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AI / DevOps / Operations

Three Services GenAI Can Supercharge for ITOps

Automation initiatives can falter due to their complexity. This is where GenAI shines, offering consumer-style simplicity to enterprise-grade automation.
Jan 2nd, 2024 8:44am by
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Automation has always been something of a Holy Grail for IT operations. As digital-centric organizations know, customers have come to expect seamless, omnichannel experiences from the businesses they interact with. But as demand for such experiences grows, incidents inevitably occur.

The sheer pace of software development today means more code and more complexity, which leads to more potential issues and outages. AIOps has done a great job of empowering teams to work smarter and faster to resolve these issues, and, in some cases, to eliminate humans from the loop completely, using a high degree of automation.

But ITOps teams can go further still by leveraging the power of generative AI (GenAI). GenAI has the potential to disrupt virtually every IT function in a modern organization, pushing operations teams to new heights of productivity and efficiency.

The Start of the Journey

There’s no doubt that automation can save organizations significant time and money while increasing productivity. But automation initiatives can sometimes falter due to their complexity. This is where GenAI comes into its own, offering a consumer-style simplicity to enterprise-grade automation.

We’re in the early days of GenAI in the enterprise. However, we’re already discovering some ITOps functions that can be supercharged by GenAI. Here are three:

1. Network Operation Centres (NOCs)

NOC teams sit at the heart of many ITOps functions — and face many challenges. A high degree of manual work can lengthen the mean time to resolve (MTTR). An “eyes-on-glass” operational style may even lead to some incidents going undetected, while “catch-and-dispatch” processes end up driving too many escalations to subject matter experts (SMEs) or even routing incidents to the wrong SME. These teams may experience high turnover as a result of stress, workload and inefficiency.

Traditional AIOps are great at automating the role of first responders, auto-remediating common incidents and only bringing in human expertise when necessary. But GenAI can help AIOps go even further by pulling diagnostic information together to generate comprehensive status updates to stakeholders and leadership, as often as is required. This is a task that would otherwise take significant time and effort during incidents when teams are usually already at capacity.

In just a few moments, an operative could generate persona-based summaries, offering key insights on events, progress and challenges. In doing so, it will allow ITOps teams to focus on the work that matters, while streamlining incident management workflows and communication.

2. Major Incident Management (MIM)

MIM teams also play a key role in incident response. For these teams, complexity and noise can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if they’re already deluged with customer/user calls. Sometimes, the initial triage takes too long to assess the severity and business impact of an incident, meaning MIM teams have to start incident response without enough context. Manual processes and disjointed tooling add to communication barriers between responders and corresponding teams. MTTR lengthens as incidents aren’t routed quickly enough to the right people, with the right diagnostics and runbooks.

GenAI can help by enabling responders to rapidly create workflows on the fly via natural language prompts. This could be useful in creating status update workflows to enable team members to communicate with speed and clarity. But the same capabilities could also be useful for routing high-priority incidents to relevant team members.

Gen AI can also assist in this scenario by coding the process automation capabilities necessary to accelerate MTTR. Once again, using natural language prompts, users can quickly assemble diagnostic and remediation scripts and runbooks. This is especially useful during unplanned work when team members are in short supply and under high pressure. It’s about bringing low-code capabilities to what historically has been a “high-code” experience.

3. Distributed Service Owning (DSO) Teams

DSO teams are under tremendous pressure to deliver outstanding customer experiences. However, they sometimes struggle with disparate monitoring tools that have no centralized management portal. Alert noise can lead to inaccurate escalations and false incidents, while information silos restrict the amount of vital context on incidents that SMEs can access. At the same time, those experts are pulled away from genuinely value-add projects, undermining long-term strategic growth.

GenAI helps here by accelerating the process of creating status updates, breaking down data silos through automated gathering and summarizing of contextual information. It could also be used to generate incident postmortems, which are a time-consuming part of the job for DSO teams. GenAI can work across traditional silos between individual tool- and service-owners to quickly create an unbiased draft of a postmortem report. These are crucial documents that help teams learn from their mistakes and drive continuous improvement.

Simplicity and Elegance

The power of GenAI is in making the complex simple; in pulling information from disparate sources to do work that would otherwise take human experts hours and doing so in a highly intuitive manner via natural language prompts. GenAI offers ITOps the chance to supercharge incident response and free up time for more valuable work.

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