How AI Can Reduce Service Desk Ticket Costs from $20 to $4 [Webinar Recap]

Author: Guy Nadivi

It’s the End of the IT Service Desk as We Know it (and We Feel Fine)

If you’ve been paying attention the last few years, you know Digital Transformation is a concept that’s sweeping through many organizations, and fundamentally changing how they operate and deliver value to customers.

There’s some very cool, but still somewhat emerging technologies underpinning this disruption, and you’re no doubt familiar with them. Things such as:

  • Data Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence

But in the last couple years, the emerging technology that seems to have garnered the most mindshare faster than any of them is chatbots. That’s right! Chatbots are the coolest kids on the digital transformation block, because they assimilate many of the benefits from data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence into a form that can be used today, and deliver value to your organization and customers right now. As a result, chatbots have emerged as perhaps the most familiar digital transformation experience for end users.

BTW – There isn’t any consensus yet on a single definition of “Digital Transformation”. One thing just about everyone can agree upon though is that shifting more of the laborious, repetitive tasks that people shouldn’t be doing in the first place over to chatbots is a good idea. This becomes especially true when you look at some numbers.

A the 2017 HDI show, Jeff Rumburg, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of MetricNet, an IT research and  advisory practice, delivered a presentation on the results of his research into the costs of different service desk access and communication channels. He discovered some amazing disparities.

Jeff found that incidents requiring Vendor Support cost on average a whopping $599 per incident.

If you needed to get IT Support involved (that’s level 3 support), the average cost was $104 per incident.

Desktop Support (level 2) was cheaper, but still relatively expensive at $69 per incident.

Incidents going through the Service Desk, your level 1 support tier, cost $20 per incident. Since level 1 tickets comprise by far the highest volume at most service desks, that’s a logical place to start applying chatbots.

If you can push out incident resolution for level 1 tickets to your end users, enabling them to initiate and remediate their own incidents with chatbots, the cost of support drops down to a very economical $4 per incident. Yeah, wow!

At this point, some more skeptical people in IT might be asking – are chatbots a passing fad or are they here to stay? Let’s look at the objective data on that, and see what direction the numbers point to.

Earlier this year, Salesforce.com released a major report entitled the “State of Service”. Nearly a quarter of their respondents (23%) said they currently use AI chatbots and nearly another third (31%) said they plan to use them within 18 months.

That represents a projected growth rate of 136% in the use of AI chatbots over the next year and a half. By any definition, that’s a viral trajectory.

Spiceworks published a report not long called “AI Chatbots and Intelligent Assistants in the Workplace”.

One question their survey asked was about utilization of intelligent assistants and chatbots by department. Guess which department uses chatbots more than any other? That’s right – IT.

Another question in that Spiceworks survey specifically asked IT professionals if they agree or strongly agree with a number of different statements. The statement IT professionals overwhelmingly agreed with more than any other was that AI will automate mundane tasks and enable more time to focus on strategic IT initiatives.

Those IT professionals Spiceworks surveyed were right. One of the biggest benefits of chatbots is that they automate many of the robotic, laborious tasks that humans shouldn’t be doing anyway. That frees up those IT professionals to work on more strategic and far more valuable IT initiatives. Which in turn makes those professionals more valuable to their organizations.

Why is offloading that tedious work from IT staff so important? Because Gartner has shown that the biggest budget item for IT Service Desks is personnel. Between 2012 and 2016, the average percentage of a service desk’s budget allocated to labor ranged from 84% – 88%. With digital transformations driving up the demand for IT support, there’s simply no way an organization can hire their way out of this situation, even if they wanted to.

The reality is that quality service desk personnel simply cost too much, and no matter how good those personnel are, they can only keep up with so much volume. At some point the laws of physics reassert themselves, reminding everyone that people simply don’t scale very well. Chatbots though, have infinite scalability.

That limited human capacity to scale, combined with the increased volume of requests for service desk support, is degrading end user experiences.

A 2016 Harvard Business Review Webinar titled “How to Fix Customer Service” revealed that:

  • 81% of consumers say it takes too long to reach a support agent.
  • 43% of customers try to self-serve before calling a contact center.

What that tells you is that waiting for human support has gotten so insufferable, end users are increasingly willing to remediate their own issues. All they need is for IT to enable a channel for them to do that.

What kinds of requests are keeping IT service desks so busy?

Well if you’ve attended any of our previous webinars you might’ve heard us cite a well-quoted statistic from Gartner that as much as 40% of an IT service desk’s call volume is nothing but password resets. 40%!

Another big drain on your service desk? Requests for ticket status updates. Those can comprise as much as 10% of a service desk’s call volume, and we’re citing ourselves (Ayehu) as the source on that.

How do we know? Well, Ayehu knows because our clients tell us which workflows have the biggest impact on reducing call volume to their service desks.

Therefore, if you can use a chatbot to automate just these two processes – password resets and ticket status updates – you could cut call volume to your service desk in half! That’s huge, and it will go a long way towards reducing your service desk ticket costs dramatically.

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The future of work is here. Using intelligent automation to work SMARTER, not harder.

intelligent automation - work smarter not harder

Process automation is most often leveraged as a tool to replace the need for humans to perform routine, repetitive manual tasks. Beyond this, however, intelligent automation powered by machine learning capabilities can be leveraged to continuously optimize work and improve business outcomes. Imagine what your organization could do if all the simple but necessary daily tasks were shifted from humans workers to software robots. Now imagine how you could scale up or down instantly based on workflow demands, without the expense or hassle of adjusting personnel numbers.

Regardless of where you stand on the concept of intelligent automation, it is widely acknowledged by experts across every industry to be a central component of the future of work. Business leaders and decision makers view intelligent automation as highly beneficial due to its ability to maximize output while also minimizing costs. On the other side of the coin, however, many front-line workers are resistant to automation as they view artificial intelligence as a threat to their future and livelihood.

The biggest question that plagues businesses still remains whether or not intelligent automation will eliminate the need for human workers altogether. There is no easy or straightforward answer to this question. In reality, some jobs will inevitably be eliminated. In fact, there are certain industries, such as banking, in which AI has already had a significant impact on staffing levels. The fact is, job elimination is not the goal of automation. Rather than replace humans, this technology should be viewed as a tool for augmenting them (more on that here).

The goal of intelligent automation is to create a better user experience at every level. From an employment standpoint, it’s about leaving the grunt work for the computer to handle and leveraging artificial intelligence to analyze and use data for improving operations. Increased internal efficiency leads to cost savings and ultimately a higher level of employee satisfaction. Externally, tools like virtual support agents, proactive problem solving and faster resolution will dramatically improve customer engagement and happiness.

For now and well into the foreseeable future, intelligent automation should not be seen as a threat, but rather something that will free up intelligent and experienced workers to be able to apply their creativity and problem-solving skilled to more important issues that cannot (yet) be handled by technology alone. Beyond this, the increased adoption of automation will also open up new roles that did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago. So while some jobs will become obsolete, other opportunities will replace them.

In today’s highly-competitive world, organizations of every shape, size and industry are battling to stay ahead of the curve and remain profitable. Intelligent automation provides the solution, allowing businesses and their employees to work smarter, thereby improving their chances of achieving continued success well into the future.

Is your staff working as smart as they could be? Learn how automation can be the key differentiator. Launch your free product demo and experience the power of artificial intelligence for yourself today.

Ayehu

Ayehu’s New Advanced Features in NG v1.5 [Webinar Recap]

Author: Guy Nadivi

In response to growing user requests to add more flexibility to the Ayehu NG automation platform, Ayehu has released NG v1.5. This release will significantly expand the scope of what you can automate in your environment, all from a single pane of glass, and we think that makes it a real game changer in the IT orchestration and automation market.

If you’re an existing user of Ayehu NG, or even if you’re just thinking about trying us on for size, you probably know that one of the core strengths of our solution is how easy and quickly you can plug Ayehu into various ITSM platforms, cyber security tools, operating systems, messaging and notification tools, and increasingly chatbots and AI services. Almost all of these integrations can be activated seamlessly without writing a single line of code.

And the purpose of providing you with all these pre-built integrations and connectors that make up our ever-expanding ecosystem, is to simplify your ability to orchestrate automation across any platform in your environment. All from a single pane of glass!

So, here’s what’s really exciting about this new version of NG. We’ve added a “Do It Yourself” capability to allow you to build your own platform-specific activities without the need for Ayehu to do it for you.

From the feedback we’ve received, that’s really going to appeal to those of you who aren’t afraid to roll up your sleeves, do a little coding, and craft your own specific intelligent IT automation activities.

In fact, when you see how easy we’ve made it to build your own activities, we think some of you non-coders might even be tempted to take a crack at it yourself and perhaps fulfill some aspirations on your personal automation wish list.

Without further ado then, let’s dive into what’s new in our latest release of NG, v1.5:

  • Activity Designer – This is the big one. It’s a new feature designed to give users the option to build their own activities, which marks the first time they’re not relying on us to build an activity. You already know we provide an Out-Of-The-Box library of more than 500 no-code, pre-built activities. With the Activity Designer though, customers can now independently develop or modify existing activities in Python, C# or .Net to extract further value through customization that meets specific needs.
  • GitHub Community Repository – Ayehu now has a new community on GitHub that contains more than 100 of Ayehu’s workflow templates, as well as source code for built-in activities. Customers can use this in conjunction with the Activity Designer to create custom activities based on existing pre-built workflows. The GitHub Community Repository also provides free access to other peer-developed workflow templates and activities which have already been created and contributed to the community. 
  • Ayehu Academy Advanced Courses – We now have two new Ayehu Automation Academy courses – Activity Designer Essentials and Advanced Activity Designer. Together, these courses help train and certify developers in creating new activities using the Activity Designer. The Academy has already certified nearly 1,000 IT automation engineers since its inception earlier this year.

Let’s talk a bit more about the Activity Designer.

Typically, when building a workflow you simply drag and drop activities onto a canvas, and position them in the order you want them to execute. There’s no coding, scripting, or programming of any kind required. All you have to do is configure any particular activity by entering some parameters into a popup window, as shown in the image below:

With the new Activity Designer, you can build your own activities from scratch, in Python, C#, or .NET. We believe this will typically be for a system we haven’t integrated yet, perhaps some home-grown in-house application. But it can also be used to create new custom activities for an existing integration, like ServiceNow or SolarWinds. This is a big deal because now organizations will be able to take previously unintegrated systems and incorporate them into enterprise-wide orchestration and automation via Ayehu’s single pane of glass. The Activity Designer interface is shown in the image below:

Ayehu’s GitHub Community Repository marks an expansion of our presence on GitHub’s open-source community, and can be seen at this link: – https://github.com/Ayehu

At the repository, you’ll find:

  • 100+ Ayehu workflow templates
  • Source code for built-in activities

There are many benefits to our users from this new repository, including:

  • Shorter time to value through reuse of existing, pre-built workflows
  • Shorter time to value thru customization of open source activities
  • Free access to peer-developed workflow templates and activities

Here’s an example. If we want to see what kinds of workflow templates are already available for Cisco devices, we can just click on the Cisco category, and drill down to all the workflow templates you can access that are Cisco-specific, as seen in the image below:

These new features are also accompanied by new advanced courses created for the Ayehu Academy, which can be found on our website ayehu.com under the Customers menu.

The two new Ayehu Automation Academy courses are:

  • Activity Designer Essentials
  • Advanced Activity Designer

Together, these courses help train and certify developers in creating new activities using the Activity Designer. 

Ayehu recommends getting certified because your new knowledge will enhance 2 areas of interest:

  • Your organization’s automation capabilities
  • Your own personal professional standing.

Furthermore, as this market continues to grow, we anticipate new income opportunities will be created for Certified Activity Designers. The Academy has already certified about 1,000 IT automation engineers despite only opening earlier this year. That’s a reflection of the growing interest in automation, and if you’re one of those IT automation engineers, you’ve positioned yourself very nicely for the growth curve ahead.

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How Automation Levels Up AIOps

automation levels up AIOps

In today’s increasingly complex digital environment, the ability to pinpoint, resolve and mitigate potential IT problems has never been more critical. And with a hybrid blend of public and private cloud, on-premises and virtual servers, a growing variety of mobile devices and a skyrocketing volume of network and application traffic, it’s also never been more challenging. To address this significant concern, organizations are turning to artificial intelligence for IT operations – or AIOps for short.

The term AIOps encompasses the use of advanced data analytics technologies, such as AI and machine learning, to automate the process of identifying and remediating performance issues. AIOps leverages the colossal volume of data generated by IT services and systems to proactively monitor the infrastructure and gain complete visibility over all system and application dependencies. These advanced capabilities enable AIOps to manage and address potential problems, often before they occur.

Organizations put AIOps in place to gather and analyze all IT operational data and simultaneously automate all main IT operations. The AIOps system then organizes and prioritizes that data, presenting it to IT managers so they can react accordingly. In short, AIOps provides IT decision-makers with the insight they need to stay a step ahead of IT operations. Gartner predicts that by 2023, the use of AIOps will increase from 5% to 30%.

The Key is Automation

The most critical component to a smooth and efficiently run AIOps is automation. This technology helps AIOps to perform ongoing monitoring while adhering to predetermined policies and dependency mapping and quickly and effectively carry out the steps necessary to resolve events or failures.

With all of these technologies operating in tandem, and automation at the center, AIOps can ultimately help to reduce the volume of potentially damaging events, provide proactive alerts to issues that could cause an outage, pinpoint the root cause of those issues and apply intelligent process automation to autonomously remediate.

AIOps is capable of increasing the effectiveness of infrastructure resources, streamlining and expediting service requests and problem resolution, and ultimately generating consistent, measurable value from its ability to support current and future business initiatives.

The Benefits of AIOps

Harnessing the power of automation in combination with AIOps delivers a multitude of benefits for IT. Firstly, it can dramatically enhance and improve the effectiveness of existing tools and services. And since it saves time while also increasing efficiency and productivity, organizations employing AIOps can also realize a decrease in overall expenditure.

Likewise, AIOps can also reduce the amount of time and effort currently required to manage service requests and remediate performance issues and outages. All of this adds up to improved service levels, a significant reduction in risk, and a quicker time-to-market for new initiatives.

Automated AIOps runs on a 3-phrase approach:

  • Identify
  • Analyze
  • Respond

In other words, it monitors the environment to detect any potential anomalies or concerns, then analyzes, validates and prioritizes those potential events before finally determining the best course of action to take to address the issue at hand. While this last step may involve escalation to a human decision-maker, in most cases, these steps can all be carried out without the need for human intervention. Therein lies the true value of AIOps.

To learn firsthand how AIOps can help position your organization for future stability and sustainable success, try it yourself for 30 days. Click here to start your full-feature trial of Ayehu NG today.

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It’s the End of the IT Service Desk as We Know it (and We Feel Fine)

Ayehu and Rulai team up to turn chatbots into workbots, enabling the self-driving IT service desk

San Jose, CA and Campbell, CA — October 29, 2019 — Ayehu, a leader in intelligent automation, and Rulai today announced a partnership to deliver a self-driving IT issue resolution offering powered by AI. The Rulai integration goes beyond the limitations of traditional chatbot communication capabilities to deliver virtual service agents (VSAs) that complete IT service desk work.

“Let’s face it, people hate calling the service desk, experiencing long waits on IVR and sometimes waiting hours just to get a password reset,” said Gabby Nizri, CEO of Ayehu. “Ayehu and Rulai are disrupting the entire way the IT service desk works in enterprises today. Using the integrated solution, we eliminate the need for employees to call and wait for IT to solve their problems. Our chatbot VSA will perform these tasks, increasing productivity and employee satisfaction.”

IT service desk operation is extremely resource-intensive, with as much as 85% of the cost being labor according to some studies. Most of this work involves menial, repetitive tasks, that could easily be automated. This has led to the rise of chatbots, which can reduce the amount of human interaction considerably.

However, chatbots are often limited to basic interactions such as pointing the user to non-actionable static information pages, or at best, creating a well-formatted request that is then sent to a human operator for execution. Most chatbots use rule-based decision trees, have poor natural language understanding and limited ability to manage an ongoing dialog or execute a task. As a result, they are easily confused, and customers can become frustrated.

To address both limitations, Ayehu and Rulai have joined forces to create a solution that actually does the work.

Combining Rulai’s Level 3 Conversational Computing Platform with Ayehu’s intelligent automation engine, companies can turn chatbots into a Virtual Service Agent (VSA) – a workbot that has the ability to not only receive and communicate requests but complete and resolve them as well.  

Rulai’s platform allows companies to build AI-based conversational chatbots that can manage non-linear dialogue, and that require no code to develop or deploy. Ayehu provides an intelligent automation engine that receives user intent from Rulai, and acts on it. No code is required to build workflows that integrate with the widest range of applications, changing the IT service desk experience for the end-users.

“Improving employee experience has become one of the top goals for CIOs,” said Marc Vanlerberghe, CEO of Rulai. “We live in an instant gratification economy. Like never before, employees demand fast, frictionless engagement with companies. The combination of our Level 3 Conversational Computing Platform and Ayehu’s intelligent automation platform creates a delightful and frictionless IT experience, available 24/7, 365 days a year, vastly improving the employee experience.”

By running the service desk autonomously customers can achieve as much as a 35% cost reduction, while reducing MTTR by 98% which makes the end user satisfaction higher than ever.

Ayehu’s Rulai integration is available immediately. Please contact sdr@ayehu.com.

For more information, register for the upcoming automation webinar on November 13th: 

Rulai and Ayehu Present: How to Create a Self-Driving IT Service Desk. Register here:

https://info.ayehu.com/how-ai-can-reduce-service-desk-ticket-costs-from-20-to-4

About Ayehu

Ayehu’s AI-powered automation and orchestration platform is a force multiplier for IT and security operations, helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure. Trusted by hundreds of major enterprises and leading technology solution and service partners, Ayehu supports thousands of automated processes across the globe. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com and the company blog.  Follow Ayehu on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Rulai

Rulai is a new Enterprise Conversational Computing Platform provider. Rooted in academia, the founding team has a combined 200 years of experience in AI research, published over 400 research papers and filed over 80 patents in advanced AI-based dialog management. It is the only SaaS platform in the market capable of supporting business teams in building Level 3 Virtual Assistants .

Enterprises in banking, insurance, retail, telco, and life sciences increasingly rely on human-centered automation to augment the work of customer service agents, as well as increase customer self service capabilities across sales and support. Rulai’s easy-to-use platform allows business users to create and evolve virtual assistants with support from IT. Rulai has been recognized by Gartner, Forrester, and Bloomberg, and was named to the Forbes 2019 AI 50 list.

Harnessing the Cognitive Capabilities of Intelligent Automation

In order for business leaders (and ultimately their teams) to meet the growing demands of maximum operational efficiency, organizations across the globe and in just about every industry have been turning to automation for decades. We have reached a time, however, in which basic automation is no longer sufficient. In response to this, enterprises are taking things a step further by utilizing the power of AI and cognitive technology through intelligent automation to address the increasingly complex challenges they’re facing.

The Next Generation of Automation

In its simplest form, machine learning is a technology through which machines (software robots, if you will) are capable of learning from data and applying what they’ve learned to either provide insight to key decision-makers or resolve problems independently. Rather than being programmed to follow a specified series of steps, intelligent bots can now complete tasks without the need for human intervention. The results have been impressive, particularly in terms of efficiency gains.

Logically speaking, automated tasks that are carried out by basic automation are fastest when they are repetitive. With non-intelligent automation bots, workflows that follow a set of predefined rules are most effective at producing effective results immediately. For instance, employees who waste hours a day manually copying and pasting data would realize instant value by moving that task to basic automation.

There are instances, however, when data is incomplete, requires multiple sources or needs to be enhanced in order to carry out a particular task. For example, resolving a single issue for a customer may require accessing half a dozen different systems and data sources. To bridge this gap, organizations need intelligent tools. AI-powered automation ties together siloed systems and provides independent resolution while reducing errors and ensuring compliance.

The key to this? Cognition. Leveraging automation tools that feature advanced cognitive abilities that are similar to humans, organizations can create a more unified infrastructure, improve business-related outcomes and dramatically accelerate and enhance customer service. In addition to basic automated tasks and workflows, companies can deploy virtual support agents to further automate processes, including those that require context and conversation.

What Should Be Automated?

To determine what to automate, decision-makers should begin by evaluating whether or not the tasks, workflows and processes could be improved or possibly even eliminated prior to introducing automation into the mix. Some things will be obvious – the mundane, repetitive and low-value busywork, such as data management or reporting. These things can (and should) be easily transitioned from human worker to automation robot.

Looking past these rote tasks, however, some work is currently considered to be more suited for humans. For instance, activities that require understanding of text, complex decision-making or matching of patterns. Additionally, tasks that rely on emotional intelligence and/or require interaction and collaboration with other human workers have previously been considered too difficult, if not impossible, to automate. That’s where intelligent cognitive automation technology has become a game-changer.

This type of advanced automation incorporates machine learning to facilitate decision-making, natural language processing for understanding and contextualizing written and verbal communications, and state-of-the-art predictive analytics and pattern matching to handle process exceptions.

Collaborative Process Optimization

Of course, even with all of these technological breakthroughs, humans are still required to choose, apply and manage automation – at least for the time being. One area where artificial intelligence and humans are already working in tandem is in the way of decision-making support. For instance, next generation tools like Ayehu combine cutting-edge automation and cognitive technologies to determine how processes are configured and/or currently operating. From there, automatic suggestions can be made to further improve workflows and optimize processes.

While many still worry about intelligent bots taking over human jobs, particularly due to the rapid evolution and development of artificial intelligence, a more accurate reality will be humans and intelligent bots working side by side to add value and collaboratively achieve optimal business outcomes.

Experience the power of intelligent automation for yourself by starting a free 30-day trial of Ayehu. Click here to get started!

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How to get a higher return on your Intelligent Automation investment

maximizing your intelligent automation ROI

Despite the fact that intelligent automation offers a multitude of benefits to organizations of all sizes and industries, there are still many key decision makers that fail to recognize the value this technology can have for their own enterprises. In order to demonstrate how important automation is for the future of business, IT managers must find a way to maximize ROI and demonstrate the quantifiable benefits to the powers that be. Here are five simple strategies for getting those numbers headed in a positive direction.

Define Needs, Benefits and Expectations

You can’t focus on improving anything – whether it’s efficiency through intelligent automation or the actual ROI it delivers – unless everyone understands what to expect. Time should be taken to identify and define the specific needs of the organization, and then specify how automation can solve those problems and meet those needs. Once this information is gathered, you can then more accurately measure all of the specific areas where automation is producing a solid return and how. A few key places to start include effort reduction, mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR), lowered rate of error, compliance and system up-time. Improving each of these areas will directly boost your return on investment.

Understand the Process and Where Automation Fits

The driving purpose behind intelligent automation is to use technology to replicate repetitive, manual tasks. To improve automation ROI, one must dig much deeper than this basic concept to understand the entire process at hand and identify exactly how automation can be integrated for optimal results. Important questions to ask in this analysis include:

  • What factors should trigger an automated process?
  • What must occur before and after the automated process?
  • What variables and inputs will be necessary to achieve the best outcome?

Most importantly, how does automation fit with the big picture – the larger business process as a whole? While individual tasks could certainly be automated, automating the entire process or workflow may actually produce a greater value for the business.

Recognize the Context and Customize Accordingly

Calculating accurate ROI involves understanding the specific context in which the automated process in question is running and customizing that process for optimal results. For instance, the automated response to a critical incident, such a systems outage, during peak business hours should be markedly different than the response to a similar outage that occurs in the middle of the night. These contextual considerations should be built into the automation process and they should also be considered whenever measuring results. By customizing the process, the intelligent automation platform can execute different actions based on each scenario, thereby producing a greater return overall.

Test Thoroughly Prior to Release

Testing an automated process manually or in a development system can certainly be time consuming, but it’s absolutely critical to achieving maximum ROI. Before an automated process is deployed in a live environment, it must be adequately measured to ensure that it is not only producing the desired results, but is doing so consistently. Once the automated process is released, ongoing testing is still strongly recommended, as this helps to ensure that the triggers, inputs, actions and outputs are all running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Routine audits can also help to identify areas that could be improved upon for even greater benefit.

Ongoing Evaluation and Improvement

Intelligent automation may feel like a “set it and forget it” solution, and theoretically it is to a certain degree, but the organizations that reap the greatest rewards from this technology do so by taking a continuous process improvement approach. Regular evaluation of how automated process are working and analysis of where they may be expanded to produce even better results is a must if you are looking to maximize ROI. IT professionals should be asking whether additional tasks could be automated, or whether existing automated processes could be integrated with one another or built upon for greater efficiency.

Individually, each of these five tips can have an impact on your overall return. When combined, however, they can help to both improve short-term goals as well as drive long-term strategies to produce the desired results of reducing human effort, improving operational efficiency, boosting service levels, reducing errors and downtime, remaining compliant and much more. The end product is a consistently favorable return on investment, which can help to win over those who are not yet on the intelligent automation bandwagon.

Want to see some real-world numbers that can be generated by intelligent automation? Check out our latest case study below.

Ayehu

How to Predict and Remediate IT Incidents Before They Affect Business Outcomes [Webinar Recap]

Author: Guy Nadivi

The ability to proactively predict  and remediate IT incidents BEFORE they occur, rather than react to them after they’ve already happened, is one of the key value propositions of a new IT operations category called AIOps, which stands for Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations.

Leveraging the AI part of AIOps to mitigate problems before they become problems is a game changer for IT. So we’ve partnered with Loom Systems, who like ourselves are a Gartner Cool Vendor in their category, to demonstrate how two best-of-breed providers can integrate their respective platforms to create an enterprise-grade AIOps solution. In doing so, we believe the result is an early glimpse at the self-healing data center of tomorrow, and we think you’ll be intrigued to experience how you can peek over the horizon to see  and automatically remediate incidents before they impact end-users.

Let’s start with the obvious question many of you might have on your mind – what is AIOps? It is after all, a term that kind of snuck up on all of us.

The term AIOps, like a lot of buzzwords in our industry, was originated by Gartner. In this case, a Sr. Director Analyst named Colin Fletcher coined it in 2016, and its earliest published appearance (as best I can tell) was in early 2017.

Interestingly though, Colin told me he originally meant the term to refer to Algorithmic IT Operations.

Since then it’s evolved to refer to Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations.

Now we all know how it is in IT marketing. New buzzwords are used to refresh a category and create excitement. So is AIOps basically just a recycling of the term “IT monitoring”? Are IT monitoring and AIOps basically the same? Twins, so to speak, but with different names?

Here’s the definition for IT Monitoring, courtesy of an internet publication many of you are probably aware of called TechTarget:

  “IT monitoring is the process to gather metrics about the operations of an IT environment’s hardware and software to ensure everything functions as expected to support applications and services.   Basic monitoring is performed through device operation checks, while more advanced monitoring gives granular views on operational statuses, including average response times, number of application instances, error and request rates, CPU usage and application availability.”    

The operative words there are “gather metrics” – “through device operation checks”.

This reflects one of the primary characteristics of IT Monitoring – namely that it’s passive in nature.

And here’s Colin Fletcher’s original definition for AIOps:

“AIOps platforms utilize big data, modern machine learning and other advanced analytics technologies to directly and indirectly enhance IT operations (monitoring, automation and service desk) functions with proactive, personal and dynamic insight. AIOps platforms enable the concurrent use of multiple data sources, data collection methods, analytical (real-time and deep) technologies, and presentation technologies.”

Unlike IT Monitoring, AIOps is proactive and far more sophisticated. So AIOps is a LOT MORE than just IT Monitoring.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “OK, but how can this benefit me?”

As we all know, in today’s Digital Era, most businesses are digital or undergoing a digital transformation, which means that IT systems are replacing many traditional physical business processes, and that in turn means more work for IT Operations.

In fact, IT Operations engineers have become responsible for the customers’ digital experience. When your organization’s systems are misbehaving, underperforming, or worse not working at all, your customers’ satisfaction is affected, which often leads to customer churn.

It’s that simple.

End users often use applications or websites and love how simple and intuitive they can be. In IT though, we all know that building something to look nice and simple, can actually be quite difficult. That’s because there are usually many technologies under the hood that need to work together seamlessly in order for these digital experiences to run smoothly.

As if that wasn’t enough, let’s add some more complexity:

With Cloud Computing on the one hand, and Microservices architectures on the other, things become even more complex, for the following reasons:

  1. Cloud computing means abstraction – that can lead to struggles understanding what the impact of a performance issue on a host will do to other components of your applications.
  2. These environments change dynamically, making it harder to stay on top of everything.
  3. Microservices often require disparate data sources, each generating its own logs and metrics, making tracing and correlation an inherent part of root cause analysis (RCA).

So, the increased complexity of digital businesses architectures, coupled with the explosion of different data types, and the elevated expectations consumers have these days for seamless end user experiences, makes the life of IT Operations teams quite challenging.

Enter AIOps.

AIOps is a set of tools that enable achievement of optimum availability and performance by leveraging machine learning technologies against massive data stores with wide variance. The big idea here is to use machines to deal with machines.

Here are some examples of the challenges customers often look to address by implementing AIOps:

  • Outage prevention – organizations in the process of cloud migration or architecture change, often look for modern technologies like AIOps to help them prevent outages before the business is affected. This is a marked difference from 2 years ago when the market was just focused on noise reduction. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have raised expectations of how much more is possible.
  • Capturing different data feeds – this means it’s not just about alerts anymore. There’s a huge need to consolidate logs, metrics, and events together, and to make sense out of them as a whole.
  • Consolidation of tools – this one is mainly about the workflow of the users. They’d like AIOps to make their daily lives easier and consolidate everything into one system.

A monitoring architecture for modern enterprises that can do all of the above would be a real-life example of a self-healing architecture.

Everything starts with observability. Many enterprises use one or more infrastructure monitoring tools. Application Performance Management (APM) monitors do a great job in monitoring performance, but are very limited for the application stack and log management, rendering them a bit unhelpful for triage and forensic investigations.

These monitoring tools are usually focused on specific data feeds or IT layers, and they emit alerts when things go wrong. However, these can lead to confusing alert storms.

This is another reason why organizations are beginning to leverage AIOps to work for them and make sense out of it all. Think of AIOps as a robot that turns monotonous data into information you cannot ignore. In our case, turning logs into predictions or early stage detection of an outage.

Now that you know something is about to break, can you prevent it from happening? That’s exactly the idea of self-healing. When working with an intelligent automation platform like Ayehu, you can build simple (or complex) remediation workflows, that can take the alert from Loom Systems and automatically remediate the incident BEFORE it becomes something more calamitous.

In your monitoring architecture, you want the Automation tool to seamlessly interact with both the AIOps solution and your ITSM platform, to open a ticket and update it as you’re taking remedial action.

When configured properly, this architecture can resolve issues before they affect the business, while also documenting what happened for future reference.

Gartner concurs with this approach.

In a paper published earlier this year (ID G00384249 – April 24, 2019), they wrote that:

  “AI technologies play an important role in I andO, providing benefits such as reduced mean time to response (MTTR), faster root cause analysis (RCA) and increased I andO productivity. AI technologies enable I andO teams to minimize low-value repetitive tasks and engage in higher-productivity/value-oriented actions.”    

No ambiguity there.

A little further down in the same paper, Gartner gave the following recommended actions, representing their most current advice to infrastructure and operations leaders regarding AIOps and automation:

  Embark on a journey toward driving intelligent automation. This involves managing and driving AI capabilities that are embedded by infrastructure vendors, in addition to reusing artificial intelligence for operations (AIOps) capabilities to drive end-to-end (from digital product to infrastructure) automation.”    

With AIOps + Automation, it’s possible to predict and prevent network outages or other major disruptions by proactively detecting the conditions leading up to them and automatically remediating them BEFORE disaster strikes. Given how costly a service interruption can be to an enterprise, avoiding issues before they happen will be a critical function in the self-healing data center of tomorrow.

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Ayehu Announces Availability of NG Intelligent IT Automation Platform Version 1.5

Latest AI-Powered Platform Enhances Productivity and Flexibility with New Activity Designer and GitHub Community Repository

San Jose, CA –- October 16, 2019 Ayehu, a leader in intelligent automation, has announced the availability of its Next Generation (NG) IT Automation and Orchestration Platform, Version 1.5. The new release provides IT and security operations teams with new features that give users more control and flexibility, driving increased productivity.

“As corporations are facing enormous digital challenges, CIOs are being required to do more with less,” said Yaron Levy, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Ayehu. “The NG platform automates the increasing influx of system alerts and incidents and can also potentially take care of all Level 1 help desk requests. Our latest version gives users more options to access, create and customize the workflows they need to automate. This accelerates results and maximizes the value of automation.”

Ayehu’s scalable NG platform delivers automated workflows that help enterprises save significant time on manual and repetitive tasks and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure.

By acting as a centralized hub that intelligently automates IT service management, cyber security, monitoring and messaging, and virtual support agent workflows, the AI-powered platform reduces mean-time-to-resolution by up to 90%. And as the backbone for intelligent virtual support agents and chatbots, Ayehu helps IT leaders embrace the future of work. The easily adoptable solution communicates and resolves tickets, issues and requests automatically. This greatly reduces, and in some cases even eliminates the L1 and L2 support demands.

The latest version includes the following productivity and flexibility enhancements:

  • Activity Designer – A new feature designed to give users the option to build their own activities as an extension of the library of more than 500 no-code, pre-built activities provided by Ayehu. Customers can now independently develop or modify existing activities in Python, C# or .net to extract further value through customization that meets specific needs.
  • GitHub Community Repository – A new community hub that contains more than 100 of Ayehu’s workflow templates, as well as source code for built-in activities. Customers can use this in conjunction with the Activity Designer to create custom activities based on existing pre-built workflows. The GitHub Community Repository also provides free access to useful peer-developed workflow templates and activities in Ayehu NG Workflow and Activities which have already been created and contributed to the community. 
  • Activity Designer Training – Two new Ayehu Automation Academy courses, Activity Designer Essentials and Advanced Activity Designer, train and certify developers in creating new activities using the Activity Designer. Certified Activity Designers can enhance their organization’s automation capabilities or develop new income opportunities for themselves by delivering high-quality activities for third parties. The Academy has already certified nearly 1,000 IT automation engineers since its inception earlier this year.

“Intelligent automation is a necessary force multiplier for CIOs and IT leaders who want to create successful self-driving organizations, achieve operational efficiency and improve employee experience with IT,” added Gabby Nizri, co-founder and CEO, Ayehu. “It is our mission to provide the technology, tools and resources that help them turn understaffed, strapped IT and security departments into happier, more efficient and productive teams.”

To learn more about the Ayehu Next Generation Automation and Orchestration Platform Version 1.5 visit: https://ayehu.com/ayehu-it-automation-orchestration-platform-powered-by-ai/

About Ayehu

Ayehu’s AI-powered automation and orchestration platform is a force multiplier for IT and security operations, helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure. Trusted by more than 200 major enterprises and leading technology solution and service partners, Ayehu supports thousands of automated processes across the globe. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com and the company blog.  Follow Ayehu on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The changing role of CIO and intelligent automation’s impact.

With the ever-increasing volume and complexity of data coming in (thanks in large part to trends like the IoT, BYOD and, of course, Big Data), the role of the CIO has also begun to rapidly evolve over the past decade or so. These individuals are now facing pressures to keep infrastructure updated as well as analyze and leverage the data available to them for the benefit of the organization, and all while keeping costs down and internal networks, systems, applications and information secure. This is no easy feat, but thanks to intelligent automation, it is entirely achievable.

Due to the heavy volume of data being shared today, integrating automated workflows and processes has become increasingly necessary in order to analyze and derive value from that data, and in a way that is as cost-effective as possible. If IT departments are to remain relevant, drive efficiency and support a profitable operation, it is imperative that they employ the use of intelligent automation, and with the CIO as the key decision maker, it’s up to him or her to ensure that the right resources are in place.

As recently as just a few short years ago, the general public was becoming aware of the IoT, but today organizations of every size and industry are capturing insight and achieving real, sustainable ROI from this advanced (and ever-evolving) technology. Furthermore, intelligent automation is virtually revolutionizing everything from the SOC and NOC to the service desk and data center. Intuitive technology and artificial intelligence are being utilized to proactively monitor systems and devices, gather and evaluate complex data, remediate incidents and resolve issues – in many cases before any human worker is even made aware.

As a result of all of these changes, more basic requests, like password resets and system refreshes, which used to be handled almost exclusively by L1 support professionals are now being shifted to intelligent automation technology. Self-service chatbots are empowering the end-user like never before while simultaneously alleviating IT personnel of the heavy burden associated with these routine, repetitive (but necessary) tasks.

Of course, this hasn’t necessarily made life perfect for IT professionals. Increased consumerization of IT has resulted in the services of many IT departments being compared and contrasted against that of external service providers. Expectations of faster service and the demand to take on more while also minimizing costs as much as possible continue to rise, subsequently increasing the pressures on top IT personnel. Perhaps no one is feeling the pressures of these demands more than the CIO. Embracing intelligent automation is no longer an option, but a critical requirement.

At the same time, the IT world is witnessing a significant change in responsibilities for the CIO, shifting from the old way of the maintenance and provision of physical infrastructure and devices to more of a data management role with an emphasis on innovating and creating value. Digitalization is now the focus, with CIOs playing a lead role in developing and implementing it throughout the entire enterprise. Paradoxically, these high-level IT professionals are being forced to orient and align themselves more with value creation than the efficiency that once defined them.

Data analytics is now being hailed as one of the primary contributors to driving this value, particularly given the ever-increasing pool of available information. It’s important to point out, however, that CIOs and other top IT managers must take the time necessary to understand what data is available to them, what that data equates to and, most importantly, how they can best leverage that information to improve operations across all functions of the organization. Savvy CIOs will leverage intelligent automation to obtain key insights that will support current and future business goals as well as identify new insight and make data-driven decisions that will give the company competitive advantage.

Finally, the evolving role of the CIO will involve more engagement, inspiration and education of others than ever before. To fulfill these duties, it’s absolutely essential that the CIO develops into a strong visionary and consistent innovator for the organization. Through better data analysis and the more widespread use of intelligent automation, those in this important role will begin to morph into the position of strategic advisor, driving the business onward and upward toward increasing and sustainable success well into the future.

Are you a CIO that is struggling to adapt to your changing role? Intelligent automation, powered by AI and machine learning, could provide the foundation upon which you can continue to build your career and your legacy.

Experience the power of Next-Gen Intelligent Automation today!

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