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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.

What’s new with Ayehu? Overview of Ayehu NG 1.7

Overview of Ayehu NG 1.7
Author: Guy Nadivi

This latest release of Ayehu NG has some critical and advanced new features, most notably the ability to deliver more self-service incident remediation and request fulfillment to end users via our new MS-Teams integration.

Earlier this year, we did a webinar which flashed a graphic from Statista about the number of Microsoft Teams Daily Active Users. The chart’s numbers have been updated, but it’s worth a quick revisit to get a sense of growth for MS-Teams over the last year.

In July of 2019, just a bit over a year ago, Microsoft’s worldwide user count stood at 13 million.

Then by November of last year, they had experienced a little over 50% growth and their user count stood at 20 million.

Between November last year and March 12th of this year, they gained another 12 million users for a worldwide total of 32 million. The critical date to take into account there is on your left, March 10th. That’s when Microsoft began giving away MS-Teams for free in response to the pandemic forcing many people to work from home. A very shrewd move by Microsoft marketing.

Within one week, from March 12th to March 19th, the worldwide number of daily active users for Microsoft Teams exploded from 32 million to 44 million. A mind-boggling increase of 37.5% in just 7 days! Remember, less than a year ago they only had 13 million total.

And then the floodgates burst open. As of April 2020, Microsoft reported having 75 million users worldwide! That’s a 477% growth rate from basically just a year ago, which is literally off the charts.

This graphic illustrates the importance of having connectivity with Microsoft Teams. It’s the chatbot interface of choice for so many enterprises and people around the world, and it’s clearly where the market is going.

It’s also where Ayehu is going, because we always want to be where our customers want to go.

The headline story then for v1.7 of Ayehu NG is our integration with MS-Teams, which allows you to easily provide automation services for MS-Teams users. All 75 million of them.

Ayehu’s integration is immensely useful for end-users who are in a hurry and don’t have time to wait for the Help Desk to remediate their incident or fulfill a request.

It’s great for the Help Desk as well because it redirects calls and tickets away from technicians. This in turn frees up technicians to work on more complex issues, enabling them to add greater value than just fixing L1 incidents.

The MS-Teams integration allows you to architect structured conversations with simple button choices for end users to select from. This makes it very easy for them to do a number of things that previously would have required a technician.

As always, it’s super simple to create automations like these. Just go into Ayehu NG’s Workflow Designer, and look for the MS-Teams activities. Drag and drop the ones you need right into the workflow you’re building, then configure a few parameters. No coding required!

What kinds of specific incidents and fulfillment requests would you use MS-Teams to deflect from your help desk? Here are some sample use cases our clients have told us about:

  • A user can type “I need to reset my Salesforce password”, and MS-Teams integrated with Ayehu NG v1.7 will reset the password for them.
  • A user can report that a specific server is down, and request that it be restarted. Teams and Ayehu take care of the rest.
  • A user can check on the status of a ticket in ServiceNow, or just about any ITSM platform.
  • A user can tell MS-Teams they can’t get into email, and that will trigger the same remediation process usually performed by a technician.
  • A user can ask how much space is left on their hard drive, then request that it be cleaned up, which might include automatically deleting some files, compressing some files, and moving other files somewhere else.
  • A user can also ask about possible malware and inquire if it’s a problem.

These of course, are just examples. The only real limit is your imagination, but the Ayehu integration for MS-Teams stands ready to make whatever kinds of automation you imagine come to life.

Another feature v1.7 delivers is an improvement in the NG to NG Migration function many of you started using immediately when it first debuted with v1.6.

In v1.7 this NG to NG Migration has been improved to accommodate those times when you’ve already migrated a workflow from your dev or test environment to your production environment once, and now want to do it again without duplicating the production workflow.

We accomplish this by introducing the Migration Overwrite function. During the migration process, if an existing workflow is identified by an identical name, you will now be presented with an option to overwrite the existing workflow with the incoming workflow. This will update the workflow in the destination (production) environment with the new changes. There will also be overwrite options for most entities within the workflow, such as devices, templates, error handlers, and more.

The last major new feature in v1.7 is Azure Active Directory Sync.

For organizations that don’t want to manage local users in Ayehu NG, the Azure Active Directory Users Synchronization activity can be utilized in v1.7 to sync users and groups from your company’s Azure AD tenant. 

This functionality gives any Ayehu NG user who can create workflows, as well as manage logins, the ability to sync users and groups from Active Directory into NG, and then create login users and login groups from them as appropriate.

It’s a great new tool that customers using Azure cloud will really get a lot of benefit from.

If you’re interested in test driving Ayehu NG v1.7 with these cool new features, download your very own free 30-day trial version today by clicking here.

Introducing Ayehu NG v1.6 – New Advanced Features

Author: Guy Nadivi

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 easily and quickly you can plug Ayehu into various ITSM platforms, cyber security tools, operating systems, messaging and notification solutions, 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!

We add new integrations and their accompanying activities to Ayehu on an on-going basis, but sometimes, that hasn’t been quick enough for some of our customers and prospects. 

In our last release of NG, v1.5, we introduced you to its new Activity Designer.

This new functionality allowed you to build your own activities from scratch, in Python, C#, or .NET.  Many of our customers use the Activity Designer to create activities for actions against external systems that we don’t currently connect to. For example, you can use it to connect to Dropbox, Google, or any other third-party system that has accessible APIs.

SDK

In this new version 1.6 of NG, we’ve added a software development kit.  This new SDK means that now, in addition to being able to build custom activities, you can build entire custom integrations!  So if you’d like to integrate Ayehu with a platform we don’t currently have an integration with, you can do it yourself.  This might be especially helpful if you’ve got a homegrown application that’s the only one of its kind, and you want to automate certain tasks for it.  You can do that with the new SDK, and orchestrate the workflows from right inside Ayehu NG, just like you do for your other platforms.

NG-to-NG Migration Tool

In the past, migrating an NG workflow from a pre-production environment like DEV or TEST was a bit challenging.

In release 1.6 though it becomes a breeze with our new NG-to-NG Migration Tool.  This tool makes moving workflows from a DEV or TEST environment much simpler because it brings over almost all the entities associated with that workflow into your PRODUCTION environment.

BTW – this comprehensive migration can be done on a single workflow or an entire folder of workflows.

Slack Bot

Many of you have been taking advantage of Ayehu’s integration with Slack to build intelligent bots which provide your end users with powerful self-service remediation capabilities, that have eased the strain on your service desks.

In version 1.6, we’ve greatly simplified the process of configuring a Slack bot to just one click.  On top of that, we’ve also activated an “Add to Slack” button on our Slack Integration page so you can easily register your bot with Slack.

Configurable Password Policy

Ayehu NG v1.6 now has enhanced security for configuring default password policy. This means that passwords for all new accounts will be much stronger.  You can now set your own default password strength and parameters based on your organization’s security needs.

So if your password standard requires 12 characters, two special characters, and a number, you can now set this as default and it will be enforced across all local accounts in your environment. If you prefer synching accounts from your Active Directory, then NG will default instead to the password policies you’ve established in AD.

Updated Installer

Another improvement NG v1.6 introduces is an updated installer, which simplifies installation while also providing greater visibility into the process.

In the image seen here, you can review all the components to be installed on a component selection tree.  The most popular components are selected by default, but you can easily toggle the ones you don’t want. We’ve also added a pre-requisite screen check to ensure that the installation will complete successfully, and to let you know if any minimum installation requirements are lacking.

Refreshed Login Page

This new feature is more about aesthetics than anything else, but we’ve refreshed the login page with a bit more of a dynamic look and feel to it.

image001

BMC Helix Remedyforce Integration

Finally this newest release of NG includes an integration for BMC’s Helix Remedyforce.  It’s basically a duplicate of the existing BMC Remedyforce integration capabilities but on BMC’s Helix platform. This new integration allows you to Create, Update, and Get records from Helix Remedyforce, as well as execute SOQL queries.

If you’re interested in test driving NG v1.6 with all its cool new features, download your very own free 30-day trial version here.

To watch a replay of the live webinar and see these new features in action, click the image below.

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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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.

Ayehu Announces Free 30-day Trial Availability of its Newly Enhanced Next Generation Intelligent IT Automation and Orchestration Platform

The Free Trial Version Featuring an Enhanced Workflow Designer and AI-Powered Automation Engine is Now Available for Download from the Ayehu Website

San Jose, CA –- October 16, 2018 Ayehu has enhanced its Next Generation Automation and Orchestration Platform powered by AI. This latest release is designed to deliver IT and security operations teams even greater productivity and ease of use. To give enterprise users the chance to experience the platform firsthand, Ayehu is offering a free 30-day trial.

Today’s enterprises are overwhelmed by a massive amount of system alerts, incidents, and user requests. This is further complicated by the IT and security skills shortage. The need for streamlined processes and fast, quantifiable results has never been greater.

Ayehu’s Next Generation Intelligent Automation Platform incorporates artificial intelligence to augment human ingenuity, in order to enable the creation of the next generation of intelligent applications. The platform delivers no-code, automated workflows that help enterprises save significant time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure.

The new version includes the following enhancements:

  • Productivity – For greater efficiency and results, the platform now features a full web-based GUI, includes power search capabilities, a library of over 500 pre-built activities and a codeless workflow designer. Out-of-the-box integration packs are also available, with advanced Rest API for rapid integrations with 3rd party applications
  • Scalability – Scaling to support a high volume of incidents and safe guard against a single-point-of-failure, the latest release features built-in automated load share, and the ability to run more workflows simultaneously
  • SaaS Ready – Ideal for hybrid deployments, the new version can run multiple instances on the same virtual machine, run different environments on the same station, and manage all environments from one place
  • Chat Bot Integration – Ayehu BOT platform is integrated with Slack, Microsoft Teams, IBM Watson, Microsoft Luis and other applications for the easy creation of a self-service interface

“Since we launched our intelligent automation platform, customers have realized that artificial intelligence combined with IT automation is a game changer,” said Brian Boeggeman, Chief Revenue Officer, Ayehu. “As we continue to make our solution even easier and more valuable, we are offering a free trial so that everyone can simply start automating today. IT professionals that experience it will immediately see a huge leap in productivity and efficiency.”

To experience Ayehu’s Next Generation IT Automation powered by AI, claim your free trial here. To learn more about the Ayehu Next Generation Automation and Orchestration Platform powered by AI, click here.

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.