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Best of TechBeacon 2020: Enterprise IT

Jaikumar Vijayan Freelance writer

Enterprise IT organizations are under growing pressure to evolve. Fast-changing business requirements and accelerating digital transformation initiatives have exposed limitations in traditional approaches to IT operations and IT services management. 

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other approaches that can help automate key IT operations functions are gaining traction in IT Ops, and some of the silos that existed between operations and security teams have begun to converge.

TechBeacon's top 12 enterprise IT stories for 2020 highlight the challenges that IT teams face as they try to balance the need to innovate against requirements to keep the business up and running. The articles offer expert guidance on how to navigate change and achieve desired outcomes in 2021, and highlight trends and best practices for IT practitioners to follow.

It's time for IT Ops and security tools to finally converge

Large-scale cyber-security events can often require a combined response from the security team, the IT operations group, product support, engineering, and other stakeholders in the enterprise. Unfortunately, these teams typically operate in separate silos, and the tools that each brings to the remediation effort can have overlapping functionality.

In this report, Jerome Labat, chief technology officer at healthcare systems provider Cerner, explains the evolution of the two-parallel-tool-sets phenomenon at many companies and why it's time for IT operations and security tools to converge.

The state of IT operations: 10 trends to watch

IT operations teams do a lot more than just keeping the lights on at their organizations. Increasingly, they are the enablers of digital transformation, and the decisions they make can have long-lasting impact across the enterprise. That's why IT pros need to keep on top of the latest trends now more than ever. Freelance writer John P. Mello, Jr. talked with more than half a dozen IT pros to compile this list of the top 10 trends to watch in the IT Ops space over the coming year.

Digital transformation

Innovate and deliver: How to do both during your digital transformation

The challenge with digital transformation initiatives is that IT organizations are expected to keep the business up and running even as they are called upon to innovate and transform. Doing both can be tricky, but as Cerner chief technology officer Jerome Labat explains, it can be accomplished by adopting the right strategy. Here, Labat explains the strategy that Micro Focus, TechBeacon's corporate parent, adopted in its own IT digital transformation efforts when he was Micro Focus' CTO. And he highlights three key lessons that he says other organizations can apply to their own efforts.

How to create a successful digital transformation road map

Digital transformation is more than just about technology, says Sairam Bollapragada, director of the global delivery center at Micro Focus professional services. Here he explains why the array of products, platforms, and devices that vendors sell are merely tools toward an end and not ends in themselves. Organizations that want to succeed at digital transformation need to have a clear road map and know how to leverage technology in an outcome-focused way to get there, he says.

Why software-enabled services are the new disruptor

Software-enabled services (SES) can help IT teams keep pace with digital transformation and are expected to be a major disruptor for both SaaS providers and on-premises software development models. SES take a factory approach to building software and delivers greater speed and agility benefits for the business world. Keith Jahn, vice president of digital factory at healthcare tech provider Cerner, says SES can help developers achieve desired outcomes quicker. He shows how organizations that have not yet begun their SES journey can get there.

Robotic process automation

How to train your bots: 5 RPA fails to avoid

A broad perception exists that robotic process automation is hard to implement and prone to failures. Despite the enormous promise and inevitability of intelligent automation, a lot of organizations that have tried their hand at it have described it as not seeming to work. That perception is neither fair nor accurate, says Leading Edge Forum (and ex-Gartner) analyst Christopher Surdak. Here he explains why most RPA failures are less serious than they appear and lists five of the most common mistakes to avoid if you want to succeed with RPA and AI.

Robotic process automation: 5 key trends to watch

There's a high level of interest in robotic process automation (RPA) in enterprises. Industry analysts, in fact, expect that the market for RPA tools will outpace the rest of the technology industry over the next 12 months. However, some organizations that have already implemented RPA are running into problems, and many are reevaluating the tools and processes they are looking to automate. Freelance writer Ericka Chickowski spoke to industry experts to compile this list of five trends to watch in the RPA space.

AI Ops

4 reasons why AIOps is the future of IT operations

Hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure can be complex to manage, especially when digital transformation initiatives outpace the IT organization's performance management capabilities. AIOps platforms, which Gartner describes as software systems that combine big data with AI and machine-learning functions, can help make IT operations more efficient. N. Karthik, Micro Focus' country manager for enterprise sales, offers four reasons why AI and ML are the future of IT Ops.

Top 10 predictions for AI in IT operations

The use of AI in IT operations has been gradually increasing in the years since analyst firm Gartner first coined the term AIOps. These days IT Ops tools that incorporate AI have become quite common, as has AI-enhanced automation. Even so, IT leaders remain wary about using AI functions for a variety of reasons. Jiayi Hoffman, data science architect at OpsRamp, and expert at machine learning, lists 10 predictions for AIOps that she says IT operations specialists should track.

Enterprise service management

Why ESM fails: 7 sure-fire ways to kill your project

Many organizations around the world have implemented enterprise service management (ESM) initiatives to streamline and optimize the customer services that multiple teams jointly provide within an organization. When done correctly, ESM projects can help improve customer satisfaction, improve productivity, and cut costs. But they work only when IT organizations can identify the true needs of their customers and are willing to work across siloed functions. TechBeacon contributing editor Susan Salgy identifies seven key issues that can threaten the success of ESM projects.

Why ESM must evolve to automate end-to-end value streams

Enterprise service management requires a lot more than just adapting and applying IT service management (ITSM) concepts to other areas of the business. Doug Tedder, principal at Tedder Consulting LLC and a veteran of numerous IT transformation projects, explains why organizations need to evolve their approaches to ESM projects if they want to achieve desired outcomes.


Best places to work in tech: 5 lessons for dev, ops, and security

Salaries for application developers, security analysts, network administrators, and other IT specialists tend to be considerably higher in major metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles than in other parts of the country. However, when salaries are adjusted against cost-of-living expenses, the areas delivering the highest salaries for these professions are smaller and mid-sized cities such as Bloomington, Indiana; Bay City, Michigan; and Rome, Georgia. Freelance writer Rob Lemos highlights the key takeaways of a TechBeacon analysis of salaries for four occupations and explains why smaller metropolitan areas are becoming the new tech hubs.

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