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4 key IT operations management capabilities every team should use

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Matthew David Digital Leader, Accenture
 

The need to automate the systems that manage your IT operating model (ITOM) has never been greater because the demand for digital systems has increased beyond the ability of many IT teams to support the network.

Here are the four key areas that should form the foundation for every modern ITOM environment.

1. Use AIOps for cross-team collaboration

Cross-team collaboration via AI-powered operations is essential to any ITOM program. Collaboration for AIOps now centers on mean time to detect (MTTD), which requires leveraging tools that allow teams to know more quickly when a problem is occurring so they can provide better mean time to identification (MTTI) and mean time to resolution (MTTR).

Deploying analytics, orchestration, and remediation in an integrated manner can increase the speed of MTTR, and AIOps provides the framework for how this should work. You can expect an improvement in MTTR and MTTI by reducing the response times to problems or enabling ITOM teams to detect problems before they occur.

Using AIOps can, in turn, prevent issues that would otherwise lead to a problem that causes data loss or the inability to continue operations.

When combined with other capabilities, AIOps should help organizations eliminate inefficiencies and reduce overhead by getting rid of unnecessary processes and tools that may not provide the best value for the organization.

Using AIOps to optimize IT service delivery is a process that can be highly complicated and time-consuming. It requires an experienced team and some know-how of the organization and environment.

2. Adopt digital experience monitoring

Digital experience monitoring for AIOps requires that companies tie the actions of a digital user to a business outcome. This means that customer experience, automation of your ITOM, and business value are tightly connected.

One question is whether the ITOM can be transformed into a business-centric activity. If IT is to interact well with the business, a fundamental change is needed in how IT and companies act and react. We're all trying to get a handle on this.

The primary culprits for our inability to define this business-centric ITOM are project goals and the too-thick CMP (customer impact profile). In each of these models, the CMP is broken into components bundled into long narratives.

These narratives contain key business activities, job levels, names of people, dates, budgets, and things that can be measured or improved. All these actions and activities are interlinked like so many shingles on a roof.

A thick CMP sets a massive obstacle to any CIO or IT leader wanting to do anything with it. But the real issue is that most of the action is happening within IT and not within the business. Subgroups of people with their own agendas can be so disconnected from the business's objectives that they don't even know its goals.

With AIOps, the central models are the customer experience (CX) picture and the map of how a company will transform into a digital enterprise over time. The CX picture consists of action plans being loaded into the CX system. These are vital data points that can help identify the key activities within the business that will convert into business outcomes, such as improved customer satisfaction or lower churn.

By looking at what the business is trying to achieve by orchestrating or automating the work, the CX picture can identify key outcomes that will significantly improve. These outcomes are the goals that can be delivered as a business-centric activity. In other words, CX professionals are reporting on what is really happening.

3. Integrate across ITOM teams

An overabundance of change requests or a lack of communication can slow down project delivery and affect ITOM management. Be sure your delivery team has sufficient capacity and capacity-planning tools before a project begins. Having this knowledge will help you assess whether resources are overburdened and identify how best to allocate your limited resources.

A more significant but still manageable backlog will help prevent the possibility of bottlenecking at various stages of the project lifecycle. When managing your backlog, you should consider integrating different workflows into ITOM. These include risk, change management, and quality assurance. You also need to maintain a flexible mindset to adopt continuous improvement practices throughout your business.

A smooth implementation of your ITOM solution depends on both internal and external stakeholder engagement. Typically, the customer should adopt a project management approach, and internal resources should have a transparent role in ITOM success.

Establishing good internal stakeholder relationships and the commitment to achieve desired objectives can help streamline many different aspects of a project, including communications and change management, resource management, and source control.

It is always a good idea to involve customers and internal stakeholders in ITOM implementation. You might be hesitant about this, feeling that these stakeholders won't want to hear that IT's solution is not meeting their expectations, but this sort of feedback can help you identify where you need to adjust your delivery methodology or invest in additional training and resources to make IT more accessible. Additionally, it can help IT be more responsive and reliable in terms of addressing customers' needs.

As part of your overall support plan, it is also essential to create and align change management policies. Make sure to share the majority of the implementation activities with your internal stakeholders to help guide the requirements and identify the obstacles that can slow down a project.

4. Deliver the correct analytics

Modern ITOM models require analytics as critical elements of their AIOps program. The bottom line is that each IT group is looking to validate its value. Analytics should help present value to leaders.

Organizations with legacy, monolithic, and bloated ITOM environments are at risk of becoming ineffective. These organizations don't have the right tools to model the multitude of business cases that are needed to improve enterprise IT operations. Businesses that can no longer innovate will go out of business, so it's in your best interest to address these issues now.

First, select the models needed to understand your customers' business. Then select the scope, analysis, and reporting capabilities required to obtain business value from each customer case. Remember that some models may be needed for each client based on the nature of the business. For example, you may need account-based management models for retail or healthcare clients.

Once you have a clear understanding of your business, identify ITOM partners who can help you understand and define the ITOM model to transform your operations. This work should be conducted collaboratively and iteratively across the entire ITOM organization, since you will need to validate each model to determine whether it is driving value. You may also need to add your domain expertise to evaluate the analytic outcomes and move forward.

Finally, identify which models are needed to validate your AIOps process. The job of validating the model will usually require input from IT and other business leaders.

Validation is a complex, iterative process that requires the proper structure to allow collaboration across the ITOM organization. This validation will help ensure that you measure success with each model and that each model delivers on its objectives.

Enterprises are at an inflection point with AIOps. To succeed, you must understand your business needs, align your ITOM approach to drive value, and validate your AIOps program to deliver business value.

A fast-moving target 

ITOM in the enterprise is evolving rapidly as the enterprise's digital footprint expands. The trends for automating the response time to protect your network were already accelerating due to the migration to public and private cloud. COVID-19 and the massive number of people forced to work from home catapulted the need for digital services to support the enterprise.

The overall effect is that the need to manage and improve those services has never been greater. Automation in your ITOM is essential.

Therefore, ITOM will become a core part of your digital transformation strategy. When technologies and products are changing at a lightning pace, ITOM can support your business by anticipating and preventing any issues before they happen.

You can then monitor the impact on your operations and enterprises. For example, you can watch the digital footprint of your customers and service-level agreements and make recommendations for improvements.

By having a more streamlined and automated ITOM solution, you can free up time to focus on your business. Solutions must understand the business environment and resolve issues without further investigation.

Vendor choice is critical because it affects cost, accessibility, and overall outcome. Traditional ITOM software is installed on premises to interact with your existing data centers. Emerging solutions are increasingly leveraging cloud-based services. Typically, you can find these benefits from cloud services:

  • Reduce management complexity
  • Define dependencies
  • Drive automated processes
  • Quickly identify and fix issues
  • Ensure the application is functioning as designed

ITOM is the future and will only grow as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more of a reality. The ITOM platform will provide a more streamlined approach to IT operations, and IT operations will become more efficient as problems can be addressed before they occur.

Read more articles about: Enterprise ITIT Ops