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Touchless IT Ops: 3 tips for creating self-sustaining operations

Randy Potter Chief Architect, Capgemini North America

Many IT organizations have realized the benefits of automating simple but time-consuming IT tasks. Now they are coming to understand that they can gain far more value from their employees by directing their work toward higher-value projects that bring results to the business.

As this concept shifts into operations, a new phenomenon is forming around the concept of automating infrastructure and application management within IT operations. Welcome to the era of touchless IT Ops.

With improved efficiencies and more practical allocation of resources, touchless IT Ops brings potential benefits of faster time to market, improved system quality, and larger cost savings. Think of it as one step beyond no ops.

But you must handle the transformation to touchless IT Ops correctly to ensure the best possible long-term outcomes. Here are three steps your organization can take to embark on this shift to next-gen automation of your IT Ops.

1. Adopt a product mindset

Many IT implementations consist of one project team for application development followed by a new project team of application managers and support. Unfortunately, this project mindset does not account for the changing needs of the business.

By shifting to an agile methodology that's iterative and feedback-oriented, coupled with a product-over-project approach, organizations can prioritize the needs of business, development, security, and operations throughout the product lifecycle.

Product owners ideally originate from the business side, since they are better equipped to drive decision making based on business requirements. By combining development with application management and support, product owners and product teams are motivated to build resilient systems and applications that require lower volumes of upkeep, support, and rework.

They are empowered to deliver a product that is effortless to run and to manage as changes occur—this includes better monitoring and alerting, as well as a higher level of quality. Adopting a product mindset is the foundational layer needed to allow a team to build a system that can handle the intricacies of a truly touchless experience.

2. Enable intelligence and insight into IT operations

Leveraging artificial intelligence to enhance IT operations has long-term positive implications in troubleshooting of systems and issue resolution. AI mines data to better understand the root cause and either removes issues or creates automated resolutions.

The technology can easily turn relevant data into actionable insights for incident resolution. The long-term benefit is to keep the same problems from happening again and faster resolution in the future. Manual intervention and troubleshooting are greatly decreased and create time for representatives to add deeper value to the business.

3. Incorporate site reliability engineering into your product approach

The discipline of site/service reliability engineering, or SRE, focuses on the systems and support needed to keep applications up and running. This includes network, storage, logging, computing, security, and more.

SRE can leverage analytics, much like AI with IT operations, to resolve issues, and automates as much as is practical. Having a person, or team, within the larger product development and management organization dedicated to SRE will keep system downtime low and prevent continuous issues in the future.

This approach further elevates the whole product team to transform into a value-over-support function.

Are you ready to go touchless?

Touchless IT Ops is all about creating systems that can self-sustain, with IT staff focusing their efforts on higher-value tasks that require deep critical thought and produce far greater business results.

Adopting an agile framework that is product-oriented and incorporating automation capabilities with AI and SRE can help your organization tackle this transformational shift in its approach to IT operations. When your organization transitions to touchless IT Ops, the benefits will be felt across the business.

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