The journey to AIOps

Automation in a disparate environment and the growing role of advanced IT analytics.

Johannesburg, 12 Jun 2019
Read time 4min 50sec
Gareth de Laporte, Channel and Alliances Executive, Micro Focus
Gareth de Laporte, Channel and Alliances Executive, Micro Focus

Digital transformation is still a relevant discussion, but the more forward-thinking enterprises have moved far beyond it to AIOps.

Automation is a fast-evolving commodity. Companies are looking to automate most of the standard functions that take place on a daily basis. Administrators are being driven to introduce technology that automates and also incorporates analytics informed automation – or self-learning technology – into the environment.

One of the biggest business challenges that companies have to deal with is the disparity in environments, says Gareth de Laporte, Channel and Alliances Executive at Micro Focus. “They have to contend with different vendors, different standards, different clouds, different operating systems, different applications and different legal requirements. So much time and effort is going into managing these complex environments – as well as mistakes being made in the process.”

Having structured and unstructured data across different operating systems quadruples this complexity. Traditionally, companies only focused on their structured data, but now unstructured data is critical in the use of analytics and machine learning, not to mention the legislative requirements around all data. The bottom line is that negotiating this new multi-vendor, multi-operating system world is an administrative nightmare.

“We’ve invested heavily into research and development around bringing analytics into the automation of processes so that the solution can make recommendations about what’s happening in the environment and how to fix it. The solution should be able to make best practice recommendations and even automate some of those fixes. Automation is key here.”

The requirement for an AIOps solution to be truly heterogeneous across physical, virtual and different operating systems is paramount. Cross-platform functionality is non-negotiable. The heterogeneous complexity of the current environment, as well as the need for administration and analytics, are important aspects. The solution needs to be able to migrate workloads from anywhere to anywhere, as well as ensure the effective use of resources.

De Laporte continues: “Companies are constantly looking at ways to achieve cost efficiencies, and resources are always the biggest bill. If a business is going to reduce costs, resourcing needs to be limited. However, the structure of the environment is not reducing. With the introduction of cloud and hybrid cloud into enterprise architecture, the complexity is more than doubled. The only option corporates have is end-to-end automation throughout the environment, starting with DevOps and across all operations spaces.”

Adding to the challenges faced by organisations is that South Africa is experiencing a skills shortage, which is escalating as more people are leaving the IT sector than there are qualified people joining. The dilemma faced by enterprises is that they need to cut their HR bill, but the skills shortage continues to complicate the problem as they have to pay more for in-demand skills.

“South African enterprises have the most to gain by embarking on a journey of AIOps," says De Laporte. “You’re eliminating the need for skilled people to do these rudimentary tasks, freeing them up to do more skilled tasks. It’s not just a term, it’s an opportunity to seriously make a difference to corporates in South Africa. It also enables them to upskill their workforce so they can carry out more value-adding activities within the organisation.”

EMA research puts the top 10 expected benefits from AIOps adoption as:

1. Improved employee and customer experience;

2. Faster time to repair problems;

3. Improved opex efficiencies within IT;

4. More efficient use of infrastructure/capacity;

5. Better alignment with IT services and business service outcomes;

6. Faster identification of advanced threats;

7. Faster time to deliver new IT services;

8. Better correlation between change and performance;

9. Improved efficiencies in managing change; and

10. Significantly higher levels of security-to-operations collaboration.

However, De Laporte offers a word of caution: “AIOps is a journey and not a product, and it needs to be entered into with the right partnerships in place.” He advises enterprises to seek out vendors that are best positioned to be able to add value across the entire enterprise from end-to-end, from mainframe to mobile. “It’s no good doing AIOps or automation of any kind piecemeal across the enterprise. This is where many companies make mistakes; they choose vendors that have been around for a long time, but can only achieve certain elements of automation in their area of expertise. These vendors won’t take into account the complex nature of enterprise architecture as it is evolving and continues to evolve.”

He says: “The old partners that you’ve always dealt with aren’t always the right choice for this journey. You can’t expect a different result if you carry on doing what you’ve always done. Businesses need to challenge the technology and partnerships they’ve had for a long time and align themselves with the concept of IT for an IT world – and look for a partner that has embraced that world.”

De Laporte recommends enterprises partner with a vendor that is truly heterogeneous across the entire enterprise, and also hardware agnostic from mainframe to mobile. It’s all about having the right partner and the right tool sets to take you on your AIOps journey.

To read more about how automation, AI and analytics are reshaping IT service management, download this white paper.