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2019 Predictions for AIOps

Many enterprises have found that Artificial Intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) platforms help them better manage their hybrid IT environment and improve system availability. Next-generation solutions – call it AIOps+ — now offer advanced capabilities such as automated pattern discovery and prediction, automated it infrastructure entity discovery and application mapping, and data and event correlation across the IT stacks. Based on these advanced features, we predict more firms will adopt AIOps+ in the coming year.

#1 – Enterprises will experiment with AIOps tools but will deploy AIOps+ solutions

While standalone AIOps tools can deliver useful capabilities such as anomaly detection and noise reduction across both legacy and digital environments, organizations may discover the promise of AIOps is difficult to achieve without understanding the business application context. Enter AIOps+ that works across the IT environment, ingesting and correlating massive amounts of data from a variety of sources, from business transactions to applications to it infrastructure. The full-stack data correlation delivered by AIOps+ will increase the accuracy of the machine learning predictions by enabling the ML algorithms to work on real-time, application specific events.

#2 – AIOps+ will help organizations succeed with digital transformations

While traditional IT environments can accept MTTR in the range of hours, modern organizations that are increasing their reliance on digital processes, will not survive unless they can depend on hybrid IT environments with significantly higher uptime performance. Imagine an on-line reservation system, a patient onboarding application, or an eCommerce site – what would be the business impact if they were down for hours or day? AIOps+ solutions provide the advanced real-time/predictive analytics needed for IT teams to make sense of vast sets of event data and drive faster IT incident response. By extracting meaningful insights from business transaction metrics, application flows and incident data, IT can quickly determine the root cause of an issue and even predict when the next outage will occur. Industry analyst Gartner sees an increasing role for artificial intelligence systems  in the next few years as IT departments struggle to support their sprawling digital environments with limited staff.

#3 – MSPs will start deploying AIOps+ to increase their revenues and efficiency

Given the pressing need for 24/7 system availability and reliability, AIOps+ is becoming the future of the agile, digital enterprise. Clients depend on their MSPs to meet their service level agreements (SLA’s) and maintain system availability at all time. However, as more mission-critical applications migrate to the cloud, the siloed, fragmented nature of distributed hybrid IT operations can hinder the incident diagnosis/resolution process. Performing root-case analysis and system diagnostics is complicated by several factors such as: where is the problem located and who owns it; is the issue related to an application or infrastructure failure; and how is the problem impacting system performance?  AIOps+ can provide the end-to-end visibility of distributed IT environment and real time data analysis that MSP’s need to automate root cause analysis and quickly resolve service performance issues.

#4 – Enterprises will appoint centralized teams to take responsibility for AIOps+ deployments

Today, very few organizations have a centralized team responsible for IT operations. Since today’s tools are siloed, IT organizations have structured themselves in the same manner with compute, network, applications and storage analysts each focused on their niche, each using a disparate tool. They still are not using cross-functional tools that correlate data across each silo. In isolation, it may not look as if there is an issue however when the data is correlated, issues emerge. With AIOps+ solutions, organizations gain access to powerful new capabilities. Building a centralized team ensures that the organizations gets a holistic view of the entire hybrid IT environment.

#5 – Consolidation in the AIOps market will start to occur, with those offering AIOps+ gaining ground

Many AIOps vendors have emerged in the market – and not all are worth the hype. Today, there are big and small AIOps providers with varying capabilities. As the AIOps market matures, we foresee a supplier shakeout, with those offering limited AIOps capabilities not surviving. Rather, we think successful vendors will be those offering robust AIOps+ solutions with advanced features such full stack correlation, agentless auto-discovery, automated remediation/restoration, data anomaly detection, and seamless integration with ITSM tools.

#6 – Traditional siloed ITOM/ITOA budgets will freeze and be reallocated to AIOps+

To keep up with the demands of digital business, organizations need to rethink their approach to managing silo hybrid IT environments and system maintenance. As the pain of operational volume, value, variety and velocity of big data analytics grows, organizations need an effective alternative to disparate application monitoring tools and siloed solutions. We predict forward-thinking organizations will reallocate budgets to AIOps+ solutions to better manage, plan, and troubleshoot issues across the entire IT infrastructure monitoring in real-time.

#7 – An ecosystem of solutions (built by SI/VAR/MSPs) will emerge to enrich existing AIOps+ platforms

The best AIOps solutions can seamlessly integrate with other IT assets, ERP applications, and multiple data sources. For example, FixStream’s new release integrates with ServiceNow and Cherwell ITSM/CMDB platforms, New Relic APM, SolarWinds and ManageEngine monitoring tools, etc. delivering functions such as auto-ticketing and change management, and creating an integrated solution greater than the sum of its parts. Taking it a step forward, we see a community of value-added resellers (VARs), system integrators (SI’s) and MSP’s emerging to create customized solutions for AIOps+ platforms that enhance its capabilities, perhaps to meet the needs of a specific industry or to incorporate advanced security features.

Conclusion

In 2019, we think more IT organizations will recognize how AIOps+ solutions can detect, predict and resolve business issues across an enterprise’s entire hybrid IT environment. For example, the latest AIOps+ offering from FixStream enables customers to detect patterns with 90%+ probability and reduce MTTR to just minutes, so IT operations can achieve appropriate service levels and meet customer expectations.

For more information on how FixStream AIOps+ can help you modernize IT ops this year, view our video.

What’s the Real Cost of Data Center Downtime?

We all know that IT downtime is expensive and damaging to organizations and their productivity. Yet, despite ongoing investments in technology, system outages still bedevil many enterprises, including cloud-based environments. In 2018, for example, cloud outages at companies such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and Visa reminded us that even well-maintained IT environments are vulnerable to system disruptions. An extreme example is the 2017 Delta Airlines 5-hour outage that caused the cancellation of 280 flights and cost the company $150 million dollars.

With numerous IT assets spread across on-premise and cloud environments, downtime today can cause a lot more harm than mere customer inconvenience. System outages can directly impact productivity, throughput, profitability and customer attrition. You only need to experience one system outage to realize how much harm it can cause to a company’s reputation and standing in the marketplace. But rather than considering IT downtime as an inevitable cost of doing business, senior IT managers can proactively take steps to minimize their occurrences and impact. And quantifying the cost of system outages can justify spending to remediate them.

How Much do System Outages Really Cost?

Catastrophic airline outages aside, just how costly is downtime to the typical enterprise? There are direct costs for system diagnosis and repair, as well as indirect costs such as the loss of organizational productivity and damage to corporate reputation. Costs may also include damage to (or loss of) mission-critical data and other assets, legal and regulatory impact, and repair costs for core business processes and systems. Add in the lost revenue related to business disruptions and missed sales opportunities, and you can see how even one hour of downtime can cost several hundred thousand or million dollars.

To tally up estimated costs, analyst firms have surveyed clients who experience system downtime and can quantify its impact. Cost estimates will vary by industry, size of the organization, and region. For example, according to Statista, in 2017/2018 the average cost of server downtime was approximately $300,000-400,000 per hour, while 44% of survey responders reporting costs of $1M/per hour or more. And those costs, and associated business impact, would be higher if you experience an unplanned outage during peak traffic time.

The more complex, virtualized and interconnected system environments become, the longer it takes to diagnose and resolve unplanned outages. The siloed, disparate nature of most IT hybrid system infrastructures have caused Mean-Time-To-Recovery (MTTR) rates to escalate along with costs. In fact, ITIC’s Reliability and Hourly Cost of Downtime Trends Survey confirmed that 81% of organizations report the cost of unplanned downtime typically exceeds $300,000/hour, with monetary costs exceeding millions of dollars per minute in extreme cases.

The ITIC study also shows that downtime costs vary between industries and enterprise size. For example, large enterprises with over 1,000 employees could see the costs associated with a single of hour of downtime to exceed $5 Million in nine specific industries, including Banking/Finance; Government; Healthcare; Manufacturing; Media & Communications; Retail; Transportation and Utilities.

Total Cost of System Downtime by Industry

(summary Ponemon Institute study)

  • Financial Services $994,000
  • Healthcare $918,000
  • eCommerce $909,000
  • Industrial $761,000
  • Retail $758,000
  • Hospitality $514,000
  • Public Sector $476,000

Take a look at the following charts (Ponemon Institute study). The first chart shows reveals the relatively consistent breakdown of cost categories associated with business disruption. The second chart illustrates that the average shutdown duration hasn’t changed in the last 6 years.

Why System Outages Happen

A 2018 study by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting points to human error and security issues topping the list of causes for unplanned downtime, with network interruptions another contributing factor, and outdated processes can lengthen the time it takes to resolve outages. Pinpointing the root cause of system outages is complicated by manual, time-consuming correlation of massive amounts of siloed operational data. Proactive planning, automation, and better resources can help minimize human error and hardware/software failures. For example, automated real-time correlation of data between business, application, and infrastructure components can help predict potential system issue so they can be resolved before impacting the business.

Proactively Manage Assets to Minimize System Downtime

To prevent downtime, you must be able to effectively monitor and maintain your assets in real time, and arm your IT staff with tools to help make sense of IT complexity. Artificial Intelligent systems for IT Operations (AIOps) can transforms IT Ops by significantly reducing human errors and the tedious repetition of cumbersome manual processes. By providing real-time full-stack data correlation and visualization of the entire system environment IT staff can gain actionable insights to optimize system performance and meet customer expectations. Viewing and understanding application dependencies can also help employees forecast the potential impact of system changes before they are implemented. This allows you to carefully plan transitions and migrations so they don’t affect the performance of business-critical applications.

AIOps can reduce system downtime by increasing application assurance and uptime. To see how FixStream AIOps can help you improve system availability and reliability, download our free eBook.

BT and FixStream: Mapping the Way to Rapid Issue Resolution

Problem: The Challenge of Diagnosing System Issues in a Virtual Landscape

By Sameer Padhye

In traditional IT environments, various services were managed in siloes. As organizations adopted different technologies and migrated to the cloud and microservices, system environments became more complex, interconnected and difficult to diagnose. IT teams end up drowning in data and distracted by system noise. Faced with massive amounts of system alerts and incidents to diagnose, IT Operations staff don’t have the insights needed to proactively manage and resolve system issues within their environments.

The situation is complicated by the fact that most hybrid IT environments have multiple technology components – i.e. network, storage, compute, application services etc. – provided by a variety of vendors. For example, typical business transactions may use an average of 80 different types of technology. These components are monitored and managed in silos by different teams and tools, making it difficult to uncover the point(s) of failure within the network. Having a distributed, fragmented landscape of various system technologies and suppliers makes it difficult to quickly find and resolve incidents.

The truth is that today’s virtualized dynamic hybrid IT environments can’t be adequately managed with yesterday’s domain-centric monitoring systems. As applications and services shift to the cloud, you need automated resources to monitor and keep track of your network to ensure all is running smoothly. Using manual monitoring approaches no longer makes sense.

Why is that? One reason is that traditional tools and processes deliver a limited awareness of system components and their interdependencies across the hybrid IT infrastructure.

With no end-to-end visibility within an application environment, how can a performance issue with a specific application be quickly uncovered and resolved using manual approaches?

Another shortcoming of manual monitoring is that issues are often diagnosed sequentially (i.e. is the failure within the firewall, the storage? How about the database?), dramatically lengthening the time it takes to discover and repair the faulty component.

Incident Triage Requires Real-time Visibility across Entire Infrastructure

To make sense of distributed systems’ alarms and rapidly pinpoint any faults, IT teams need a solution that delivers consolidated management data and an up-to-date visual end-to-end overview of the complete network solution.

One such solution is Service Intelligence, a new managed service from BT based on big data and machine learning technologies provided by FixStream. Using FixStream’s AIOps solution, Service Intelligence monitors the health of each network site and component. Bringing numerous sources of information together, the service delivers a real-time 360-degree view of system availability and performance status across the entire data-center infrastructure and the wide area network connecting the sites.

Faster Fault Discovery, Faster Problem Resolution

The Service Intelligence solution aggregates the data from all the management tools from any device or location and displays the topology and application maps on a context-aware, intuitive, visually rich dashboard. Service Intelligence uses the geographical/network site’s topology and application maps to overlay diagnostic data across the entire infrastructure. Just as Google Maps visualizes traffic jams or accidents in the navigation panel, FixStream builds application maps and alerts to its users when there is an outage so operations staff can quickly triage and resolve the issues.

Service Intelligence correlates alarms and consolidates data from multiple sources, providing a single pane of glass display of current infrastructure status. The display highlights trouble spots via a “rooftop view” that pinpoints where the fault is located on a topology or application map. It correlates alarms from multiple sources to rapidly pinpoint any faults on a topology or application map. With this information, Support teams can quickly repair the exact issue, improve performance or remedy an outage.

Predictive Diagnostics Can Stop System Failures Before They Happen

Over time, the machine learning capabilities within Service Intelligence solution begins to recognize patterns, leading to predictive capabilities for potential failures. Staff can identify the business-impacting problem that needs to be prioritized and address it preemptively, rather than waiting to repair system components when they actually fail. By proactively resolving potential issues, teams can avoid potential damage to the business.

Service Intelligence Delivers a Better Customer Experience

The improved diagnostics and problem resolution capabilities of Service Intelligence are driven by FixStream, the next generation of IT operations analytics. Customers benefit with:

  • Greater speed and accuracy of system issue diagnostics and resolution across multi-vendor, multi-technology system landscape.
  • Less downtime due to rapid incident diagnosis and speedy resolution.
  • Reduced costs associated with fault management,
  • End users are able to complete business transactions seamlessly, reducing revenue lost from system downtime. The result is higher customer satisfaction and increased revenue.

The FixStream/BT – United to Deliver Network Availability across the Globe

BT uses FixStream AIOps technology to provide customers with real-time, end-to-end visibility and incident management of your entire ICT estate on a global basis. FixStream’s cloud and visualization platform can prevent outages and identify blind spots in today’s world, one that increasingly depends less on hardware and more on virtualized networks and software.

Large global organizations have mission-critical applications can’t afford to fail. With the Service Intelligence solution, customers now have the tools they need to automate incident management across their organization.

Predict and Resolve Issues across Hybrid IT with AIOps

Virtual Systems require a new approach to IT Management

The need for business agility and 24×7 availability has driven IT systems to rapidly evolve, becoming more virtual, shared and dynamic. While this new virtualized, distributed approach to IT is optimal for digital business applications, it makes it harder to diagnose and resolve performance issues. When you have system components acting independently across siloes, Operations teams can struggle to monitor and analyze end-to-end system performance.

Without a clear view of the entire interconnected system environment and its various elements, your Operations team could be “flying blind”.  Just as air traffic controllers need the data provided by radar to safely navigate and direct various airplanes simultaneously, your IT team needs new tools that help them effectively identify, monitor and manage hybrid IT systems.

Improve the View with Auto Discovery and Application Mapping

Application performance can degrade for a multitude of reasons, along an entire path. Knowing the path traversed by each application is therefore critical to uncover outages. This requires a real-time, accurate auto-discovery process and application mapping.

Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) can help organizations achieve dynamic, real-time, accurate visibility across their hybrid IT environments. Using multi-layer correlation and predictive analytics across business KPI’s, application and infrastructure entities, AIOps can automate the discovery and mapping of critical business processes to application process flows, hosts, backend databases and infrastructure entities such as switches, routers and storage arrays. IT Leaders can visualize operations at a glance and application dependency details at every device level for operational or change management.

By automatically discovering and mapping your complex, multi-tier enterprise applications, you can always maintain an accurate and complete inventory of system components and application dependencies. For instance, Broadcom used AIOps to drastically increase the accuracy of their system components inventory. And, the information can be used to show the potential impact of system changes, ensuring that your transitions and migration plans don’t affect the performance of business-critical applications. Data center migrations can be completed up to 75% more quickly. (Watch this video illustrating the results achieved by Maxim Integrated)

Connecting the dots between business, application and infrastructure issues

IT teams face a daily deluge of data and alerts, making it difficult to discern which incidents need to be dealt with first. Operational data is typically siloed and decentralized, existing in disparate domains and stacks. IT team members often have to manually correlate and analyze thousands or millions of data points to resolve an issue.

Manual correlation is time-consuming and prone to error, and data – often repetitive and even irrelevant — quickly gets out-of-date. Analyzing and interpreting all that data into valuable, actionable insights can be a daunting, never-ending task.

Automated data correlation between business, application, and infrastructure would help, but often isn’t possible with outdated tools. If IT teams can’t analyze the data and isolate the problems quickly, organizations suffer system outages that last longer than necessary. This leads to dissatisfied customers, lost revenues, and unmet business needs.

Adding AIOps can deliver measurable value in key ITSM areas, such as ticket and event suppression and mean time to ticket resolution (MTTR). With AIOps, IT Operations can quickly identify and resolve system issues in minutes, not hours. As a result, your IT teams can become more productive, as they focus on projects that deliver business value versus chasing down noisy alerts. For instance, the City of Las Vegas uses AIOps to predict outages across any of their Oracle ERP applications, helping preserve their revenue flow.

Automated Anomaly Detection and Prediction Increases System Availability

Traditional tools are limited in their abilities because they provide domain-centric views without correlating events, thus impacting the visibility and the management of a hybrid cloud environment. During an IT incident, distributed applications make it difficult to track down where the problems are occurring.

Using machine learning techniques, AIOps correlates data about distributed applications and underlying infrastructure, making predictive analysis and efficient root cause analysis possible. The AIOps platform can learn and identify normal patterns of behavior for various system components and metrics. If the algorithms then detect anomalies, they can trigger alerts and actions by automation tools to identify and even fix basic problems. Over time, AIOps can use data patterns to predict potential incidents so they can be resolved before impacting system operations.

Achieve Proactive IT Management with AIOps

Traditional business models have been disrupted by digital transformation and new technology such as mobile and cloud. As enterprises launch more and more applications to support the user experience throughout the customer lifecycle, IT departments will struggle with infrastructure management and problem resolution.

AIOps solutions are expected to solve these challenges in a very elegant and effective way, revolutionizing IT Operations and accelerating digital transformation initiatives. Therefore, industry analysts are now predicting that the AIOps market will reach $11B by 2025.

FixStream AIOps brings together big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to transform IT operations. For instance, FixStream can predict outages with over 90% accuracy across very complex IT environments, reducing the noise by 40%. By providing a consolidated business-centric view of hybrid IT environments, FixStream AIOps solution helps IT teams proactively manage, plan, and troubleshoot revenue-impacting business-critical processes in real time.

For more information on how FixStream’s AIOps Platform can transform your IT operations, download our free book AIOps for Dummies.

How Integrating AIOps with ITSM will Modernize IT

By Enzo Signore

Introduction – The Importance of a Single Accurate View of IT Infrastructure

As organizations transform digitally, the systems and processes required to manage their dynamic, hybrid IT infrastructures often can’t keep pace. So, it’s natural for IT executives to want new solutions that help them understand and anticipate how different IT components will interact while delivering critical business applications. Not only is this understanding useful for effective system diagnostics, it’s critical for forecasting the impact of infrastructure changes.

Having an accurate and up-to-date view of what IT assets you have, where they are located, how they are configured, and the relationships existing between them are all vital functions for system management and business scaling. But building and maintaining a single accurate source of this information is problematic. In response, many IT departments have created a Configuration Management Database (CMDB), a database that contains all relevant information about IT assets installed across the IT environment, as well as data describing the relationship between specific items and how they interconnect.

Done right, the CMDB can provide a trusted source for information and a total up-to-date view of your IT configuration items, their attributes, and relationships. Done wrong, and the CMDB can end up with incorrect or redundant data, leading to ineffective decision making, inaccurate configurations, and duplication of effort. As with any database project, the analogy “garbage in, garbage out” is appropriate here and a main factor in CMDB projects failing. If the CMDB isn’t populated with accurate and timely information, and if that data isn’t kept clean, the CMDB project won’t deliver its potential value, wasting time and money. But without the right tools, this is a difficult task. No wonder that, by 2019, up to 90% of organizations are forecast to get their CMDB implementation wrong, according to Gartner.

The FixStream/Cherwell Software Partnership – Turning Information into Insight

In response, FixStream, a pioneer of Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps), is working with Cherwell Software, a global leader in enterprise service management and CMDB software. Together, the two companies will deliver a next-generation integrated IT Operations solution that combines machine learning with workflow automation to help find, predict and resolve ITSM issues better and faster.

The joint solution, demonstrated at Cherwell Global Conference in Colorado Springs (Sept. 18-20), integrates FixStream’s AIOps solution with Cherwell’s workflow automation software to automate the discovery of entities across data-centers. Once the entities are identified, the FixStream solution will facilitate the ingestion of accurate inventory information into Cherwell’s CMDB, so the data stored there is correct and updated as needed.

How does the solution work? After creating an accurate and real-time inventory of the physical, logical, and virtual entity across the IT stack via an agent-less auto-discovery process, the FixStream software will automatically update the Cherwell CMDB. FixStream will also correlate business transactions with applications and infrastructure, visualizing operational issues in the context of the business applications. It will then apply machine learning to detect patterns, enabling IT teams to predict and prevent outages with over 80% probability across the entire system stack.

Armed with this deep insight, enterprises will be able to prioritize and proactively resolve issues and vulnerabilities across their IT infrastructure before they cause business outages and lost revenue. IT staff will be able to identify and visualize in seconds the sequence of correlated events across datacenters, as well as automate the root cause analysis of critical business processes, increasing Configuration Management Databases (CMDB) accuracy.

How will this integrated solution improve IT Operations? The ability for IT organizations to understand how applications, servers, middleware, databases, networking devices, and storage devices interact to deliver business services is critical for anticipating the impact of infrastructure changes. By improving the accuracy and currency of the database’s data, the FixStream-Cherwell joint solution will improve the diagnostic analysis capabilities of the CMDB itself. Using real-time insights and powerful analytics to more quickly and accurately identify issues across the IT infrastructure will allow customers to better monitor and maintain critical business processes and avoid expensive downtime.

Conclusion

The integration of FixStream and Cherwell technology will create an integrated next-generation IT Operations solution that will provide insight into the IT infrastructure’s topology and vulnerabilities. The integration solution is designed to help IT teams to prioritize incidents’ resolution by forecasting their potential impact on business operations with the goal of avoiding damaging business outages and lost revenue.

For more information about the FixStream and Cherwell integration, read our press release here.

Faster Problem Resolution with AI-Enabled Predictive Analytics

Outdated Technology and IT Complexity Hampers Issue Resolution

The exponential growth of real-time business transactions, coupled with dynamic hybrid and software-based technologies, make even routine IT operations difficult when using outdated domain-centric tools. As application environments become more complex and distributed, and change more frequently, there are more failure indicators generated than what can be investigated using traditional approaches.

Detecting and diagnosing system problems manually is time-consuming and cumbersome. Inadequate IT operations management tools complicate the identification, analysis and resolution of system issues, as IT specialists struggle to establish a clear, complete view of what’s happening across the various technologies. As a result, operations teams often lack the insight needed to proactively monitor, troubleshoot and manage system environments. This hampers IT’s ability to detect and resolve incidents when a system disruption occurs.

AIOps – Fixing IT Problems Before They Happen

Powered by machine learning, AIOps has advanced analytical capabilities to help IT organizations forecast and resolve system issues. Using its artificial intelligence capabilities, AIOps can be taught to observe and recognize patterns and anomalies over time. Then it will be able to automatically analyze massive amounts of digital data, correlate leading indicators, and use historical behavior to help predict what could happen next. Power of analytics combined with correlation across IT domains delivers contextual operational insight. The insight gained from reviewing the results can help your team predict and prevent business outages, even before they cause actual problems.

AIOps can be taught to examine data trends and provide an early warning whenever it discovers possible issues. For example, the application can detect trends and patterns within the “noise” of millions of system incident reports, helping analysts uncover potential risks and performance issues. By automatically applying proactive and predictive insights, AIOps can help IT organizations diagnose and resolve system threats and performance risks, forestalling a damaging outage. This increases system uptime and performance, driving better outcomes for the business.

When system outages do occur, the predictive insights from AIOps can speed up root-cause analysis and remediation. By quickly and accurately diagnosing the root cause, your team can find and fix problems faster, often reducing downtime from hours to just minutes. The result is optimized system availability and enhanced business operations.

Conclusions:

AIOps predictive analytics can provide up-to-date insight into your organization’s entire application and IT infrastructure resources, which can lead to a better understanding of the interdependencies between system components. This provides CIOs with valuable knowledge to better manage the increasing complexity and dynamic nature of their sprawling hybrid IT architectures.

The FixStream AIOps platform can quickly predict business application issues across an enterprise’s entire hybrid IT stack. Using its end-to-end view across all domains, the AIOps platform helps customers rapidly identify issues and predict outages, so they can save time and solve problems faster. For more information on how FixStream’s AIOps Platform can predict failure points across hybrid IT stacks, read our press release.

Conquering the CIO Talent Challenge

Introduction

CIO’s face many challenges today – cybersecurity threats, limited budgets, and business transformation hassles, to name a few. But would you believe the biggest worry is headcount? Yes, according to a May 2018 Gartner survey, CEOs said a lack of talent and workforce capability is the biggest inhibitor of digital business progress. There just aren’t enough trained IT professionals to go around, and the competition for available tech talent is fierce.

Current reports show IT employees nearly at the top of the hiring list. According to Indeed’s Employer Outlook 2018 survey, 75 percent of those surveyed plan to hire more IT workers this year. With an estimated one million computer programming jobs in the US expected to go unfilled by 2020, CIO’s need to get creative with their hiring and retention strategies.

Recruiting Opportunity – Learn from the experts

Professional recruiters and consultants have valuable recommendations on how to win the talent war when vying for high-demand IT workers. They include:

  • Look for Characteristics – In lieu of specific domain experience, look for candidates that have these characteristics – mathematical aptitude, curiosity, creativity, perseverance, rapid learning, passion for problem solving, and interest in your specific business.
  • Think outside the box – According to Gartner, CIO’s who think beyond traditional recruitment processes will have more success tapping into IT talent pools. Relationships with universities, partners and crowdsourcing sites can uncover appropriate candidates. Also train non-IT professionals for IT roles. As IT and business priorities integrate, hiring people with business skills makes sense.
  • Match the job description to the actual requirements – It’s vital that the job description accurately defines what the position entails. Not only will this help speed up the hiring process by weeding out mismatched candidates, it will ensure that the new hire understands what is expected.
  • Recruit millennials where they congregate –  With millennials forecasted to be 35% of the global workforce by 2020, IT recruiters need to target them on sites that they visit, like Snapchat and Instagram.

Modernize Your Organization to Retain IT Talent

CIOs realize that they need to change their culture if they are to retain talented employees. Implementing work-saving automation tools and cutting-edge technology can boost IT professionals’ morale and job performance. Let’s take a close look on how automation like AI for IT Operations (AIOps) changes culture.

  • Enable Staff to be More Efficient – Many IT employees feel underutilized and bored with ongoing responsibilities like patch management and system maintenance, with no time to work on innovative projects that benefit the business. Eliminate waste by automating IT inventory discovery. In typical IT environments, staff wastes significant time and resources in performing manual service management tasks since their CMDB is inaccurate and they do not have visibility into the CI relationships. This is specifically challenging when the organization has deployed dynamic environments (virtualized, containers, cloud). To avoid repeated, wasted work, automate the discovery of IT assets.
  • Make Teamwork a Priority – Break down internal silos by mapping application to infrastructure. Traditional silos caused by IT monitoring tools force the IT team to manual correlation processes across multiple domains. This means long conference calls, manual collection of large amount of data, and finger pointing when performance issues arise. By mapping applications to infrastructure you break down these barriers and drive constructive teamwork.
  • Become Predictive – Increase productivity by automating root cause analysis. Instead of repeating the same manual, error-prone and wasteful troubleshooting process that can last 4 hours on average and consume 11 full time employees in 15% of the cases (Digital Enterprise Journal), why not predict when the next outage will occur?  This will not only increase the uptime and performance of the business application, but it will free up the IT staff to work on new projects.

Conclusions:

By modernizing recruitment/retention practices, and the IT operations process itself, CIO’s can succeed in hiring and keeping valuable IT personnel. Using AIOps is one way to enhance staff productivity and effectiveness so they become a source of innovation.

Succeeding at IT/LOB Collaboration

Succeeding at IT/LOB Collaboration

By Sameer Padhye

The digital transformation of core business processes is helping organizations of all sizes become more agile, customer-centric, and efficient. It also underpins the importance of IT’s investment in digital technologies, which is exploding. However, these investments must support the organization’s business strategy, emphasizing the need for IT and LOB managers to be on the same page when it comes to digital priorities.

These investments underscore the commitment IT leaders have made to designing innovative new business models and customer experiences. In the State of the CIO 2018 study conducted by IDG World1, 88% of IT leaders confirmed that their emphasis has become more digital and innovation-focused, and 37% said their IT departments can play a critical role in this area.

Unleash IT’s Potential Value to the Business

LOB managers may not know that their IT department is already moving past “business as usual”. The CIO study reveals that IT departments are investing in various technology areas, including enterprise applications (35%), data and business analytics (33%), cloud computing (28%), and security/risk management (28%).

Given the impact of digital business processes on corporate success, it’s vitally important for IT and LOB managers to collaborate on IT project planning and budgets. This collaboration is easier to facilitate in areas where IT and business priorities align, and where there is shared oversight. In the CIO survey, most respondents already recognize this and reported on specific business initiatives driving IT investments at their firms. These initiatives include increasing operational efficiencies; improving customer experiences; increasing cybersecurity protection; and transforming existing business processes.

Start with the Foundation – Collaboration

LOB can help set IT priorities and get budget dollars to fund specific technologies. In turn, IT can help LOB managers by spearheading prioritized projects, recommending appropriate technology solutions, and adopting agile development/delivery practices. Of course, these priorities must be backed up by adequate resources, including budgets and the latest tools to improve IT productivity and accuracy. IT managers can also help their LOB peers build a business case for investing in new technology initiatives.

A recent survey conducted by McKinsey and Company2 shows many executives expect IT to become a more valuable contributor to business results. And 80% of those surveyed backed up the findings in the CIO study, reiterating the need for business and technology leaders to actively collaborate on digital strategy. Yet just over half of them are doing so now. What’s the hold up? In some cases, there’s a disconnect between IT and LOB leaders. Better communication and joint ownership can help them resolve differences on what and where IT should focus to meet ongoing business needs.

The Importance of Partnering with IT

LOB managers should actively partner with IT so that business priorities are met with appropriate IT budgets and resources. Recommendations include:

  • Giving CIO’s a “seat at the C-level table” to better understand the needs of their organization, such as revenue growth, risk reduction and improved agility.
  • Agreeing on business priorities and hiring enough talent, which will help IT improve their effectiveness within the organization.
  • Empowering IT leaders to shift their time and resources to areas the business values most, such as e-commerce, analytics and cybersecurity.

Improve IT Effectiveness, Increase Its Value to the Business

A frequent criticism of IT Departments is their inability to meet business demands and resolve technical issues, but it’s understandable why. The scale at which IT needs to monitor data and identify problems cannot be effectively managed by humans. With today’s complex, dynamic and distributed technology stack, diagnosing and resolving system and performance issues can become a sinkhole, draining manpower away from more productive and impactful initiatives.

The answer is Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps), a one-stop solution which can streamline a variety of IT operations processes and tasks. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, AIOps can help businesses with proactive system planning and identify business-impacting issues before they occur. By helping them better manage the “nuts and bolts” of IT operations, and avoid system outages, AIOps can dramatically free up IT departments to work on more high-value digital transformation projects.

Ready to learn how AIOps solution can help modernize your IT department? Download the FixStream white paper here.

Sameer Padhye is founder and CEO of FixStream.


1CIO’s Shift Digital Transformation into High Gear, State of the CIO 2018, @IDGWORLD
2IT’s Future Value Proposition, McKinsey and Company, July 2017

Seeing the Unseen with AIOps

This article was originally published in Dataversity.

Today, businesses are implementing new applications and adopting new technologies to become more agile, efficient, and responsive. As part of those efforts, they are employing more cloud-based solutions, software-centric and microservices architectures, virtualization and containers.

In addition, hybrid IT is now table stakes in most enterprise organizations. The dynamic and increasingly complex nature of hybrid IT creates new challenges and makes it difficult to operate efficiently. For example, Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 50 percent of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, up from less than 20 percent today. The upside of containers is that they offer portability and greater scalability. However, containers move around a lot, they appear and disappear in the blink of any eye. That in itself multiplies the number of moving pieces exponentially.

IT currently has many disparate tools that collect data. Big data is no longer enough – IT operations needs to gain deep insights into their distributed multi-vendor, multi-domain and multi-technology IT infrastructure in order to meet their challenging business objectives and data correlation is critical.

We need new tools that collect and correlate information about the application itself and about the underlying infrastructure. That should include data about application server performance, events, logs, transactions, and more. The compute, network, and storage resources involved in application delivery also need to be figured into the equation. Only with this full complement – and correlation – of data can organizations understand what is happening with their applications. That is important to ensure applications perform as expected to yield the desired business results.

AIOps Sees Everything…and then some

Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) changes IT Operations by correlating, visualizing and predicting business affecting issues across hybrid IT stacks. It allows IT operations unprecedented visibility into the relationships between every entity in your IT ecosystem.

Let’s take a look at what machine learning for AIOps can do for you.

Application and Infrastructure Inventory – With the complexity of running multifaceted, multi-tier enterprise applications, do you really know what you have in terms of infrastructure and application assets? AIOps with machine learning technology map all the relationship between all of the entities in your IT ecosystem. Before you continue to invest in your stack, you have to know exactly what is in your stack and how it works together. You need to see an accurate and complete inventory of application dependencies so that you know the potential impact of changes and plan transitions and migrations that will not affect the application performance monitoring of business critical applications.

Optimum End User Performance – With AIOps, monitor performance from an end-user’s perspective from transaction through each aspect of the datacenter ensures high performing applications for each individual transaction—with no blind spots—including front end, application performance, infrastructure, containers, and cloud. High-performing customer-facing applications help increase revenues, customer satisfaction, and business agility.

Quickly Identify Root Cause – AIOps maps the flow from applications to infrastructure, including application flows, and virtual and physical compute, network, and storage locations. With these maps, you reduce the complexity and can rapidly drill down, see anomalies, and rectify the situation quickly.

Predict Problems Before they Happen – Increase uptime and performance with AIOps predictive analytics. AIOps correlate data and uncover patterns, which allow your organization to discern what problems are likely to appear downstream from trouble spots. Predictive analytics enable companies like yours to address potential problems before they impact applications and business operations.

Get More Out of Your Cloud Investment – AIOps provides intelligence on application performance so businesses can better allocate resources. The data correlation capabilities reveal what specific resources each application requires. This mitigates the risk of overinvesting and helps you purchase only those cloud resources your applications require.

Traditional, domain-centric monitoring and IT operations management tools are now inadequate because they can’t correlate the onslaught of data various IT domains create. What’s more, they’re unable to provide the insights IT operations teams need to proactively manage their environments – and that just doesn’t work.

IT organizations need a new class of technology to modernize the IT operations process. This technology needs to be able to correlate millions of data points across all IT domains. It should have the smarts to apply machine learning to detect patterns and it should present that information so organizations can easily see what’s happening and gain insights. This technology is AIOps.

About the Author

Enzo Signore, Chief Marketing Officer, Fixstream is passionate about building and growing businesses. He brings a wealth of industry and marketing experience, having led the go to market strategy of early stage companies and established leaders like Cisco and Avaya. Most recently Enzo was the CMO at 8×8, a public SaaS communications company and 5-times Gartner Magic Quadrant leader. Prior, Enzo was responsible for marketing at Avaya, a $4B communications company and for marketing and sales at JDS Uniphase, the leader in optical and test & measurement solutions. Earlier Enzo lead the DSL and Cable business at Cisco, and helped two early stage companies (Retix and ISOCOR) grown from Series A to successful IPO’s. Enzo loves to travel, play sports and is an avid Torino soccer fan.

Accelerate the Pace of Digital Transformation by Modernizing IT

Accelerate the Pace of Digital Transformation by Modernizing IT

By Enzo Signore

Digital transformation is at the top of every CIO’s agenda. It is no longer just an IT challenge; digital is changing economic fundamentals, industry dynamics, and competition on a global scale. Many businesses and industry have found digital transformation to now become a part of their stratergy. Technology is always changing, so why not keep up to date and see where it can take you. Using it to your advantage may come in handy. Examples of Digital Transformation do translate from industry to industry and looks like it is making a positive impact.

The scope and scale of digital-driven change has evolved in the past several years and organizations have invested substantial time and money to keep up. It continues to grow. IDC estimates spending on digital transformation will exceed $2 trillion in 2019 and 40 percent of all technology spending will be for digital transformation technologies. Sixty-four percent of IT executives expect to deliver significant value from digital technologies in the next two years.

Despite this rapid growth, IDC also predicts that 75% of CIOs and their enterprises will fail to meet all of their digital objectives in 2018. IT is struggling to keep up with the fast evolution of digital technology as well as the emergence of newer technologies and how they will affect the current strategy. The pace of change has accelerated and it is overwhelming IT organizations.

There are many reasons why digital initiatives fail but the one reason we are addressing in this post is that digital has created a completely new set of issues for IT. Digital has created a new level of complexity never seen before that continually drains resources and budget. Looking for a solution to digitise your company’s marketing? here it is.

IT is Drowning in Complexity

It is easy to see why digital transformation is falling short. IT is coping with; soaring consumer expectations, the steep learning curve of new technology, supporting legacy systems, lack of skilled talent, the lightning fast evolution of new technology, a variety of disparate tool sets, and the inability to see all physical and virtual entities in the infrastructure limiting the ability to optimize performance. The complexity is multidimensional.

A recent survey of 1200 global IT and business professionals found that IT complexity causes revenue impacting performance problems once every 5 days. Forty-eight percent of millennials would abandon a site or app if it fails to load in 3 seconds while the typical IT organization monitors less than 5% of their apps for performance and availability. Senior managers in marketing, e-commerce, IT, customer service and software development are wasting approximately 10 hours per week trying to find and fix unexpected digital performance issues.

We at FixStream have seen this challenge repeatedly at our prospective customers. Recently, we visited a company that used 17 different tools to monitor infrastructure, applications and services. Each tool has its own portal, its own alert system, and is owned by a different department. There is way to correlate the data generated from each of these disparate tools. When there is a critical alert, support staff emails back and forth between departments to gather information needed to identify root cause – MTTR can take hours while the business is at a standstill.

The survey mentioned above also found that on average, a single transaction uses 82 different types of technology, and containers can live in a microservices environment for as little as 10 seconds. It is no wonder why IT struggles to keep up.

In addition, as cloud computing evolves, it is becoming more complex, and more challenging, even for those who do it very well. Most enterprises now manage a multicloud infrastructure. A recent VMware survey found that the average IT team works on eight clouds, each having its own native management and monitoring tools. Multiple clouds bring more choices to the enterprise however there is a tradeoff; with more choices, there is more complexity. Some decide to outsource this work to companies like hostiserver because of the complexity of the systems that have to be dealt with.

Organizations continue to invest in network, computing, storage and application resources; however, despite continued investments IT cannot holistically see what is in their infrastructure and they have difficulty pinpointing root cause of performance issues. They do not have the ability to correlate millions of data points generated from all of the tools used across the physical and virtual infrastructure.

To mitigate the complexity for digital success, organizations need to be able to visualize the relationships between infrastructure elements (such as the physical and virtual connections at the networking layer), between an application and its infrastructure (for instance, by application mapping to the supporting infrastructure), and between the business transactions and the applications.

Modernizing IT

Traditional, domain-centric monitoring and IT operations management is no longer adequate in today’s dynamic virtualized environment. These older systems cannot correlate the onslaught of data various IT domains create and they’re unable to provide the insights IT operations teams need to proactively manage their environments. CIO’s will not be viewed by the organization as strategic partners until they can get current situation under control and mitigate the risk of lackluster performance or all out failure.

The answer is AIOps – Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations. AIOps are software systems that combine big data and AI or machine learning technology to enhance and partially replace a broad range of IT operations processes and tasks, including availability and performance monitoring, event correlation and analysis, IT service management, and automation. (Source)

AIOps is dramatically simplifying IT operations by automating IT ops processes and tasks. The business benefits are many.

  • AIOps provides unprecedented visibility into IT operations. It can automatically correlate millions of data points across the entire stack; apply machine learning so that IT can increase end-to-end business application assurance and uptime.
  • AIOps optimizes IT and ?reduce costs by automating ?root cause analysis ?and accelerating technology ?migration. It frees up an amazing amount of resources, reduces waste thus making the corporation so much more efficient, which in turn can focus on innovation and can accelerate its business transformation to drive higher financial results.
  • AIOps also has the power to do this across IT, aligning IT with LOB. For example, between infrastructure and application/business operations, and between IT and the LOB creating a more efficient organization.

AIOps in Action

Does AIOps sound too good to be true? Take a closer look at what it has done for these organizations. Click to download each case study to learn more.

  • Reduced MTTR Nearly 4x – Rapid Root Cause Analysis reduced MTTR from hours to minutes and delivered significant ROI to a global digital services company in just two months.
  • Provided End-to-End Converged Data Center Visibility supporting 12 million subscribers.
  • Auto-discovered over 2000 Configuration Items and relationships in 30 mins correlating applications services with infrastructure across worldwide data centers.
  • Reduced MMTR for Oracle ERP user and performance metrics KPI from hours to minutes.

Enzo Signore is Chief Marketing Officer at FixStream.

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