Rich Lane, Forrester Research’s senior analyst for AIOps, had a simple and unequivocal message for attendees at the Moogsoft User Conference 2019 in Chicago.
“Whether we like it or not, IT Ops is in the customer experience business today,” explained Rich Lane, Forrester Research’s senior analyst for AIOps, to the 200+ Moogsoft customers and partners that attended the Moogsoft User Conference, recently held in Chicago. The implications of IT Ops’ expanded role in delivering customer experiences are substantial, putting Ops teams squarely in the spotlight at their organizations.
Improving customer experience (CX) can have real bottom-line impact, as this Forrester report shows:
As Rich Lane explains it, the level and quality of digital CX directly impacts a business’ ability to generate revenue. For Ops teams, this chance to shine is dependent on one thing: service assurance. The pressure to prevent outages has never been greater.
Quality CX is driven by seven key factors, according to Forrester:
Another point of pressure that has never been greater is IT complexity, driven by organizations’ digital transformation efforts. “All facets of IT in all operations models are responsible for and in most cases are leading digital transformation,” explains Rich Lane.
In other words, organizations are embracing modern technologies to deliver the best possible digital services, in pursuit of optimal customer experiences. But even as they adopt cloud computing, mobility, IoT, microservices, containers, CI/CD software pipelines and more, IT environments get harder and harder to monitor. According to Forrester, it’s not all about uptime.
Data volumes keep growing exponentially. As Ops teams lost visibility on their infrastructure, they stocked up on more domain-specific monitoring tools. Many of them don’t interoperate, and create mountainous siloes of operational data. “On average, the enterprises I talk to today have somewhere between 25 to 30 tools just to do monitoring,” Lane says.
What’s more, the business wants to know how services are performing. Tools proliferation yielded a lack of data context, and an inability to easily measure service performance. When a service issue occurs, it leads to the war-room approach: 20 to 30 people huddled on a group call or locked in a conference room, each looking at their own tool’s console, analyzing disparate siloed sets of data. Each desperately trying to figure out the cause of a critical problem, all the while pointing fingers at each other.
Rich Lane of Forrester speaking at Moogsoft User Conference 2019
Rich Lane contends, on top of the tension and hostility this problem-management approach creates, the war room has a bigger downside. Detecting and solving issues simply takes too long.
According to Forrester, and fortunately for Ops teams, AIOps promises greater visibility and stability over IT environments that become increasingly ephemeral, heterogeneous, distributed, and hybrid.
As defined by Lane, AIOps is “software that applies AI/ML or other advanced analytics to business and operations data to make correlations and provide prescriptive and predictive answers in real time.” These insights produce real-time business performance KPIs, allow teams to resolve incidents faster, and help avoid future incidents altogether.
Specifically, AIOps can help Ops teams to find “the needle in the haystack”, and thus detect and resolve IT issues more quickly. In addition, AIOps promises that organizations will be able to unify all business data under one umbrella, gain efficiencies by pairing intelligence with automation, and measure the day-in-the-life of a digital customer.
That last point is not just about making sure that digital services are up and running, but also about understanding all of the elements that impact whether a customer is satisfied or not — what Lane calls “the emotional experience.”
If people are abandoning your app or your service, and you don’t know why, that’s a problem. Rich Lane says organizations have to understand why it’s happening, so they can build a better service around those insights.
“You can do that when you bring all the data under one AIOps solution,” he adds.