To see the other technologies and approaches highlighted in our Digital Transformation series, read our report: An Enterprise Guide to Digital Transformation in 2021.
Tech has no shortage of buzzy new technologies – and cutting through the hype to see what will actually impact the enterprise can be challenging. We're here to help. Here’s our rundown on the emerging technology of artificial intelligence for IT operations, or AIOps – including how AIOps benefits the enterprise and what AIOps platforms are available.
What is AIOps?
Put simply, AIOps is the application of advanced analytics in the form of machine learning or artificial intelligence technologies to simplify IT operations via automation. AIOps is considered essential for successful digital transformation and for dealing with the operational speed required for modern enterprises.
Among AIOps benefits for the enterprise is the marriage of big data and machine learning. When correctly implemented, AIOps uses intelligent automation not just to streamline business operations and unlock new analysis capabilities, but it also becomes smarter over time as more data and uses are implemented.
"With an increase in scale, complexity and accelerating change in technology footprints, AIOps is not just an option, but the need of the hour," said Akhilesh Tripathi, CEO of Tata Consultancy’s AIOps venture Digitate.
The technology improves collaboration between the many different layers of IT infrastructure by managing the increasingly complicated dependencies between them. AIOps also helps organizations manage the complex user permissions and security measures that tech infrastructure requires to ensure security. Automation and analysis also help IT professionals deal with emerging threats quickly and manage the high amount of data generated by enterprises today.
"AIOps is beneficial because it replaces manual IT operations tools with an automated IT operations platform that collects IT data, identifies events and patterns, and reports or remediates issues — all without human intervention," said Chris Bergh, CEO of DataKitchen, a workflow automation platform provider.
How Long Has It Been Around?
AIOps is not one specific technology; it’s the combination of machine learning and big data, broadly speaking, that makes it beneficial. As a term, it's been around just a few years – AIOps was coined by Gartner in 2016. The components that comprise an AIOps platform have varying provenances.
Why Are People Paying Attention to It Now?
In part, because the tech category also fits in well with overall strategic moves toward automation and digital transformation – a rising trend-tide lifts all boats.
The pandemic, with its related increased reliance on cloud-based services and robust security protocols, has also put eyes on AIOps. “With the current pandemic situation, micro, SMEs and large enterprises are moving towards digital transformation and are actively engaged in all sorts of technologies including cloud infrastructure, lightweight application programming, open source technologies, etc.,” said Aruna Pattabiraman, principal data architect for AI at DevOps orchestration firm Opsera.
Who Benefits From It?
With big data as one of the two core techs of AIOps, it has potential beyond business sectors and enterprise departments.
“In my opinion, all sectors will benefit, including healthcare, government, financial, and even industrial sectors too,” Pattabiraman said. “Data is everywhere, and the protection of data becomes an important factor."
According to Digitate’s Trepathi, wherever a business needs a scalable solution that can combine big data, analytics, and automation in hybrid environments, AIOps can have a role to play.
"Business assurance is where organizations will see the most bang for their buck, as AI helps to keep revenue-generating systems up and running and quickly remediating the issues that do come up," he said.
There are also clear AIOps benefits for security. "AIOps will come in handy especially around security on threat vulnerability management, network security and application security," Opsera’s Pattabiraman said. "If AIOps can predict the threats using metadata, the Ops team can be proactive in monitoring those threats and also be ready with the right solutions or fixes in case of a failure."
All that aside, it’s important not to get carried away by the hype, Tripathi said. Be realistic about what is possible with AI and where in IT it should be applied.
"Their expectations for the use of AI need to be clear so that they don’t lose control of the business’s expectations," Tripathi said of CIOs.
Where Can You Get It?
AIOps platforms are available from several of the big players in enterprise tech: IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, and Amazon Web Services have offerings, as do a variety of smaller firms.
On the whole, the availability of intelligent systems and AI-as-a-Service solutions make it less essential to have IT team members with AI skills, Tripathi said.
"Using AI in IT heralds the dawn of less firefighting and more strategic work,” he said. “CIOs will be freed to reassign team members to tasks that help to grow and transform the organization."