I just got back from Gartner’s IOCS conference.
It was in Vegas, and Vegas this time of the year can get kinda chilly and rainy, so there was that. But in terms of the conference itself, this was one of the year’s best, for three reasons:
- Abundant food for thought, thanks to the high-calibre speakers and the high-quality sessions.
- The ability to talk to enterprise IT professionals that are eagerly embracing today’s cutting-edge technologies (more about that later in this post).
- Most interestingly, at least for me, it was the opportunity to go to the expo floor, visit vendors at their booths and learn more in just minutes than is otherwise possible*.
(*If you don’t already do this, I strongly recommend it. It’s amazing how much you can learn just by walking the expo floor, talking to vendors, asking questions and watching demos.)
But throughout the conference, the one thing that stood out above all else, is how automation powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has finally arrived, after decades of false starts and “AI winters”.
ML is just transforming IT in fundamental ways. Nowhere is this more evident than in IT Operations.
The Future of IT is Autonomous
Consider this take-away from Terrence Cosgrove’s session at Gartner:
Infrastructure and operations leaders must realize that there is no single automation tool that is capable of automating all I&O scenarios. Successful automation deployments are focused on specific domains and use cases with well-defined processes. To be successful in the future I&O leaders must have a strategic and proactive automation strategy.
(Terrence is a Managing Vice President at Gartner.)
Manual drudgery, false positives and 24×7 stress are starting to go away, thanks to intelligent automation; and automation itself is increasingly being elevated to autonomous.
Will we get to fully autonomous IT by 2020?
Will your organization be ahead of the curve and make it there by 2020?
The good news is that we’re well on our way there, as I saw at Gartner just last week. So I think you should certainly try!
By the way, if you’re waiting for the coming autonomous-vehicle revolution (I am) and if you wanted to draw a parallel with autonomous vehicles, you could say that we’re at the “conditionally autonomous” stage in IT Ops. And with each passing day, we are getting closer and closer to full autonomy.
IT Ops Leaders Are Embracing Autonomous Digital Operations
At BigPanda, we’re especially delighted about autonomous IT, of course.
As a result, they’re seeing a growing number of IT incidents being autonomously handled. What can’t be handled autonomously is being escalated to L1s, L2s and L3s. The load on L1s, and by extension L2s and L3s, is decreasing. MTTD, MTTA and MTTR are also decreasing, SLAs are being met, customers are happy, and NOC and IT Ops teams couldn’t be happier!
United: “Too many tools, too many events, too many tickets”
Now, while I could talk all day about how transformational IT leaders are embracing BigPanda Autonomous Digital Operations, and there is a lot to talk about, the proof is in the pudding.
And at Gartner, United served up delicious pudding!
As part of a session on Wednesday, Dec 5, Sarah shared United’s journey.
What made the story resonate so strongly inside the packed hall was how Sarah described United’s pain early in the session:
too many tools, too many events and too many tickets.
An all-too-familiar problem for IT Ops and NOC teams
This is an all-too-familiar problem for most IT Ops and NOC teams inside enterprises because, in a nutshell:
- monitoring tools – of the sort Sarah mentioned – generate a lot of events,
- having many such tools means that you generate a very large number of events, and,
- in the absence of context-rich correlation, you end up with too many tickets.
As a result, everything from MTTR, to NOC efficiencies, to application uptime – all trend in the wrong direction, or worse, can’t be measured at all.
United, under Sarah’s leadership, rolled out BigPanda earlier this year as a cure for these problems and more, and the results have been transformational. And a key part of what Sarah and her team have built is a workflow that automatically resolves specific incidents.
The “Level-Zero” Layer
This is a perfect example of the “Level-Zero” layer that’s an foundational element of autonomous IT operations.
In traditional IT Ops and NOC teams, the L1 team resolves as many incidents as possible, gathers information on what it can’t, and escalates them to L2 or L3 teams. At United, BigPanda acts as the LØ, sitting one level below the L1 team and resolves a number of common incidents, escalating what it can’t resolve to the L1, L2 or L3 team for human intervention.
This is, needless to say, an important step towards an autonomous future…which is why as I said before, we’re on our way to that future!
The results speak for themselves
Coming back to United, while Sarah shared a number of notable details about their IT Ops transformation, the three highlights that audience seemed to appreciate the most were:
- a 97% correlation rate (resulting in a 99% reduction in the number of tickets!)
- 2 months to go into production, and
- catching a P3 issue 15 minutes before going live (in the process, a P1 issue was prevented)
No wonder the audience was glued to their seats for the entirety of the session!
And with that, it’s time to wrap up this post. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it…I’m already looking forward to having our other large enterprise customers share their stories next year at Gartner and elsewhere, and I hope to see you there!
Meanwhile, enjoy the holidays with your friends and family.