The Impact of AIOps on the Future of Work

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the past several months, it’s that flexibility and the ability to adapt are the key to success. With the sudden and rather unexpected shift to remote work, many organizations have quickly discovered the need for a new approach to IT management. AI for IT operations (AIOps) has the potential to become the golden ticket for improving efficiency and creating a collaborative, supportive and secure environment for distributed workforces.

Bigger companies who have opted to spread their workforces across multiple satellite locations stand to benefit greatly from AIOps. In fact, with intelligent tooling, organizations with 50, 75 or even 100 remote offices are capable of operating cohesively. As the number of offices scales up, AIOps becomes even more critical. One area where it is of particular value is in automated remediation. Ideally, the goal is to have technology do the heavy lifting, with the ability to pinpoint when and where something has gone awry and preemptively correct it.

From a productivity standpoint, AIOps helps, both in terms of IT management, as well as helping remote employees stay on top of monitoring activity and environmental changes. With machine learning and artificial intelligence at the helm, human effort is reduced tremendously. Given the recent – and likely permanent – shift to satellite and remote operations, it’s becoming abundantly clear that AIOps is the approach of the future.

This isn’t to say AIOps is infallible. There is still a margin of error to account for. This is good news for humans, as this is where creating a hybrid approach that has people and robots working together comes into play. Where AIOps can really standout is in its capability of identifying subtle transient issues that might not otherwise trigger a ticket or catch the attention of the support desk.

A good example of this would be changes in latency that only occur for mere seconds. Independently, these subtle problems may otherwise go undetected, or may not seem significant enough to warrant attention. But, when viewed collectively as a trend, AIOps could potentially identify the changes as something that could eventually cause more significant and widespread issues.

Another area where AIOps can help is by prequalifying remote employees for the applications they run and the quality of their network connection. Workloads can then be automatically shifted and optimally distributed based on these pre-qualifiers. Furthermore, AIOps technology can limit event volumes, predict future outages, and leverage intelligent automation to reduce downtime and alleviate staff workload.

The most exciting part of all of this is that, for all intents and purposes, AIOps is still really only in its infancy. For those wishing to jump on the AIOps bandwagon, there’s still plenty of room. And we’ve got a quick and easy way for you to get started. Simply click here to launch a free, 30-day trial of Ayehu NG and start putting the power of AIOps to work for your organization.

What’s New in Ayehu NG 1.8: Self-Service

Author: Guy Nadivi

The latest release of Ayehu NG has some critical and advanced new features, most notably a new and improved self-service capability, that allows end users to fulfill service requests and even remediate incidents themselves.

Self-service is becoming a huge imperative for IT. Why is that?

According to Gartner, it’s very simple.

“Business consumers are comparing their enterprise IT self-service experience with their consumer experience, driven by companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple, eBay and UPS. I&O leaders should do the same.” (emphasis mine)

Source: Gartner ID G00340706 | Published October 4, 2017 | Refreshed September 24, 2020

In other words, the bar is being set by other companies that everyone, including your organization’s users, are interacting with every day. They’re seeing how well self-service works OUTSIDE your enterprise, and it’s driving their expectations of how well self-service should work INSIDE your enterprise.

When most people think about self-service in an enterprise environment, they increasingly think about chatbots as the delivery channel. I’m talking of course about chatbots like Teams, which as everyone knows is published by Microsoft, or Slack which is increasingly being more tightly integrated with Google.

Just to be clear though, Microsoft OWNS Teams, but Google DOES NOT own Slack. At least not yet, anyways.

So these two have emerged as the primary interfaces for a lot of enterprise self-service apps over the last few years.

The reason why Teams and Slack dominate this market is pretty obviuos – daily active users. Teams has 75 million and Slack has 12 million.

These are the most recent official numbers, but they’re from earlier this year. The current number of daily active users is almost certainly much higher.

Interestingly though, despite Teams having more than 6 times as many users as Slack, Slack actually has 28% more subscribing organizations than Teams – 640 thousand compared to 500 thousand.

Again, these are the most recent official numbers, and everyone is eagerly awaiting updates from both Microsoft and Slack to get a better idea of how they’re currently splitting market share.

Despite these huge usage numbers though, it turns out that chatbots as a self-service delivery channel are not for everybody. They’re definitely not a “one size fits all” solution.

There are a few specific reasons why.

One big reason is simply that user expectations aren’t being met. The chatbot may not have the conversational sophistication users are looking for, or it’s not providing the answer a user was hoping to get.

The reason for that might be a lack of training data. Many chatbots are driven by AI and machine learning, which require lots and lots of training data in order to begin displaying some intelligence. Depending on the use case being addressed, the chatbot may not have enough training data available for it to satisfy the machine learning requirements.

Of course, a lack of training data is really just part of the broader category of a lack of resources. Chatbots are not a one-and-done type of initiative. They need to be updated, fine-tuned, and generally maintained throughout their lifespan. However, a lot of organizations don’t have the resources for that, so a chatbot may not be for them.

Finally, there’s the ever-present issue of cost. Chatbots are not necessarily cheap to deploy, especially if you want to do it right with AI and automation, and that may put it out of budget range for many organizations, especially SMB’s.

If you’re an enterprise IT decision maker, what do you do?

You know you want self-service because it reduces costs. Also, many of your users are eager for a way to avoid submitting tickets to the help desk and then wait until they’re fulfilled. This is especially true if they’re part of a younger demographic, and already expect to be able to fulfill their own requests or even remediate their own incidents.

Yet at the same time, you feel chatbots are not right for your organization.

Ayehu NG can help, by providing a chatbot alternative through its automation platform.

We do that in this newest release, v1.8, by simply adding a little more functionality to enable creation of self-service forms that end users can interface with to fulfill their own requests or remediate their own incidents. The self-service form is actually a natural extension of what we already do, automate routine IT tasks, and it will allow you to deflect a large amount of ticket volume from your help desk.

In fact, when deployed, we’ve seen self-service significantly increase first contact resolution rates by as much as 65%!

What are some use cases you can apply this dynamic self-service capability to? There are too many to list, and in addition to the universal ones, there are probably quite a few use cases unique to your organization that would make great candidates for self-service.

However, thanks to Gartner, we can categorize just about all self-service use cases into one of 5 buckets:

  • How-to: These are simply inquiries about how to accomplish, access, or operate IT resources.
  • Password reset: There are estimates that this task alone can account for as much as 40% of a help desk’s ticket volume.
  • Break/fix: If a user can’t access or operate an IT resource, give them the ability to fix it themselves.
  • Service request: These can include things like asking for a new laptop or provisioning a VM.
  • Requests for status updates: Responding to user requests for status updates on any of the above is probably one of the bigger annoyances for help desks. With self-service, a user can look that up themselves, and the help desk won’t need to be bothered.

One last thought.

Once you create a self-service channel for your end users, you often need to incentivize them to use it so it can fulfill all the lofty ROI projections that were used to justify deploying it.

The good news is, that’s relatively easy to do by simply ensuring that better outcomes are available to them via self-service as opposed to calling the help desk.

For example, let’s say a user wants to provision a VM.

Just institute a policy that if they provision it by requesting the help desk to do it, they’re only eligible to be allocated 8Gb RAM for their VM.

However, if they provision the VM via self-service, they can allocate themselves as much as 12Gb of RAM.

This is a simple, straightforward way of accelerating user adoption of self-service at your enterprise.

If you’re interested in test driving Ayehu NG and seeing for yourself how much value self-service can add to your environment, please visit our website and click here to download your very own free 30-day trial version today.

Tired of Turnover? 7 Tips to Keep Your IT Team Intact

7 Tips to Keep Your IT Team Intact

In the IT realm, attracting top talent is only half the battle. It’s keeping them that’s the real challenge. And with an average employee tenure of only about 3 years, it’s a serious concern for many organizations across the globe. Add in the complex, fast paced and highly stressful role of IT and you’ve got quite the conundrum. So, what’s the secret? How can you keep your talented employees on for the long haul? Here are 7 tips to point you in the right direction.

Challenge them. The last thing you want is for your IT personnel to become bored and stagnant in their current positions. Avoid this by investing in ongoing training, setting up mentoring programs, and offering opportunities to master new skills and technologies. The more you keep your IT employees engaged and involved, the less likely they’ll be to look elsewhere.

Cross-train and rotate. Being stuck on the same project day in and day out can lead to fatigue and frustration. Consider rotating employees onto various IT projects so that they don’t feel trapped. This will provide exposure to and the opportunity to learn about new skills and also open up the door to be able to approach long-term projects from differing perspectives – all of which can benefit your organization.

Arm them with what they need. These days, keeping up with the onslaught of incoming IT requests is nothing short of exhausting. Don’t leave your tech team out to dry by making them handle this monumental task manually. Arm them with the technology they need to do their jobs better, faster, more efficiently and more effectively, such as intelligent process automation.

Allow and encourage them to vent. Without question, the job of keeping an entire organization safe from the potentially devastating financial and reputational damage a successful cyber breach can have is incredibly stressful. Additionally, IT personal often feel tense due to the amount of classified and confidential information they are entrusted with. Provide an opportunity and a secure avenue for these employees to vent their feelings.

Mandate time off. Everybody needs a little down time, but given the fast-paced and highly stressful field of IT, these employees could probably use some time off more than anyone else in your organization. This is where technology can help. By automating a good portion of tasks and leveraging the cloud to embrace more flexibility, your team can take the much needed time off they deserve without the company feeling any negative impact.

Use realistic metrics to measure success. One of the biggest reasons IT professionals find themselves dissatisfied at work is because they feel they aren’t being adequately recognized. This is often due to a lack of clear and specific metrics for success. Management should set realistic expectations, communicate openly and routinely measure progress. Good work should be rewarded and areas of potential improvement identified and addressed in a positive, productive way.

Empower them. If your employees feel that their only option is to come in every day and put in 10-12 hours of labor, they’re not going to develop any kind of connection or loyalty to your organization. On the other hand, if they know that the work they do plays a direct role in the “big picture” and that their achievements are tied into the company’s overall success, they’ll be much more plugged in, which means they’re more likely to stay on for the long haul. Empower them by inviting ideas and encouraging autonomy.

Are you doing enough to keep your IT team satisfied, engaged and plugged in? If not, you could be facing higher turnover, which can negatively impact your company’s bottom line and also leave you more vulnerable. By implementing the above tips, you’ll create a more positive work environment that fosters longevity. Happy employees will work harder to ensure that your organization remains strong, secure and successful.

Free Ebook: 10 time-consuming IT tasks you should automate!

Separating Fact from Fiction: 5 Biggest AI Myths Debunked

There’s a ton of hype surrounding the topic of artificial intelligence, and unfortunately, where there’s hype, there’s also usually a good amount of misinformation. Sadly, many of the mistruths being perpetuated are causing undue fear and trepidation. The good news is, these myths and misconceptions about AI can easily be debunked. Let’s tackle a few of the more common ones below.

Myth #1 – AI is going to eliminate the need for humans in the workplace.

This is, by far, the biggest fear around artificial intelligence, and thankfully, it’s mostly false. Yes, AI is going to automate mundane, boring and repetitive tasks. Yes, intelligent automation is even capable of taking on complex and multifaceted processes and workflows. But the reality is, for every job AI replaces, several more will be created in its place. After all, someone’s got to manage and oversee all that advanced technology, right?

(Note: if you’re a worker who is concerned about how AI will impact you, our free Automation Academy is a great way to shore up your skills and future-proof your career.)

Myth #2 – AI is smarter than people.

Another frightening idea that’s being perpetuated is that artificial intelligence is somehow capable of outsmarting its human counterparts. This is simply not true. In fact, AI is really only as smart as you program it to be. You see, intelligent automation requires data. And not just any data, either. It requires a steady stream of high-quality, relevant information. As long as you provide this, the outcome will be successful. But don’t worry. Robots are not about to go rogue and take over the workplace autonomously. That’s the stuff of science fiction.

Myth #3 – AI is nice to have, but not really a necessity.

Perhaps this was true a few years ago, but today, organizations that are not prioritizing a plan for artificial intelligence will undoubtedly find themselves behind the curve before they even realize it. In fact, experts predict that over the next decade, there will be no company or industry that isn’t touched by AI in some way. The fact is, AI and intelligent automation make it much easier to innovate, scale and quickly pivot based on market changes. Failing to have a strategy in place is a risky proposition, especially since your competition likely does.

Myth #4 – There’s no way to know what AI is up to, and therefore, it’s impossible to trust.

When the concept of AIOps was first introduced, admittedly there was a sense of ambiguity surrounding it. For early adopters, it was this mysterious system that somehow produced results without providing any real insight as to what its underlying algorithms were doing and why. As time passed, however, these solutions have matured and become much more transparent. In fact, AIOps platforms like Ayehu place a significant emphasis on providing insight and maximum visibility. The result is a solution users can easily understand and – more importantly – trust.  

Myth #5 – As long as I test well, my AI project will be successful.

All AI initiatives should start with test projects. But it’s important to recognize that just because the results are great during the testing phase, doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way once you deploy AI into production. Remember that point we made above about the importance of quality data. The truth is, real world data changes often, and sometimes at a breakneck speed. If your AI and machine learning models aren’t being continuously fed up-to-date and accurate information, your accuracy level will begin to decline. The key to consistent, sustainable success with AI is ensuring that your training data is the same as your production data.

Have you fallen victim to one or more of the above AI myths or misconceptions? It’s never too late to learn the truth and course-correct. Get started with intelligent automation, powered by AI and machine learning, by downloading your free 30-day trial of Ayehu today.

How Intelligent Process Automation Can Help You Scale at a Moment’s Notice

Imagine how much your organization could accomplish if you had an army of employees at your disposal. More importantly, what if these employees were perfectly happy waiting in the background for the next time you needed them? That’s essentially what you’ll get with intelligent process automation. Let’s take a look at the surprising way AI can provide your business with the scalability you need to stay on top of your game.

Instant Access

With human workers, it’s not feasible to drastically increase your workforce whenever the need arises, nor is it easy to decrease your numbers when things get slow. There’s a complicated process behind all of this and time is not on your side. With intelligent process automation, however, you have a team of AI-powered robots who are ready, willing and able to get the job done at the flip of a switch.

Consistency

Bringing different employees up to speed via on-boarding and training can be challenging and time-consuming, especially in today’s fast-paced, digital age. Not to mention the fact that you have to initiate the entire process over again every time someone new joins the team. Intelligent robots, on the other hand, can be “trained” in groups of any size with the outcome being routine and perfect consistency across the board.

Cost Savings

Recruiting, hiring, training and retaining talented employees costs money. In addition to intelligent automation providing the ability to scale up or scale down instantly as well as train and deploy thousands of bots while maintaining complete consistency, all of this can be done at a reduced cost to the business.

Now, let’s take a look at a few real-world applications that put these benefits into action.

Scenario 1

Your business is launching a new product or service and, as a result, will incur a substantial increase in transactions. Your current workforce is already maxed out and you don’t have the time or the ability to hire any additional employees. Intelligent process automation can step in and bridge the gap, handling the influx of work at any capacity necessary without the major hassle and expense of staffing. Then, once things settle down, you can scale back down to normal as needed.

Scenario 2

Business has been particularly lucrative as of late and you’ve had to increase output significantly to meet the increased demands of your customers. Suddenly, the market takes a turn for the worse and your numbers start to rapidly decline. With intelligent process automation in place, you won’t have to face the possibility of laying employees off. Rather, you could just scale back the number of robots you’re deploying.

Scenario 3

One of your biggest competitors has launched a new product or service and you’re scrambling to develop and implement something similar. Chances are you can’t afford to hire a slew of new employees to help bring your comparable product or service to market. Besides, doing so would take too long. But, putting too much pressure on existing team members could result in costly mistakes and QA issues. Intelligent process automation, on the other hand, is available at the ready to take on whatever is necessary for you to remain competitive.

Without question, intelligent process automation has the potential to bring your business to the next level. Are you ready? Give us a call today or download your free 30 trial now to get started.

Read this before installing that free automation tool…

Who doesn’t love getting something for nothing – especially when you’re working with a limited budget and have to find creative ways to keep your business running efficiently, such as with intelligent automation tools, without breaking the bank? While some of the products out there that are being offered for free are great, and can serve a purpose for your business, some of aren’t quite so beneficial after all. In fact, turning to the wrong type of “freebie” can actually end up costing you more money in the long run. Here’s how.

First of all, free products typically focus on providing a single-use solution. In other words, they’re designed to address one or maybe two problems that you or your team may be facing, but they aren’t all-encompassing. This is all fine and good until you step back and realize you’ve got a dozen different tools running at the same time, and none of them are actually working together. In some cases, they may even be working against each other. The result of this fragmented approach is decreased efficiency and increased chance of error, both of which can be costly to your business.

Secondly, free products are not usually designed to support a long term strategy, but rather to fix a present need. Any successful business person knows that in order to continue to be profitable, there must be a strategy in place that will account for both the present and the future. Without an effective long term plan, you’ll only be able to realize short term goals, and you may find your tools falling short over time. Intelligent automation tools that you invest in, on the other hand, are much more robust and can be figured into the big picture and help you achieve long term goals.

Another way that free intelligent automation products may end up costing you in the long run is that they typically lack real substance. When they’re built to be free, they’re usually missing several key components that could really take your business to the next level. This means your automation won’t be running on all cylinders and will ultimately fall short. As a result, you may find yourself with no other choice but to purchase the full product in the end, just to avoid having to start over again. Then, if the full version isn’t much better than the free one, you’ve wasted valuable money that could have been spent on a better product.

Finally, there’s the age-old theory that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re going to place your trust in a free product, you’d better make sure you understand the motive behind the giveaway. These businesses are in it to make money too, and giving everything away isn’t going to do them any good….unless they can somehow rope you in via their free product to have to pay for other things, such as ongoing support or add-ons. Before you know it, that “free” tool has suddenly cost you more than it would have to simply purchase a quality product outright.

In short, while availing yourself of free products may seem to make smart business sense on the surface, in the long run it may end up costing you more. Do you really want to take chances on a half-rate product that could end up doing the exact opposite of what it was designed for by actually costing money and hindering productivity and efficiency? The wisest choice, at least when it comes to intelligent automation, is to do your homework and select a quality tool that isn’t free, but will produce the benefits your business needs over the long haul.

At Ayehu, we don’t offer a free version. We do, however, allow users to try our fully functioning platform with 100% of our features, completely free for 30 full days. Experience intelligent automation powered by AI and see for yourself what an investment in technology can do for your business. You won’t be disappointed!