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How AIOps is Changing IT Culture

By Sean McDermott, CEO of Windward Consulting Group

AIOps, or Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations, matches the advanced capabilities of machine learning with the power of big data to automate IT Operations' tasks and processes. IT teams rely on AIOps tools to simplify the monitoring and management of increasingly complex and layered production environments.

Today's IT teams are under immense pressure. They need to monitor modern IT architectures that are growing more disparate and ephemeral as consumer tolerance for downtime decreases and demand for digital transformation increases. Human teams can't sift through the vast amount of data systems produce to detect service-impacting incidents, let alone sustain constant production changes.

AIOps eases the burden on IT teams. Instead of manually combing through piles of information, AIOps tools automate the ingestion of an entire IT stacks' data to add context, reduce noise, detect anomalies and correlate alerts. These automated processes help teams predict outages and make insights actionable, increasing system performance and improving risk management.

But this technology is much more than a performance management tool. Adopting AIOps is adopting a new culture, and it requires a long-term strategy.

With this in mind, let's look at why AIOps is a worthy investment in the first place, how it will change your IT culture and which actions you can take for a successful rollout.

End the blame game

IT jobs and their related technologies are generally siloed, but AIOps changes the culture of how teams operate. It adds visibility into systems and system changes, breaking down traditional team and technology silos and bringing together event management, monitoring and IT service management (ITSM). So, the blame game once prevalent in IT departments dissolves in favor of accountability, ownership and teamwork.

In the early days of my IT Operations career, I observed a lot of finger pointing every time there was a system issue. This unproductive behavior is an IT leader's nightmare, but luckily, AIOps tools are slowly eliminating the "mean time to innocence (MTTI)" game in which teams race to convince each other that the problem isn't due to their products or tools.

In addition to creating a more collaborative, blame-free workplace, AIOps tools free up teams to focus on more rewarding, forward-thinking initiatives. Because modern IT systems produce a massive amount of data, IT teams can find themselves in firefighting mode, reacting to constant alerts. But AIOps tools help reduce this noise and surface only meaningful alerts to lessen mean time to detection (MTTD) and mean time to remediation (MTTR). This automation doesn't stop at speeding up fixes - it also unlocks time for teams to work on innovative, high-level initiatives.

Practical Steps for Successful Adoption

IT has a reputation for deploying new technologies without consulting the people affected by the change. This hasty implementation style tends to create change resistance, which leads to project failure.

Companies should develop an AIOps strategy that looks at AIOps adoption as a digital and cultural transformation. In other words, organizations shouldn't stop at buying a one-off "AIOps platform" - they need a strategy. After all, this automation changes everything from budgeting to analytics to staffing.

Here are practical steps for orchestrating meaningful organizational change around AIOps adoption:

  1. Build an AIOps strategy. Examine your vision for AIOps and devise an executable plan for turning that vision into a reality. Measurable steps should ensure teams know what to implement and when to execute.
  2. Tap a project manager to implement the plan. A vital piece of any strategy is hiring a champion dedicated to making your project a success. Your AIOps champion should have a solid technical understanding of AIOps and exceptional people skills.
  3. Align stakeholder groups around the shared mission. Leadership should align stakeholders across multiple groups who often have vastly different needs and sometimes competing interests. These leaders should bring stakeholders into the fold before project roll-out by outlining an overall vision for the project.
  4. Over-communicate the plan to stakeholders. Once the benefits of AIOps are widely understood, the project manager should communicate the details - timelines, processes, priorities and roles within this new structure.
  5. Foster the right conversations and decisions through delivery. Don't develop technology or make employee-impacting decisions in a vacuum. The more IT teams can weigh in, the more likely the technology works for them - and the more likely they adopt it. And, if IT teams integrate with the rest of the business, chances are that the technology will solve real business problems.
  6. Ensure user adoption by continuing the conversation. Make sure the technology provides a superior user experience. And once the technology is live, provide ongoing review, fine-tuning and support. In short, listen to your impacted teams.

AIOps is a necessity for modern companies to stay competitive in today's digital economy. But, as enterprises shift toward AIOps adoption, they need to recognize the cultural shift that will follow. And, more importantly, they need to work through a strategy that will not just provide increased service assurance but will transform IT teams and ensure the technology's successful rollout and adoption. When performance is on the line, the investment is more than worth it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sean McDermott 

Sean McDermott is founder and CEO of Windward Consulting and RedMonocle. He also acts as lead researcher at Helix Market Research. Sean previously acted as founder and CEO of RealOps Inc., the pioneer in enterprise management run book automation solutions, which was acquired by BMC. Sean's curiosity for advancing technology began at his first job as a network engineer/architect installing and managing the first private internet for the U.S. Department of Justice. At a time when the internet was just taking off, Sean was at the forefront and has continued to be on the cutting edge of technology with the development of Windward and RedMonocle. He is an advocate for business leadership strategies and shares how other entrepreneurs can align passion and action on his blog, Wheels up World.

Published Wednesday, December 08, 2021 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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