I recently had the honor of moderating a webinar featuring Forrester Senior Analyst Rich Lane and Steve Breen, Head of Managed Services at ANS, titled “AIOps for the Modern Enterprise: Real-World Advice & Implementation Tips from the Pros.” In this informative session, Rich and Steve talked about the importance of building AI and automation into business strategy and provided tips, tricks, and real-life examples of how modern organizations are using AIOps to drive positive business outcomes for themselves and their clients.
During the webinar, Rich talked about the growing role of AIOps within companies and dove deep into how AIOps fits into a comprehensive monitoring strategy. Of course, we couldn’t fit every possible insight on AIOps into a single webinar, so afterward we sat down with Rich to pick his brain more on all things AIOps.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst that has prompted many companies to shift from legacy monitoring tools and architectures to modern monitoring solutions. What advice would you give to businesses wondering if they too should switch to a cloud-based solution or consolidate disparate monitoring tools?
Rich Lane: I think there’s certainly a lot to be said about reducing untold years of tool sprawl. In IT operations we’ve gotten ourselves into the habit of filling visibility gaps by expanding the ITOM toolchain. The thing is this methodology of plugging holes doesn’t move the needle forward. You still end up with silos of tooling that do not integrate with one another and give you zero predictive or prescriptive insights. Moving to a platform approach we start to get the real gains of having true correlation that helps us immediately identify root cause. So my advice is, step back and see what all you can replace with an AIOps enabled platform. Most people are very surprised at the number of tools they can “switch off” in a very short period of time.
- During the webinar, you spoke about the value AIOps provides to ITOps, DevOps, and stakeholders across a business. How can AIOps capabilities help drive positive business outcomes across an organization?
Rich Lane: If we think about how we conduct business in the digital age, a great deal of how we engage and service our customers is through mobile or web-based apps. The customers interacting with these services are people we’re likely never going to speak to. Therefore, we have to be able to map the user journey through every layer of the IT landscape. There’s a lot of complexity involved in modern architectures. AIOps can help show where all the pain points are that real users are experiencing. Armed with this analysis sales, marketing, product designers, and IT can all come together to create a much more effective digital product.
- During the webinar, you shared some best practices for enterprises looking to begin their own AIOps journey. What are some of the biggest mistakes that should be avoided by businesses looking to implement AIOps within their organization? Any cautions or lessons learned that our readers can benefit from?
Rich Lane: I think like any big undertaking that’s new. You have to get people’s buy-in on why you’re doing it. What will be the benefits? And how will work or processes change? Because things WILL change, but for the better. There will always be old guard folks that are resistant to change. Understand that and start small with teams that are vested in the success of new products. Time and incremental wins will bring people around. Trying to do a forced, big-bang, migration generally leads to failure or at the very least a large amount of unneeded disruption.
- When evaluating different AIOps-enabled monitoring platforms, what are a few mission-critical capabilities businesses should look for and prioritize?
Rich Lane: For me, there are a few things that stand out. The first would be dynamic thresholding of some sort. I shouldn’t have to replace all the rules I have been tweaking the last several years in my old tools. The point of bringing the data under one umbrella is now we can use machine learning to sort out all the usage patterns and detect anomalous behavior automatically. From there, I want really good integrations into other ITSM tools and CMDB and also automation of low complexity, high volume tasks so my staff can get back to doing higher-level work.
- AIOps capabilities often come with an associated cost. LogicMonitor’s AIOps capabilities are woven into our unified platform, but sometimes providers charge extra for specific features or functionality. What would you say to stakeholders worried about how long it will take to set up an AIOps solution, or concerned about paying more for robust AIOps functionality?
Rich Lane: This is a good point I hear a lot. There’s a couple of things here to understand before selecting a vendor. The AI part of AIOps is why you are considering moving to a new platform. You’re trying to use machine learning as a force multiplier for your staff. So to me, the platform should have the algorithms giving me insights out of the box not as an add-on with an upcharge. Time to value is also a huge part of this. We’ve all been burnt by the 18-month implementation cycle before we’re up and running on a new monitoring suite. If I’m going to a modern platform, depending on the size and complexity of my environment, I would expect my time to value to be somewhere between 30-90 days.