IT Operations Management (ITOM): Meeting New Observability Imperatives

    For decades, teams responsible for IT operations management (ITOM) have been stuck in a vicious cycle. A range of monitoring tools are employed to support the existing infrastructure. Next, new technologies and systems come online. More monitoring tools subsequently get incorporated to support these new technologies, and the cycle continues.

    While this process has been repeated for years, that doesn’t mean it can continue indefinitely. The pace of change, the explosive growth in complexity, and the scope of data, transactions, and systems in play are threatening to overwhelm teams—if they aren’t completely overwhelmed already.

    Relying on these siloed approaches won’t be viable in the near or long term. Teams need to get on a path through which they can achieve true, holistic observability of their environments.

    IT Operations Management (ITOM) Survey

    To see how teams are handling these emerging IT operations management (ITOM) changes and challenges, we’ve worked with Dimensional Research to conduct a survey. We wanted to see where IT organizations are in their evolutions currently, and how they’re planning to adapt moving forward.

    The survey was focused on the topic of observability in today’s IT environments, and the evolving use of artificial intelligence and automation. More than 300 respondents participated in the survey. All respondents are involved with IT system operation and strategy, and responsible for IT systems, monitoring, and strategic roadmaps. The findings from this survey are now available in a comprehensive report, and I've featured a few highlights in the following sections.1

    Challenges

    For a significant number of respondents, adoption of new technologies continues to perpetuate gaps in visibility. Achieving end-to-end observability in modern application and IT environments is challenging. Specifically, hybrid applications, third party cloud infrastructure, and mobile applications were cited as the top three challenges to achieving the observability desired.

    Multiple Tools in Place…

    Historically, teams have employed numerous monitoring tools to gain the visibility they needed, and the survey results reveal that the use of many tools remains a reality for a significant percentage of organizations. More than half of respondents report that they’re using six or more tools, and one in 10 companies is relying on 20 or more tools.

    …But Existing Capabilities Lacking

    The vast majority of respondents say they need analytics just to process all the incoming information. 94% say analytics solutions are required for correlating all the monitoring information being generated, but only 46% have those tools in place today.
    In addition, 93% said they need machine learning algorithms and data science to establish proactive, automated remediation capabilities. Finally, if they could find a solution that would help them predict how an application release would impact the customer experience, 90% would find it valuable.

    Tracking the Move to AIOps

    To contend with their increasingly overwhelming imperatives, artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) is emerging as a key strategic imperative for the vast majority of organizations. (To learn more about AIOps, be sure to see our “What is AIOps” blog post.)

    Through AIOps, 99% of respondents expect numerous benefits. In addition, a significant percentage (89%) believe that AIOps can help boost collaboration between development and operations teams. Given all these anticipated benefits, it’s not surprising that a big proportion of respondents are planning to adopt AIOps. In fact, 83% say they are planning to implement AIOps, and 25% already have these technologies in deployment.

    Expected Benefits: How AIOps Will Help

    As mentioned earlier, virtually all respondents expect multiple benefits from AIOps. 93% of respondents stated that AIOps can help them improve management of complex IT applications and architectures.

    Following are the top-ranked benefits respondents anticipate:

    • Faster issue resolution (72%)
    • Automatic anomaly recognition (69%)
    • Better pinpointing of root causes (68%)
    • Increased reliability and uptime (64%)

    DevOps Collaboration

    89% of respondents say that they expect AIOps will increase collaboration between development and operations teams. As the report authors explain:

    “The technologies of AIOps and Intelligent Automation are enabling end-to-end visibility and control while also providing a catalyst for IT teams and developers to work better to together in a collaborative fashion, not just on issue resolution but proactively to build better software and IT systems.”

    AIOps and Intelligent Automation

    For many organizations, the move to AIOps is happening in parallel with another key initiative: the adoption of intelligent automation. For the purposes of the survey, the researchers defined intelligent automation as… “the capability to automatically detect performance, reliability, or operational issues with an application and its environment, as well as provide remediation recommendations based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and, if desired, automatically implement fixes.”

    80% of respondents said they plan on adopting intelligent automation and 26% have already started the process.

    The Power of Site Reliability Engineering and AIOps

    The adoption of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is also gaining momentum. 68% plan to adopt SRE to augment their operations practice. In addition, respondents show a strong belief in the promise of the combination of AIOps and SRE. 99% indicated there are strong benefits of using AIOps with an SRE philosophy. Following are the top four benefits cited by respondents:

    • Fewer production issues (63%)
    • Increase customer experience (61%)
    • Improve system visibility (59%)
    • Reduce labor due to automation (56%)

    Conclusion

    To adapt to current realities, it’s abundantly clear new approaches and technologies are required for effective IT operations management (ITOM). The results from the recent survey vividly illustrate the significant change underway, and how AIOps, intelligent automation, and SRE are poised to play strategic roles. To learn more, be sure to review the Dimensional Research report:

    Using AIOps to Gain Observability and Insight: A Global Survey of Executives and IT Professionals

    1. Dimensional Research, “Using AIOps to Gain Observability and Insight: A Global Survey of Executives and IT Professionals,” November 2020, URL: https://learn.broadcom.com/hubfs/BizOps.Com/Resources/ES_2021_Bizops.com_Dimensional-Research-Using-AIOps-to-Gain-Observability-and-Insight_PDF.pdf