Cognitive roadmap for IT Operations Analytics

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During one of my European excursions in 2015, a client asked me to reveal my ten-year vision for IT Operations Analytics (ITOA). Needless to say, it stopped me in my tracks.

Generally speaking, I’m armed with a two-year offering roadmap for any client meeting. But ten years? How was I going to claw my way out of this one?

After quick, careful thought, I coughed up one of the hottest buzz words floating around the industry today and responded that our systems will become truly “cognitive”. It seemed to satisfy the request, which admittedly was my primary goal for this unexpected curveball.

In retrospect, I probably didn’t knock it out of the park. But at least I reached base safely.

What do we mean by “cognitive”?

So what does it mean to be truly cognitive? There has to be more substance to it than a fancy buzz word we throw around in client meetings to make us appear intelligent.

By definition, cognitive systems can understand the world through sensation and interaction, reason using hypotheses and arguments and learn from experts and available data. It is the simulation of human thinking in a computerized model.

In other words, cognitive systems learn. They think. They interpret. They adapt. They interact. And IBM Watson is touted as the most advanced system of its kind.

Within the context of information technology, and even more specifically within IT operations, such advancements represent radical transformation. When you consider the exponential growth of the challenge IT operations professionals face today, coupled with the shrinking budgets and staffs they have to counter them, cognitive systems are quickly becoming a ‘must-have’.

Investing in cognitive

Just consider where many C-Level executives across different markets are planning to invest in the near future, IBM research has found the following:

– 96 percent in insurance intend to invest in cognitive capabilities.

– 84 percent in healthcare believe cognitive will play a disruptive role in the industry, and 60 percent believe they lack the skilled professionals and technical experience to achieve it.

– 94 percent in retail intend to invest in cognitive capabilities.

– 89 percent in telecommunications believe it will have a critical impact on the future of their business.

Powered by Watson, IBM has made numerous advancements in this space across the company’s software portfolio, including within IT operations. The IBM operations analytics offerings can learn and understand how applications and their infrastructure should normally behave and interact with one another; establish baselines for that behavior; adapt to changes within the environment; alert on anomalous behavior; and forecast into the future to aid with problem prioritization.

Immediate results

One of the immediate returns on investment here is the significant time and money savings of replacing tasks that were previously manual with cognitive systems. Another is the greater accuracy of understanding your IT environment and the proactive outage avoidance of your critical applications.

When I think about the future of cognitive IT operations, automation and self-healing will become predominant themes, all fueled by the learning and interpretation of operational data. Intelligent systems will continue to consume more of the workload generally handled by an IT staff.

In other words, it all means more time and money saved for the organizations that shift in this direction.

IBM Cloud

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