In recent years, digital transformation projects have dominated the tech priorities of most IT departments – and rightfully so given that they are tasked with ensuring their organizations stay relevant in a fast-changing world where customer expectations are soaring, and agility is everything.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a curveball to businesses around the globe. Today, CIOs must account for unpredictable fluctuations in their workforce and changing circumstances across the broader business while also ensuring the stability of digital transformation efforts. In this unforgiving business environment, difficult decisions have to be made in terms of which projects get postponed and which ones are worth pursuing.
Meanwhile, IT leaders also face a crop of new technical demands as the world rapidly shifts to a new working paradigm. All of a sudden, thousands of employees are expected to work remotely, creating a barrage of support needs ranging from shoring up security gaps to supporting new communications technologies to rolling out VPNs and other new software to the workforce. Developing new software applications to support customers and employees is also top of mind for business leaders looking to stand out in creative ways and adapt to the new, physically distant normal.
In these uncertain times, IT investments that ensure business continuity, increase infrastructure resiliency, provide relief to overburdened IT teams, and accommodate a shifting (and oftentimes) reduced workforce will be prioritized. Intelligent automation and AIOps can be deployed quickly to aid in all of the above – and also deliver on the long-term needs for flexibility and agility as we continue to evolve our ways of working.
Automation helps offload a wide range of IT activities, from quickly provisioning new applications and services to offering immediate relief for common service desk issues. This reduces support loads on service desks and allows IT teams to focus on more business-critical needs. Automation can also radically streamline overall IT operations as more complex processes are automated and improve the resiliency and performance of critical infrastructure and applications by predicting and preventing issues before they have an impact.
At a time when uptime has never been more critical, automation also helps safeguard against fluctuations in the workforce in several ways. By automating manual, repetitive tasks and processes, teams can effectively do more with less. Automation can also capture and encode business-critical tribal knowledge, alleviating the need to rely on a select few subject matter experts to keep processes and core infrastructure up and running. This offers assurance that business won’t be disrupted by workforce fluctuations, while also left-shifting workloads to more junior staff members.
Looking to AIOps, IT leaders can further address challenges stemming from the current crisis. By applying machine learning to aggregate, analyze, and contextualize immense amounts of data from a wide variety of sources, AIOps offers relief to IT teams right out of the gates by providing a single pane of glass into dynamic, complex IT environments, bringing data together from multiple places to facilitate analysis and improve efficiency.
AIOps tools can perform auto-discovery and dependency mapping to deliver full visibility into the devices and their dynamic relationships to the business-critical applications they support. Then when an outage occurs, it’s easy to see which business applications are jeopardized and where the root cause lies.
Looking beyond the current crisis we face today, implementing automation and AIOps will continue to add value by freeing staff up and creating new roles to focus on more creative problem solving on the path to digital transformation. And, as the world readjusts to the next phase of the pandemic, automation will help IT teams be more agile and responsive to these changes – whatever they may be.
As we battle both COVID-19 and an economic slowdown, agility, efficiency, resilience, and cost reduction will be determining factors in IT initiatives. Operational objectives must take precedence as they quite literally keep the lights on. However, in automating many of the underlying processes and leveraging transformational technologies, IT leaders can continue innovating to ensure their business remains relevant and competitive as we move forward in an unpredictable world.