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And the Employee of the Year Award goes to: A robot?

Imagine: you’re in the annual company meeting and the CEO announces who has been the busiest, most productive employee over the past 12 months. Now, imagine if he completes that statement not with the name of you or any of your co-workers, but instead points to your intelligent automation platform. In other words, a robot.

Can a robot really take the place as employee of the year? The answer is an emphatic yes. Here’s why.

It’s no secret that the IT department is continually being asked to do more with less. In other words, be as productive and efficient as possible while simultaneously limiting the amount of resources being used to do so. As a result, IT leaders have to find a way to maximize output while also minimizing the time and costs associated with producing that output. With humans, this simply isn’t possible without either extending the hours worked or hiring additional staff, neither of which will achieve the goal of keeping expenditures down.

Another area of pressure IT leaders experience is that of user satisfaction. Internal service levels and external customer expectations are increasing at a rapid rate, and if you can’t meet those demands effectively, you will lose your competitive advantage. In other words, your bottom line will suffer. Yet again, in order for human agents to achieve these goals is to either work more or hire additional team members.

Enter intelligent automation, or a team of artificially intelligent robots who can basically take on all the time consuming day to day tasks that the help desk currently handles. Whether it’s password resets, system monitoring, incident management or some other complex workflow, intelligent automation can be leveraged for it all. As a result, the work will be completed faster, with fewer mistakes, driving productivity and efficiency up while also bringing costs down.

Many IT professionals erroneously view these robots as a threat to their very livelihood. After all, if a machine can be used to do all these tasks, what’s the point of keeping humans on staff? Why not automate the entire operation? Well, for starters, many automated processes still require some type of human input.

Secondly, while intelligent automation may take some of the work away from humans, it will inevitably free those humans up to apply their skills to more complex and important business matters. So, it’s not a replacement, but rather a shift in responsibility. Furthermore, experts predict that AI will actually create 58 million new jobs by 2020. As such, it should be embraced rather than feared.

So, when the big boss stands up and hails automation as the company’s busiest employee, that doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for the people who work there. As long as the technology is leveraged properly and viewed as the powerful and innovative tool it truly is, its role as employee of the year is something that will drive the ongoing success of the organization and make the lives of human workers easier and/or more meaningful.

Give the employee of the year a test drive in your own company and experience the power and impact of intelligent automation for yourself by starting your free 30-day trial of Ayehu.

How to Automate Incident Response for Splunk Alerts in Minutes

Let’s talk about Splunk, a market leader in the Security Event Information Management (SEIM) market. BTW – You can always tell who the market leader is in any category when its competition starts touting itself as the ones who will eradicate that company. Recently, one of Splunk’s competitors described themselves as “Splunk Killers”, reaffirming that Splunk is indeed at the head of its class in that segment.

In Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for the SIEM market, Splunk appears higher than everyone else and further to the right than anybody but IBM. What this means is they excel above all other competitors on the y-axis of the Magic Quadrant, which is a measurement of “Ability to Execute.” On the x-axis of the Magic Quadrant, which measures “Completeness of Vision,” they exceed almost everyone except IBM.

Score highly on those two measurements, and Gartner considers you a Market Leader.

Market share is another key indicator of market leadership, and here Splunk is ranked No. 2 with 13.7% market share. Only IBM has a larger market share when it comes to SEIM’s.

Thanks to Splunk’s January 31, 2019 Form 10-K filing with the SEC, we also know they have 17,500 customers in more than 130 countries, including 90% of the Fortune 100. Another clear indication that they are a leader in this market.

With a market position like that, it seems worthwhile to talk about how to quickly and easily automate incident remediation for Splunk alerts in minutes.

As many people know, Splunk produces software for capturing, indexing, correlating, searching, monitoring, and analyzing machine-generated big data.

Some sources of that data include logs for Windows events, Web servers, and live applications, as well as network feeds, metrics, change monitoring, message queues, archive files, and so on.

Generally, these data sources can be categorized as:

  • Files and directories
  • Network events
  • Windows sources
  • And the catch-all category of “other sources”

There are a number of outputs and outcomes Splunk generates from this data, including:

  • Analyzing system performance
  • Troubleshooting failure conditions
  • Monitoring business metrics
  • Creating dashboards to visualize and analyze results
  • And of course storing and retrieving data for later use

That’s A LOT of data, and the more systems Splunk monitors, and the more those systems grow, the greater the volume of machine data that gets generated. This is becoming a problem because IT and security operations are getting inundated by all this data, and not just from Splunk, but other systems as well, though Splunk generates a big chunk of this.

Every time there’s an incident, an event, a threshold being crossed, etc. new data is generated, adding to the surge already flooding over IT and Security Operations. And it’s only getting worse.

Ultimately, it’s people who have to deal with all this data, and the problem is, (as we often say) people don’t scale very well.

Even the very best data center workers in NOCs and SOCs can only handle so much. At some point – and that point is pretty much right now – automation has to take on a greater share of the task burden all this growth in data is necessitating.

Why automation? Because people may not scale very well, but automation DOES! And if you’re in one of these overwhelmed data centers, that should be music to your ears.

Here are just a few of the ways automation can bring relief to NOCs and SOCs drowning in Splunk data:

Triggering Workflows

Let’s say there’s been an event detected of a corporate website being hacked and defaced. This event can trigger an automatic workflow that quickly restores a website to its pre-defacement state. In fact, an automation platform like Ayehu can do this MUCH quicker than humans could do manually once they got the alert. Restoring the website automatically and almost instantaneously minimizes the damage to corporate reputation, not to mention the threat to job security because the defacement happened in the first place.

Remediating Incidents

In addition to the example of remediating a website defacement incident, let’s consider a situation where Splunk generates an alert about a specific machine due to some observed suspicious activity. Ayehu can remotely lock it either automatically or at the SOC analyst’s manual command, to mitigate any damage until a hands-on inspection can take place. Furthermore, this automated incident remediation workflow could also include doing things like deactivating that user’s Active Directory credentials, turning off their card key’s ability to swipe in or out of a building, etc.

Data Enrichment

This task is well known to anyone who’s ever had to perform cybersecurity forensics during and after an incident. It involves aggregating all the information a SOC analyst needs to make an informed decision about what’s happening in real-time, or what happened as part of an after-incident evaluation. This can be a laborious manual task, and certainly one that’s difficult to script out.

If your automation platform easily integrates with just about anything in a typical, heterogeneous IT environment, however, then it can gather this critical information very rapidly as well as add more precise context to it about the nature of the incident. This will greatly reduce time-to-decision-making for SOC analysts, which is vital when, for example, you’re watching a ransomware virus swiftly encrypt your enterprise data and you need to decide on a course of action fast.

Opening Tickets

Just about every data center uses an ITSM platform like ServiceNow, JIRA, BMC Remedy, or one of many others. It’s very important to document what steps were taken to remediate an incident or conduct a cybersecurity forensics investigation. SOC analysts are pretty overwhelmed these days, and often don’t have the time to do that. When they do have time, they often don’t document as thoroughly as necessary in order to provide a complete picture of what transpired.

An automation tool like Ayehu can do this much quicker, and in real-time during workflow execution, so everything is properly documented, and nothing slips through the cracks.

Now let’s walk through the flow of events that uses Splunk data and alerts as triggers for actions.

We call this flow a closed-loop, automated incident management process. It starts out with Ayehu NG creating an integration between Splunk and whatever IT Service Management or help desk platform you’re using, be it ServiceNow, JIRA, BMC Remedy, etc.

When Splunk generates an alert or any kind of data you want to act upon, Ayehu intercepts it via the integration point. It will then parse it to determine the underlying incident, and launch the appropriate workflow for that situation, whether it be remediating that specific underlying incident, gathering information for forensic analysis, or whatever.

While this is taking place, Ayehu also automatically creates a ticket in your ITSM, and updates it in real-time by documenting every step of the workflow. Once the workflow is done executing, Ayehu automatically closes the ticket. All of this can occur without any human intervention, or you can choose to keep humans in the loop.

This closed-loop illustration also reveals why we think of Ayehu as a virtual operator, which we sometimes refer to as “Level 0 Tech Support”. Many incidents can simply be resolved automatically by Ayehu without human intervention, and without the need for attention from a Level 1 technician.

Imagine automating manual processes like Capture, Triage, Enrich, Respond, and Communicate. Automating resolution and remediation can result in a pretty significant savings of time, which can be particularly critical for data centers feeling overwhelmed.

Customers tell us over and over that automating the manual, tedious, time-intensive stuff accelerated their incident resolution by 90% or more.

We can also say with confidence that you can automate incident response for Splunk alerts in minutes, because Ayehu’s automation platform is agentless. Being agentless also makes us non-intrusive since we leverage API’s, SSH, and HTTPS behind enterprise firewalls under that organization’s security policy to perform automation. The only software to install is on a server, either physical or virtual, which centralizes management and greatly simplifies maintenance and upgrades.

Another reason it only takes minutes to automate incident response for Splunk alerts is because the Ayehu automation platform is codeless. This is something really important to consider because while there are many vendors out there touting their platforms as “automation”, the fact remains that they’re really just frameworks for scripting, and we steadfastly believe that scripting IS NOT automation.

For starters, in order to script you need to have programming expertise. With a true automation tool, however, you shouldn’t need to have any programming expertise. In fact, the automation platform should be so easy to use, even a junior SysAdmin with zero programming expertise should be able to master it in less than a day. Why is that so important? Because one of the promises of true automation is that you don’t have to rely on specialized talent to orchestrate activities in your environment. Requiring specialized programmers would be a bottle-neck to that goal.

Finally, the Ayehu automation platform includes AI and Machine Learning built into the product.

The first thing you should know about Ayehu’s AI and Machine Learning efforts is that we’re partnered with SRI International (SRI), formerly known as the Stanford Research Institute. For those not familiar, SRI does high-level research for government agencies, commercial organizations, and private foundations. They also license their technologies, form strategic partnerships (like the one they have with us), and create spin-off companies. They’ve received more than 4,000 patents and patent applications worldwide to date. SRI is our design partner, and they’ve designed the algorithms and other elements of our AI/ML functionality. What they’ve done so far is pretty cool, but what we’re working on going forward is really exciting.

Questions and Answers

Q:          What are the pros and cons of using general purpose bot engines compared to your solution?

A:           General purpose bot engines won’t actually perform the actions on your infrastructure, devices, monitoring tools, business applications, etc. All they can really do is ingest a request. By contrast, Ayehu not only ingests requests, but actually executes the necessary actions needed to fulfill those requests. This adds a virtual operator to your environment that’s available 24x7x365. Additionally, Ayehu is a vendor-agnostic tool that interfaces with MS-Teams, Skype, etc. to provide these general purpose chat tools with intelligent automation capabilities.

Q:          Do you have an on-premise solution?

A:           Yes. Ayehu can be installed on-premise, on a public or private cloud, or in a hybrid combination of all three.

Q:          Do you have voice integration?

A:           Ayehu integrates with Amazon Alexa, and now also offers Angie™, a voice-enabled Intelligent Virtual Support Agent for IT Service Desks.

Q:          If a user selects a wrong choice (clicks the wrong button) how does he or she fix it?

A:           It depends on how the workflow is designed. Breakpoints can be inserted in the workflow to ask the endpoint user to confirm their button selection, or go back to reselect. Ayehu also offers error-handling mechanisms within the workflow itself.

Q:          Does Ayehu provide orchestration capabilities or do you rely on a 3rd party orchestration tool?

A:           Ayehu IS an enterprise-grade orchestration tool, offering over 500 pre-built platform-specific activities that allow you to orchestrate multi-platform workflows from a single pane of glass.

Q:          Can you explain in a bit more detail on intent-based interactions?

A:           Intent is just that, what the user’s intent is when interacting with the Virtual Support Agent (VSA). For example, if a user types “Change my password”, the intent could be categorized as “Password Reset”. That would then trigger the “Password Reset” workflow.

Q:          Thanks for the information so far, great content! I would like to know if I can use machine learning from an external source, train my model, and let Ayehu query my external source for additional information?

A:           Yes. Ayehu can integrate with any external source or application, especially when it has an API for us to interface with.

Q:          Can I create new automations to my inhouse applications?

A:           Yes. Ayehu can integrate with any application bi-directionally. Once integrated with your inhouse applications, Ayehu can execute automated actions upon them.

Q:          Is there an auto form-filling feature? (which can fill in a form in an existing web application)

A:           Yes. Ayehu provides a self-service capability that will allow this.

Q:          How can I improve or check how my workflows are working and helping my employees to resolve their issues?

A:           Ayehu provides an audit trail and reporting that provides visibility into workflow performance. Additionally, reports are available on time saved, ROI, MTTR, etc. that can quantify the benefits of those workflows.

Q:          What happens when your VSA cannot help the end user?

A:           The workflow behind the VSA can be configured to escalate to a live support agent.

Q:          If there is a long list of choices – what options do you have? Dropdown?

A:           In addition to the buttons, dropdowns will be provided soon in Slack as well.

Q:          Did I understand correctly, an admin will need to create the questions and button responses? If so, is this a scripted Virtual Agent to manage routine questions?

A:           Ayehu is scriptless and codeless. The workflow behind the VSA is configured to mimic the actions of a live support agent, which requires you to pre-configure the questions and expected answers in a deterministic manner.

Q:          Is NLP/NLU dependent on IBM Watson to understand intent?

A:           Yes, and soon Ayehu will be providing its own NLP/NLU services.

Q:          Are you using machine learning for creating the conversations? Or do I have to use intents and entities along with the dialogs?

A:           Yes, you currently have to use intents and entities, but our road map includes using machine learning to provide suggestions that will improve the dialogs.

Q:          What are the other platforms that I can deploy the VSA apart from Slack?

A:           Microsoft Teams, Amazon Alexa, ServiceNow ConnectNow, LogMeIn, and any other chatbot using APIs.

This is a recap of a live Webinar we hosted in May 2019. To watch the on-demand recording and see this content in action, please click here.

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How to Achieve Quick ROI for your Intelligent Automation Project

The most important component of any business decision, particularly in terms of IT, is being able to measure the results as quickly as possible. Ongoing success depends heavily on whether or not the money you’re spending is truly getting you the type of return that warrants continued investment; otherwise you may end up wasting cash and resources. Obviously, the sooner you can identify what is and isn’t working, the better. If you’ve recently launched an intelligent automation project, or are about to do so soon, here are five simple ways you can quickly show results.

Identify quick wins or pain points that can show quick value.

What was it that ultimately drove you to make the decision to adopt intelligent automation for your organization? What pain points were you hoping to address with this technology? Perhaps you identified areas where your team was being bogged down by time-consuming manual tasks, which was killing their productivity. Or maybe you realized that writing scripts was becoming a huge waste of valuable time and resources. Whatever the reasons, when you clearly identify them, you can quickly match the appropriate solution with each one, making it much easier to see the results.

Clearly define your outcomes.

Know ahead of time what your desired outcomes are and how you can anticipate achieving them. Then, calculate the potential savings you will realize by automating these steps. This gives you a clear picture of future savings and ROI that you can use as a benchmark to measure against as you work further into the process of shifting to automation.

Choose the right tool.

Understand that not all intelligent automation tools are created equal. Be careful and diligent when evaluating your available options and know ahead of time what to look for in a quality automation platform. For instance, some of the criteria you should be using includes determining whether the product is easy to use, modular, offers any type of pre-designed templates, and if so, what kind of customization is available. You should also be particularly aware of the 80/20 rule – that is, avoid tools that require 80% of your time, but that you will only benefit from 20% of the time.

Get the right buy-in and team engaged in the process.

Make sure that you’ve got the right team in place to help see this process through to fruition. Not only do you need buy-in from decision makers and those high level team members that will lead the project, but you’ll also need to ensure that everyone involved remains focused and motivated to achieve the end result. This will help you stick to your timeline for implementation, avoiding costly delays that can affect your overall ROI.

Measure results of this project and identify other areas for expansion.

Intelligent automation isn’t something that only presents solutions for the here and now – it’s a long term solution that can help streamline your operations, improving ongoing efficiency and productivity, and enhancing your bottom line over the long haul. Don’t just focus on the short term benefits. Measure results on a regular basis. This will help you determine your long term ROI as well as identify other areas for expansion that could further benefit your firm.

EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

5 Non-Tech Skills to Look for in an Intelligent Automation Engineer

Everyone talks about the changes in the IT world – the increased complexity, the pressures to improve efficiency, and the need for tighter links between IT and business. But how does this influence your IT personnel and skill set requirements?

It goes without saying that there’s a need for individuals who have backgrounds in areas like data center operations, systems integration, virtualization, etc. Yet the demand for closer links between IT technologists and business operations implies an entirely new set of skills.

Particularly with intelligent automation becoming an essential element, IT engineers need new skills beyond familiarity with technologies. Where past requirements focused solely on technical expertise and you were only looking for scripting wizards and troubleshooting superheroes, today’s IT teams need a much wider set of abilities.

You need intelligent automation engineers who are able to understand the needs and processes of the business, translate those needs into IT activities, and prioritize and implement them in the most efficient, productive way possible. So what are the additional skills an intelligent automation engineer needs? Here are 5 that we believe top the list.

  1. Business perspective. A business/financial state of mind that enables the consideration and application of non-technical data inputs. For instance, figuring out key KPI’s affecting IT projects, measuring return on investment (ROI), and optimizing project implementation to achieve overarching financial goals.
  2. Process analysis. The ability to define and implement processes such as incident management, change management, operations, information security, business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as business service management.
  3. Project management. Skilled project managers who can not only oversee and monitor projects, but also identify business users’ needs and translate them into IT requirements. Intelligent automation engineers that can clearly justify how a business may increase its staff productivity and efficiency using different processes and tools.
  4. Process implementation. The new intelligent automation engineer has to be able to comprehend end-to-end processes, have a deep understanding of workflows and the ability to create them in a dynamically automated environment.
  5. Interpersonal skills. The need for strong communication with business managers requires solid interpersonal skills. This involves the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people outside the IT domain, understanding business peoples’ needs, concerns and different points of view, and that rare ability to negotiate and make compromises on both sides of the aisle.

Of course, not all businesses have the capacity or recruit an intelligent automation engineer. For instance, those organizations operating on leaner staffing budgets or ones that already have large IT teams to tap into may benefit greatly by investing in the reskilling of existing personnel.

Ayehu’s Automation Academy offers expertly developed courses are designed to help IT professionals comprehend and cultivate practical skills through a variety of interactive learning activities. Multiple, flexible training options are available. Give your team the knowledge it needs to turn your organization into a powerful, self-driving enterprise. Click here to get started.

Why “Free” Automation Software Isn’t Really Free

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 full platform 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!

ITOps: Best practices to improve performance and service quality

ITOps best practicesThere’s no doubt about it. Intelligent automation is the biggest driver for increasing the overall performance of ITOps and service quality for businesses today. It allows IT management and personnel to streamline their workflows by automating the time consuming day to day tasks that bog them down, allowing technology to do the heavy lifting so they can focus on more important business-critical issues.

Intelligent automation can be applied to almost any pain point your organization may face, from frequent password resets to service restarts to disk space cleanups and much, much more. The key is to begin with a few small things so that the value can be easily identified and then work up to include more complex projects and workflows to utilize automation to its fullest potential.

Best Practices for Systems and IT Operations Managers:

As with anything else in business, there are certain “best practices” that have been established and should be implemented to achieve optimum results with automation. Here is a brief list of guidelines for system and ITOps managers to follow:

  • Pick one or two pain points with value. What simple processes or small tasks are important to your organization but are bogging your team down? Pick points that you can quickly and easily measure the value of once you’re up and running.
  • Once you’ve got your list of pain points, it’s time to sell the value of your automation project to the key decision makers within the organization. Go over the benefits in detail and be prepared to counter any objections and show evidence of projected ROI (try our free ROI calculator). The more prepared you are ahead of time, the better your chances of winning over the “powers that be”.
  • Carefully evaluate available intelligent automation tools to help you choose the right product and then learn as much as you can about the one you choose so that you can truly convey the benefits that it will have for your business operations.
  • Foster IT automation skills within your team. Make it clear to IT personnel that automation isn’t something to fear. That it’s not there to eliminate their jobs, but rather to make them more efficient and productive, and to provide the opportunity to enhance their skills, become more marketable and achieve more growth in their careers.
  • Encourage communication between IT teams and business people. Devops and automation go hand in hand, with the shared goal of bridging the gap between IT personnel and those on the operational end of the technology. For optimum results, a solid relationship built on trust and open communication should be developed and fostered.
  • Develop key performance indicators and measure results. Once you’re up and running with automation, it’s critical that progress is continuously monitored, measured, analyzed and modified accordingly. Develop a list of which performance indicators are most important to your organization and then measure regularly to ensure optimum results.

In summary, organizations that follow these practices will not only increase agility and reliability, but they will also have a more productive, happier staff. ITOps teams that know how to utilize these tools will have more opportunities for growth, both within the workplace and beyond, as demand for these skills continues to grow.

In the end, it’s a triple win: employees, your business and your customers all benefit in multiple ways through automation. So, the question then becomes not “should you automate”, but rather, “why haven’t you started yet?”

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

The real secret to success for modern businesses

Intelligent automation has become one of the most talked about areas of enterprise technology over the past several years. The virtual workforce which was once just a concept has quickly become an integral component of modern business structure.

The technologies behind intelligent automation – AI and machine learning – have already begun delivering significant returns on investment for forward-thinking organizations that have taken a chance and chosen machine over outsourcing. Instead, those companies that want to remain a step ahead of the competition, operating efficiently and at maximum productivity, have found a way to complement and augment their human workforce with a virtual one.

On the flip side, employees that are wise enough to recognize the value that intelligent automation brings to their lives and to the success of their organization are thriving in this melting pot environment. They are freed up to focus their expertise on more complex and challenging projects while their robotic counterparts handle the day-to-day menial work and repetitive, manual administrative tasks on their behalf.

Widespread adoption of intelligent automation is also bringing to fruition an entire new class of jobs, just as experts predicted it would. Those roles that are being eliminated are making way for newer opportunities to reskill existing workers. After all, someone has to oversee the automation, not to mention identify additional entry points, plan for future deployments, etc. There’s plenty of room for robots and humans to work side by side in the enterprise of the future.

For organizations still on the fence, it’s important to realize that intelligent automation is the fastest and easiest way to digitize, something that’s going to be inevitable for success in tomorrow’s landscape. And automation is no longer something that is simply governed by IT. Today, this technology is capable of assisting with everything from employee onboarding to compliance and cybersecurity. To be fully utilized, automation must be viewed not as software, but as a capability across the entire organization.

Just as the industrial revolution redefined the way businesses operated a hundred years ago, the digital revolution is now upon us, offering a similar transformation. In many ways, this is a defining moment for business leaders and key decision makers. The way humans and technology interact is evolving yet again, facilitating far more than just quick wins, but sustainable and highly scalable success. In some instances, intelligent automation is enabling firms to bring offshore resources back in-house.

The key is striking the right balance between the human and virtual workforce with the goal of maximizing the use of technology while also focusing on retraining and redeployment of human resources. Once that balance is achieved, the sky is the limit for the organization.

If you’d like to see what intelligent automation can do for your business, simply request a free product demo and we’ll show you around! Or better yet, experience it for yourself with a free 30-day trial.

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Smart CIOs know AIOps is the key to maximizing efficiency

In today’s volatile marketplace, businesses in every industry are focusing on cutting costs. Unfortunately, some folks still view IT as an expense and an area in which the metaphorical belt can be tightened. What they don’t realize, and what an increasing number of CIO’s are embracing, is that implementing AIOps can actually result in reduced expenditure overall.

CIO’s that are concentrating on IT as a force of operational automation, integration and control are losing ground to executives who see technology as a business amplifier and a source of innovation. Ongoing advances in technology are now providing forward-thinking CIO’s with a much broader spectrum with which to work in terms of cutting costs across the entire organizational platform.

It has nothing to do with cutting IT capability, but rather finding ways to make IT operations more efficient. This is primarily achieved through intelligent automation, which significantly reduces the time and resources needed to run both routine tasks as well as complex workflows. When these tasks and workflows are automated, IT personnel are freed up to focus on other, more critical matters, thereby improving the overall performance of the department and subsequently the company as a whole.

Another way that CIO’s are leveraging AIOps for the benefit of their organizations is through improvement of incident management and mean time to resolution (MTTR). Critical system errors are costly and can have a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line. AI-powered intelligent automation is allowing businesses to manage incidents and downtime scenarios more efficiently and in a much timelier manner, which means less risk of negative impact, both on the business and on the end user.

AIOps isn’t just becoming a tool for cutting costs, either. It’s also significantly improving business performance, which plays a key role in increasing revenue. According to a recent survey conducted by Gartner, the main focus of CIO’s in the current climate is growth. They want to attract new customers and effectively retain their current ones. Intelligent automation helps to improve service levels, thereby improving the customer experience.

In a time when budgets are at the forefront of every manager’s mind, from the top down to those on the front line, finding areas to improve service and lower expenditure has become a necessity. The concept of AIOps has opened up a number of opportunities for streamlining operations and improving efficiency, which ultimately achieves the goal of reducing costs and boosting enterprise growth. By applying technology as an amplifier to business operations, rather than as simply an individual component, organizations that are embracing artificial intelligence and automation are already reaping the benefits and are poised for ongoing success as we move toward the future.

Ready to join these forward-thinking business leaders? Download your free trial of Ayehu and start building your AIOps strategy today.
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Making the Case for Artificial Intelligence in Your Organization

Recent statistics published in Forbes revealed that while 82% of IT and business decision makers agree that company-wide strategies to invest in AI-driven technologies would offer significant competitive advantages, only 29% said their companies have those strategies in place.

Why such a big divide? In many situations, it’s a simple lack of buy-in. In fact, Forbes Insights research also revealed that while 45% of IT stakeholders express “extreme urgency” regarding the application of AI within their organizations, only 29% see that same sense of urgency among their C-suite. Among the board of directors, that percentage drops down to just 10%.

Leaders who want to reap these benefits and advance AI within their organizations must overcome these odds by making a strong, solid business case around how artificial intelligence will deliver in terms of business benefits, such as operational efficiency, competitive advantage and revenue growth. Here are a few recommendations on how to accomplish this goal.

Illustrate success through real-life case studies.

There’s nothing more powerfully persuasive than a real-life story. C-suite executives and board members don’t want to hear about hypotheticals. They want to see numbers – quantifiable proof of ROI – before they’ll be willing to sign on the dotted line and invest in AI. After all, it’s pretty hard to argue against benefits like lowered costs, improved service levels and other key business advantages.

Demonstrate AI’s decision-making support.

One of the hardest parts of an executive’s job is making critical business decisions. If you can show them how artificial intelligence can address and resolve this major pain point, you’ll make believers out of even the biggest skeptics. Simply put, AI provides the ability to digest, process and analyze data to unlock invaluable insight and boosting confidence through data-driven decision support.

Position AI as the cornerstone to successful digital transformation.

These days, everybody’s talking about digital transformation. In fact, it’s widely believed that moving to digital operations and offering digital services will be absolutely essential in order to remain competitive in the modern economy. If you can position AI as the catalyst for making this happen, you’ll get emphatic yesses across the board. And since analytics is the core to what drives digital experiences, the connection to AI shouldn’t be too difficult.

Link AI with the power to innovate.

40% of IT leaders list driving innovation and implementing new tech as one of their top concerns. In today’s rapidly changing landscape, staying in-step is no longer enough. To remain competitive and achieve sustainable success, organizations must find a way to stay a few steps ahead. Easier said than done? Not when you have artificial intelligence in your corner. AI offers business leaders the opportunity to garner engagement from all levels of the organization, creating a truly collaborative environment where ideation and innovation thrive.

Reinforce the power of AI for optimizing client experience.

In business, you’re only successful if your customers are happy. Leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence can help businesses to become far more responsive to their clients, ultimately delivering a better experience overall. And it’s a win-win, because not only do customers receive a higher level of service, but because AI frees up employees to focus more on high-value initiatives, the organization benefits from greater productivity. Happier clients + more efficiency = a better bottom line.  

It’s important to point out that AI, just as with any technology, shouldn’t just be implemented for the sake of it. It should be leveraged because it’s the best and most effective solution to a specific business problem or opportunity. When presenting your case, be sure to tie the technology and its capabilities directly to these problems and/or opportunities, and demonstrate exactly who will benefit and how. This will make your case far more compelling and improve your chances of success.

Want to really wow those key decision-makers? Download your free trial of Ayehu, and you’ll have a full 30 days to create a use case of your own that will demonstrate quantifiable ROI within your own organization. Click here to get started!

EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

4 steps to minimize MTTR

Any seasoned IT professional will tell you that one of the biggest challenges they face in their day to day job is reducing mean time to resolution (MTTR), or the amount of time it takes to get key systems back up and running after an incident. Down time in any industry can have a significant impact on both internal operations and external service levels. And the longer it takes to get things resolved, the worse the problems can become. Intelligent automation can make minimizing MTTR even easier and more effective.

Managing mean time to resolution involves 4 main steps:

  • Identifying the problem
  • Uncovering the root cause of the problem
  • Correcting the problem
  • Testing to verify that the problem as successfully been resolved

How quickly you can achieve the first step will ultimately depend on the quality of the monitoring system you have in place. Having a basic system can only get you so far and leaves a lot of room for costly error. Depending on how many incoming alerts your organization fields, staying on top of them can be too much for a small IT department. That means serious issues could slip through the cracks and cause major problems down the road. Enhancing your system with intelligent automation can create a highly effective, closed-loop solution, ensuring that all critical incidents requiring attention are prioritized and addressed accordingly.

Once an incident is identified, the next step is determining its root cause. This is the costliest part of the MTTR equation because it takes time, resources and manpower. Obviously, the more serious the issue, the more quickly it needs to be addressed. It may require “all hands on deck” to help uncover the cause so it can be corrected. It’s also important to maintain visibility and accountability at all times throughout the process. Who is handling the problem? What steps have been taken so far to get to the bottom of it? Has anything been missed? Again, automation can address this by providing real-time status of incidents, ownership, severity and priority in one central dashboard.

As soon as the problem has been properly diagnosed, the third step is taking the necessary actions to resolve it as quickly and effectively as possible. With most incidents, time is of the essence, so developing a solution is critical. One of the biggest benefits of integrating intelligent automation into your incident management process is that it can actually predict MTTR based on historic events. This can provide a guideline for the resolution process and alleviate some of the stress that naturally arises during a downtime. The IT team will be able to work quickly and efficiently to implement a solution that will get systems back up and running fast, limiting the negative effects on the company.

The final step in the MTTR process is testing to ensure that the problem is, indeed, resolved. It’s also important to assess each process to identify areas that can be improved. Being proactive and leveraging artificial intelligence can help to determine the best way to deal with similar incidents and can even help to avoid them completely.

In conclusion, managing the mean time to resolution process involves careful monitoring and the right tools, specifically intelligent automation. This can provide the most timely and effective response and a faster overall turnaround, thereby reducing or even eliminating impact on the business.

If your current incident response strategy isn’t producing these results or you’d like to learn more about how IA can dramatically reduce your MTTR, take Ayehu for a test drive or download a free 30 day trial.

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