Real-world AIOps: Between Data and Datasheets

by Valerie O’Connell, Research Director of Digital Service Execution, EMA

Vendors and their visions often run ahead of the real-world pack—at least, the good ones do, because progress begins with vision. The downside of this rush to tomorrow is that IT practitioners can be left to ponder the practicality of technologies and wonder if their organization is ahead of the market curve or sliding behind in an invisible race that is always competitive.

Although AIOps is a relatively new category named within the past five years, it is based on the well-established awareness that advanced IT analytics has a lot to offer in the pursuit of operational excellence. Advances in big data, AI, ML, and IT operational complexity combined to match product capabilities with market needs. The otherwise hopeless complexity of clouds, microservices, and containers in an environment of high velocity change form the backdrop of IT’s largescale adoption of AIOps.

The needs are real, as are the vendor product and platform capabilities.

EMA completed an in-depth technical evaluation of 17 AIOps vendor offerings complete with user interviews as 2020 wrapped up publishing the results in “EMA Radar Report: AIOps – A Guide for Investing in Innovation.” The next logical step was to probe how widely those capabilities are being adopted beyond the datasheets, and with what results.

That’s exactly what EMA did in its recent research, “AI(work)Ops 2021.” The outreach screened 2,500 global participants to vet the final field of IT practitioners for insight into how AIOps is being used now and in the near future. Use cases, drivers, challenges, and benefits were all addressed, as well as top capabilities and buying considerations. Much of the findings neatly align with common sense.

Perhaps the most surprising finding was not the fact that AIOps is successful, but the extent of that success. For the vast majority of respondents, AIOps implementations were self-rated as successful (19%), very successful (46%), and extremely successful (31%), all returning high value relative to cost.

Done right, the impact of AIOps on the relationship between IT and other parts of the business can be transformative. Use of AIOps makes improvement in IT/business alignment almost unavoidable. A large part of doing AIOps right is automation. Not since chocolate and peanut butter has there been a more natural pairing than AIOps and automation. In this case, the pairing is almost a survival mechanism in a world where success requires simultaneous execution of business agility and rock-solid IT service.

The case for AIOps and its attendant automation is so clear and such an exercise in common sense that EMA expects the name will quietly go away over time. The capabilities—new today—will just become an everyday part of everyday IT operations. However, that time is still quite a bit further out in time.

The good news is that vendor capabilities today far exceed common enterprise demands. Actual deployments and overall use currently lag well behind the potential of existing platforms. That gap will quickly close as enterprises continue to gain experience and return high levels of value. After all, success breeds success in AIOps as well as in life.

Research Webinar
AI(work)Ops: A Research View of AIOps Implementations
Tuesday, May 18 9 a.m. Pacific | 12 p.m. Eastern

Join Valerie O’Connell, EMA Research Director of Digital Service Execution, as she discusses her recent field research.

This research-based webinar from leading IT research firm Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) examines the characteristics that are common to the 21% of IT practitioners who rate the impact of AIOps on the IT/business relationship as “transformational.” Topics will include:

  • AIOps, automation, and digital transformation
  • Key capabilities
  • Indicators and metrics of success
  • Organizational drivers and priorities
  • Challenges and demonstrated benefits
  • Budgets, buyers, and preferences
  • Platform considerations
  • Success factors