterprise. AIOps stands in the gap as the tool engineered for the job.
If your organization is struggling to keep up with the pace of change, or if you need to deliver a higher quality of business service experience that satisfies user and customer expectations, the answer may be AIOps. If so, we are confident that SL1 is the right choice. Many of the world’s top IT organizations that have adopted AIOps as the foundation for their IT operations strategy rely on SL1 as their tool of choice.