The Mystery Of AIOps Expeditions: What’s In A Name?
The 2019 publication, Take The Mystery Out Of AI For IT Operations (AIOps) was a widely read Forrester report. It addressed lots of the core questions our industry had about this new thing called AIOps. It also went on to provide an approach for achieving the 2019 goal of AIOps. Like all new concepts, we learn from both failed and successful attempts. If we’re smart, we take this learning, enhance our vision, modify our approach, and go at it again. For some, this is a growth and improvement cycle — difficult with setbacks, but moving forward, much like Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness. For most, however, it’s a new scary expedition into the unknown, riddled with danger and no guarantee of survival, like astronauts Lovell, Swigert, and Haise faced aboard Apollo 13.
Expeditions have a set purpose, but the destination is not always clear, the roads are not always paved, and the maps aren’t always accurate or may not even exist. There are detours, potholes, and dead ends. Some arrive at a successful end; some don’t and have to start over; others never travel that road again. The objective for an expedition into automated technology operations is to deliver value and power positive business outcomes by leveraging the latest technological means, such as AI, machine learning, data analytics, etc. While the broad conceptual objective hasn’t necessarily changed in the last three years, we’ve learned a lot, and there have been technological advances. Most importantly though, we’ve had time to assess what’s worked, what hasn’t, the original guidance, and the theories at the time and refactor all of that to address the enhanced 2022 vision for an automated technology operations management concept.
The end-state vision for modern and automated technology operations doesn’t seem to have changed significantly in the past three years. There are some aspects, however, that need slight adjustments in terms of prioritization. My years of work in risk management and IT security drive me to believe that we need to put more energy into investigating the interdependency with Zero Trust, cybersecurity, and other risk mitigation initiatives. How this manifests itself in the eventual solution is yet to be seen. These are not, however, separate and distinct journeys we’re on. They are interdependent and need to cohabit in our minds.
I believe what makes up AIOps and all its components is in considerable flux or, at minimum, incredibly poorly defined. The reason for this view is simply because I’ve been told by technology vendors and enterprise clients alike that they’re confused by all the different perspectives. This is most likely because it was new and there wasn’t much guidance around what it was or wasn’t. All the building blocks that go into a comprehensive solution that ingests data, processes it, enriches utilization capabilities, and provides retrospective feedback weren’t fully fleshed out yet, but it needs to be done. There are lots of different pieces that need to be pulled together to deliver an overarching solution. The guidance on which specific pieces and how they’re assembled wasn’t there for vendors and consumers alike. The reality is that not all pieces are needed in all solutions and not all solutions will look alike. The commonality, though, is a directional movement toward an automation technology operations model. We need to do better to succeed in the future.
Approach/Road To Success
My work with approximately 200 organizations over decades plays a dominant role in how I see organizations achieving success with an automated technology operations management philosophy. Rare was the successful outcome that started with an executive picking a solution without fully understanding the problem they were trying to solve or the unique challenges they might encounter. Like humans, companies come in all shapes and sizes. They change over time, creating different needs at various points of their maturity path. Sometimes they’re progressing down that path, and other times they’re regressing. To base solution approaches solely on a couple of criteria is naïve and ill-fated. It also grossly underestimates the structural and political dynamics an organization faces, which play directly into success or failure.
Where Do We Go From Here?
First and foremost, we learn from what’s already been done, in success and failure. We continue the evolution of automation-enhanced technology operations concepts. This expedition we’re on will continue to advance the augmentation of human intelligence with technological capabilities and, in time, deliver more resilient business solutions. We must focus our discussions on thoughts and concepts — not previously used labels and acronyms. The labels and acronyms will sort themselves out once we’re speaking the same language and understand that we’re on the same expedition. Last and certainly not least, we continue this conversation until we achieve our collective goals of delivering positive business outcomes. As Coach Jones in Radio said, “We do things as a team!” You and I are on this same team!
Join The Conversation
I invite you to reach out to me through social media if you want to provide general feedback. If you prefer more formal or private discussions, email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting! Click Carlos at Forrester.com to follow my research and continue the discussion.