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How Abbott transformed its incident management process with Workflow Automation

How Abbott transformed its incident management process with Workflow Automation

Eliminating errors and streamlining the incident management process are top priorities for many ITOps, NOC, SRE, and DevOps teams. With organizations using multiple tools in their IT stack, manually finding the right information at the right time becomes crucial during incident triage. By automating tasks and workflows, businesses can eliminate manual tasks that are time-consuming, repetitive, and prone to mistakes. Automation also helps businesses to standardize and enforce processes, ensuring consistency and compliance with regulations and company policies.

Workflow Automation can be leveraged in every aspect of the incident pipeline to improve team collaboration and communication, as well as enhance transparency and accountability. But implementing automation can be challenging for organizations—especially if they don’t carefully plan and execute their automation initiatives.

In this on-demand session from Pandapalooza, our Senior Manager of Technical Product Marketing Bhushan Jadhav interviewed Jeremy Bragg, infrastructure architect at Abbott, to learn about the version of transformation his organization experienced thanks to AIOps.

Legacy system challenges faced by Abbott’s ITOps team

Bragg’s teams at Abbott operate legacy systems for monitoring and event management, as well as legacy ticketing systems. He had two major unanswered questions:

  1. How were they going to integrate with a tool they didn’t have support for?
  2. How would they correlate and handle the many alerts coming through when their event management and monitoring tools were coupled?

Working across 27 tools, the ITOps team was wasting time jumping from tool to tool in order to find the right information needed for service resolution. In an initial attempt to support the strain on the team, Abbott created an automation queue within their ticketing system which unfortunately, “ended up being the place where we would just dump all the tickets that got created,” Bragg said. Instead of relieving the team workload, this system came with its own challenges, including unresolved tickets and tickets sitting in an extended queue because they had no automation components.

Maximizing Workflow Automation and task optimization with BigPanda’s AIOps platform

With BigPanda’s AIOps platform implemented, Abbott is now maximizing the benefits of Workflow Automation. “The first thing we leveraged was enrichment,” said Bragg. “It’s an amazing capability. We started to try to figure out how we can get as much useful data as possible into the alerts and incidents so that teams don’t have to go to multiple places to look information up,” he added.

The ITOps team at Abbott also transformed their more generic and repetitive tasks into low-risk automation processes that augment the human staff’s capabilities, providing more uptime for critical services and resulting in happier customers. The team has been able to perform tasks within minutes instead of hours, translating to meaningful time saved for ITOps. “What this has done is shown us how much time we can save,” Bragg said.

“Moving forward, we are exploring how else we can expand this automation framework beyond just monitoring alerts that are coming in, but also to human cases or service request portals where somebody in ServiceNow can make a service request that will fit into this automation framework and execute automation on their behalf.”

Remember: there is no one-size-fits-all strategy

Although there is no silver bullet that will take you straight to Workflow Automation, for automation to happen, there needs first to be a standardized process, repetitive tasks, or workflows that set the stage for automation. During an outage, every incident has its own journey from the time it is detected to the time it is resolved. There is a pattern that is repeated, and the organization needs to understand how they’re automating at specific phases of your journey and how those compound. So the idea is to start small and increment gradually in phrases toward achieving the end goal.

Getting the proper context for successful automation is critical, and the way to do that is through AIOps.

Watch the entire Pandapalooza conference session about Workflow Automation and the difference it can make for your organization here.