Chapter Eleven: In Which James Speaks with the Industry Analysts
Helen Beal | August 16, 2021

This is the eleventh chapter in The Observability Odyssey, a book exploring the role that intelligent observability plays in the day-to-day life of smart teams. In this chapter, our IT Ops Leader, James, speaks with the analysts about what’s happening in the AIOps space.

This is the eleventh chapter in The Observability Odyssey, a book exploring the role that intelligent observability plays in the day-to-day life of smart teams. In this chapter, our IT Ops Leader, James, speaks with the analysts about what’s happening in the AIOps space.

Charlie, our CIO, is leaving. That bombshell hit me yesterday afternoon, shortly after the bombshell that Sarah’s leaving. Sarah, I’m really gutted about, Charlie, maybe not so much. Partly what’s put my nose out of joint is that his replacement has already been identified and is already here, in an ‘interim’ capacity. Apparently, Charlie had a big old row with the CEO, and one of the CEO’s old college pals, a management consultant called Derek, has been helicoptered in to usher Charlie out the door lightning-fast.

I’d like to have a crack at the CIO role myself but I’m guessing there are reasons I’ve been stuck in middle management all these years, despite my best efforts to drag myself up the ladder, and I’m not sure those reasons have changed. Criticisms that have been leveled at me in the past are that I don’t think strategically, I’m stuck in the weeds and the details. Oh, and also that I’m a bit hot-headed.

Not a lot I can do about that last one, apart from maybe play a neuro-diversity card - it takes all sorts, right? Also, I can’t remember the last time I had an all-out shouting match with someone. The meditation must be working, that or age is bringing me wisdom. Anyway, if the CEO can be heard in the car park letting off steam at one of his team, why should there be another rule for the rest of the staff?

The root cause of all the yelling? Money, of course. Isn’t it always? It’s a bit of speculation but the snippets of what was heard during the ‘incident’ between CEO and CIO have been pieced together in a cross-departmental post-mortem type gossip fuelled activity (all very agile and collaborative actually) and it boils down to Charlie being told to do more with less. To accelerate the digital transformation with no additional investment. Actually, expect budgets to be cut.

On reflection, I warm to Charlie a bit. I always thought he was a bit of a yes-man that would make promises on our behalf that we couldn’t possibly keep and yet it would all be our fault when it didn’t work out. It seems, with his back against the wall, he fought our corner and it cost him his job. No doubt he’ll find a better one though so back to me.

That other criticism - that I’m not a strategic thinker - it’s time to tackle it. The CEO has tasked Derek with overseeing a review of all IT investments. It’s time to slim down. Take a machete to that supplier list. I’ve managed to get into a position to kick the process off, looking at our AIOps space. Charlie’s never had a problem funneling vast amounts of cash into the industry analysts’ pockets, I imagine to give his decision-making some protection. Perhaps I should suggest Derek reviews that spend, but in the meantime, I’m going to have a chat with them and show the CEO what a strategic thinker I can be. And hopefully, defend and protect the investment Dinesh and I have made on C&J’s behalf in Moogsoft.

First up, Gartner. I asked them to walk me through their AIOps market guide. They alerted me to this statement:

“There is no future of IT operations that does not include AIOps. This is due to the rapid growth in data volumes and pace of change (exemplified by the rate of application delivery and event-driven business models) that cannot wait on humans to derive insights.”

I am known to be cynical, the posture of the weary, but even my past dismissals of analysts as pundits pedaling futures on behalf of vendors, can’t stand up to this statement. It’s so blindingly obvious. With the amount of data we’ve created machines to generate we now have, humans simply can’t consume it, understand it and make decisions based on what we see in it, without help from some more machines. Then they said this:

“AIOps platform adoption is growing rapidly across enterprises. I&O leaders are planning for a post- COVID-19 environment dominated by practical outcomes rather than aspirational goals.”

Biting my tongue at what seemed like marketing speak here, I took three deep breaths and donned my strategic thinking hat.

“Can you clarify what you mean by practical outcomes over aspirational goals?”

“Sure,” said the analyst. “In the past, we’ve heard organizations saying that they want to reduce MTTR but they haven’t really expressed why. Now we’re hearing people understand that noise reduction directly translates to less time on unplanned work and more time on paying down technical debt and making improvements and enhancements.”

Cool. I thought. That’s exactly what Dinesh and Sarah had been teaching me, and they’d been helping the metrics that we used in the business case for the enterprise rollout of Moogsoft. I already had half of the report then for this one. A perfect example of doing more with the same. Now I needed some ammunition for doing more with less. They’d got me a bit lost in the report around their “domain-centric” and “domain-agnostic” classifications of vendors, so I just asked them which one we should be buying. Not pointing out that we already had instances of nearly every vendor’s product mentioned in their market guide somewhere in C&Js.

“If you have a requirement for increased flexibility for processing highly diverse datasets then you probably want to look at domain-agnostic functionality. How much variety do you see in your data?”

Loads and loads we agreed. So another massive tick for Moogsoft. Also, my opportunity to do more with less. It seems we don’t need all the tools we have. I made a note in my task list to drop into procurement later in the week and ask them to run a report on the annual licensing fees for all of the monitoring tools we use.

Next on my list of analysts was Research in Action. Their research had really got me scratching my head when they tried to rename the entire market category:

"Bottom line is that the future lies in leveraging AI’s power to predict across application development, IT operations, and service management which is why Research In Action has decided to rename the AIOps research into AI Predictive Analytics."

I’ve had conversations with Dinesh umpteen times about prediction and we always agreed that if you could predict an incident you’d already failed - you should have already fixed it. But Gartner had said something similar too:

“As organizations continue to undertake digital transformation, they no longer have the luxury of responding to issues after they occur. Instead, they must become proactive and address potential issues before they impact user experience.”

Forrester helped me answer some of my questions in their recommendation:

“Provide deep end-to-end digital experience monitoring (DeM). Functionality such as real user monitoring (RuM) and synthetic transactions have been around for many years. Two things have driven these capabilities from nice-to-have to mandatory. The first is the massive increase in the remote workforce due to pandemic-related protocols; the second is the dramatic rise in demand for a wide variety of online digital services. enterprises must now be able to tie the experience of a digital user to business outcomes. unless they can relate user performance and sentiment data to business KPIs, operations and product teams are flying blind.”

It seemed what we could do with this technology was significantly more than just incident management. This got my newly nurtured strategic thinker brain excited. Another example of doing more with less (or at least the same)?

 

 

Cool. I thought. That’s exactly what Dinesh and Sarah had been teaching me, and they’d been helping the metrics that we used in the business case for the enterprise rollout of Moogsoft. I already had half of the report then for this one. A perfect example of doing more with the same. Now I needed some ammunition for doing more with less. They’d got me a bit lost in the report around their “domain-centric” and “domain-agnostic” classifications of vendors, so I just asked them which one we should be buying. Not pointing out that we already had instances of nearly every vendor’s product mentioned in their market guide somewhere in C&Js.

“If you have a requirement for increased flexibility for processing highly diverse datasets then you probably want to look at domain-agnostic functionality. How much variety do you see in your data?”

Loads and loads we agreed. So another massive tick for Moogsoft. And also, my opportunity to do more with less. It seems we don’t need all the tools we have. I made a note in my task list to drop into procurement later in the week and ask them to run a report on the annual licensing fees for all of the monitoring tools we use.

Next on my list of analysts was Research in Action. Their research had really got me scratching my head when they tried to rename the entire market category:

"Bottom line is that the future lies in leveraging AI’s power to predict across application development, IT operations, and service management which is why Research In Action has decided to rename the AIOps research into AI Predictive Analytics."

I’ve had conversations with Dinesh umpteen times about prediction and we always agreed that if you could predict an incident you’d already failed - you should have already fixed it. But Gartner had said something similar too:

“As organizations continue to undertake digital transformation, they no longer have the luxury of responding to issues after they occur. Instead, they must become proactive and address potential issues before they impact user experience.”

Forrester helped me answer some of my questions in their recommendation:

“Provide deep end-to-end digital experience monitoring (DeM). Functionality such as real user monitoring (RuM) and synthetic transactions have been around for many years. Two things have driven these capabilities from nice-to-have to mandatory. The first is the massive increase in the remote workforce due to pandemic-related protocols; the second is the dramatic rise in demand for a wide variety of online digital services. enterprises must now be able to tie the experience of a digital user to business outcomes. unless they can relate user performance and sentiment data to business KPIs, operations and product teams are flying blind.”

It seemed what we could do with this technology was significantly more than just incident management. This got my newly nurtured strategic thinker brain excited. Another example of doing more with less (or at least the same)?

Moogsoft is the AI-driven observability leader that provides intelligent monitoring solutions for smart DevOps. Moogsoft delivers the most advanced cloud-native, self-service platform for software engineers, developers and operators to instantly see everything, know what’s wrong and fix things faster.

About the author

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Helen Beal

Helen Beal is a DevOps and Ways of Working coach, Chief Ambassador at DevOps Institute and an Ambassador for the Continuous Delivery Foundation. She provides strategic advisory services to DevOps industry leaders and is an analyst at Accelerated Strategies Group. She hosts the Day-to-Day DevOps webinar series for BrightTalk, speaks regularly on DevOps topics, is a DevOps editor for InfoQ and also writes for a number of other online platforms. Outside of DevOps she is an ecologist and novelist.

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