Prepare for What’s Next – Part 3 of 3: Give Your IT Ops Team a Head Start
By helping to anticipate infrastructure issues, service assurance solutions can help you reach a new normal after the pandemic.
In parts one and two of this series, we explored IT operations strategies to cope with the impact of the COVID pandemic. The challenges faced include maintaining and expanding revenue streams in the face of funding constraints that are driven by the economic uncertainty. To prepare for future shocks, we looked at the need to improve infrastructure resilience and reduce the overall risk profile.
It’s clear that any strategy for coping with a crisis must focus on the health and well-being of the common business service infrastructure. The digital infrastructure that supports business services plays a critical role in enabling remote working and is key to a satisfactory customer experience.
Whether your organization manages its own infrastructure or depends on managed service providers to do so, your rebuilding effort should focus on three specific areas to ensure IT operational efficiency in the new normal:
- Insights. Today’s advanced visibility and analytics tools can provide insights into the common business service infrastructure.
- Efficiency. IT operations automation tools reduce complexity by reducing tool sprawl and optimizing services.
- Assurance. Service assurance solutions now provide predictive analytics for your IT operations, helping you get ahead of problems before they manifest themselves and impact revenues.
Let’s take a closer look at number three. How can a predictive approach help you ensure positive business outcomes?
In the post-pandemic world, IT ops teams will need to ensure that new efforts are going to deliver positive outcomes, and that current operations don’t impact existing revenue streams.
As such, they want to be able to predict IT challenges before they happen and correct course in time. When challenges occur (and they will), IT ops teams need the capability to resolve the issues quickly and permanently. Predictive analytics and root cause analysis (RCA) are the two most successful approaches to consider.
IT management platforms and tools now have the ability to utilize advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence to realize a level of proactive infrastructure management that was not possible even a few years back.
These capabilities (sometimes called AIOps) are driven by the ability to leverage analytics to predict problems before they occur. Early implementations were as simple as threshold-based monitoring. Such systems provided the ability to fire off warning signals that could be used to trigger actions when preestablished limits were crossed.
However, systems today are far more sophisticated and use a variety of techniques such as dynamic baselines, rates of change and predictive algorithms to provide superior predictive capabilities in IT operations.
The ability to predict provides a chance to prevent service outages and degradation. However, once they do occur, it’s all about fixing the problem. That brings us to root cause analysis, which focuses on problem resolution.
Root Cause Analysis
When it comes to identifying the source of problems, RCA has been around for quite a while now. The benefits are that you can rapidly pinpoint the cause of issues, making it faster to fix the problems and restore business services as soon as possible.
Management systems that integrate automation with RCA capabilities can bring about further efficiencies and effectiveness. The ability to automatically identify and validate the root cause before proceeding further can reduce the risk of fixing the wrong problem. In some cases, automations triggered by the RCA engine can provide for remediation with no human interaction at all, significantly reducing the time needed to address issues.
Today’s root cause engines provide an additional benefit in terms of reducing the overall risk profile. By fixing the real cause of the problem, you get benefits in the long term that are not possible when simply addressing symptoms or making short-term fixes.
When it comes to addressing these needs, the ability to predict and resolve issues is particularly relevant from an IT operational efficiency perspective. The benefits of a predictive approach to IT ops include better business outcomes and reduced downtime due to faster problem resolution and, in the best case, problem avoidance.