data center (ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com)

INDUSTRY INSIGHT

5 AIOps strategies for overcoming common IT obstacles

In today’s “always on” culture of consumption, technology is expected to work seamlessly. This expectation has transformed into reliance as millions of employees across the country work, learn and entertain themselves from home amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

While most government agencies understand these expectations and are doing their best to deliver online access with the legacy tools they have, the global pandemic places a magnifying glass on where service delivery falls short of expectations. More than ever, the pressure is on.

A recent Forrester report highlights IT obstacles common in both government and industry that, when targeted for improvement, can radically enhance digital experience and service delivery. With these fixes, organizations and their end users can stay afloat in a new reality and strengthen IT operations to successfully take on future challenges.

Government IT: Dangerously vulnerable, auspiciously ripe for transformation

Government IT operations are focused on resilience, redundancy and overall effective service delivery, especially for mission-critical systems. IT teams face some of the same obstacles commercial enterprises do: a lack of time to learn and understand new tools, difficulty implementing and supporting new capabilities, inadequate support for hybrid IT and an inability to translate between organizational impact and task priority.

In order to serve constituents in this rapidly evolving landscape, agency leaders must recognize the barriers they face and execute solutions. Here are five strategies:

1. Strategically support staffs short on time. In government agencies, IT staffs are perpetually scrambling due to the sheer volume of demands. Not only do they lack time to learn a new technology, they are too overburdened to understand its nuances and complexities.

To alleviate the pressure on personnel, agencies must partner strategically with forward-thinking companies that integrate legacy technologies into flexible, scalable solutions that streamline operations. By adopting commercial platforms that infuse automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning and shepherding organizations through digital transformation, government staff is freed from rote tasks and empowered with logical, efficient tools.

2. Liberate new capabilities stymied by team bandwidth. Staffs that are too pressed for time to learn and understand new technology inevitably struggle to support and run the new tools once deployed. Rather than leaving IT teams to waste time on trial and error, agencies should target modern toolsets that reduce IT complexity and incorporate AI for IT operations, or AIOps. AIOps unleashes automation on the onerous tasks that don’t require a human in the loop, while also delivering actionable insights.

Learning to effectively leverage new toolsets is an aspect of modernization often overlooked, and leaders would be remiss not to ensure investments are fully utilized. It’s even better if time invested in learning is focused on the capabilities that are the most hands-on, that enable teams to act on automated insights and that deliver the most big-picture ROI.

3. Bridge the gap with hybrid IT. There’s a wealth of legacy systems operating across agencies, and there’s a broad movement toward the promise of new technologies. But in between the two is a gulf in IT operations that renders both sides useless without a bridge.

This means IT teams must be well-versed in the components and complexities of both the old and the new, and must support hybrid IT -- for example, tools that provide early warnings or offer a “single pane of glass” interface for monitoring resources -- that keeps at bay the threat of system failure.

AIOps can be invaluable in managing hybrid IT: analyzing and preparing legacy data for automation, identifying patterns and signaling warnings, among other strengths. The process helps pinpoint critical system information -- not just the up or down, available or not available, but the gray areas that can be used to algorithmically correlate early signals and patterns, identify weaknesses and prevent degraded service.

4. Translate organizational impact into task priority. The latest and greatest IT tools are closely linked to organizational impact: New technologies can be a force multiplier, but they can also confound the status quo with complexity and a flood of information. It’s critical to harness capabilities that provide a holistic, analytics-driven view of aggregate performance and use them to prioritize services and projects accordingly.

The impact of IT complexity is clear. While a simple web application in the past could comprise one or two servers, today’s applications may consist of dozens to hundreds of devices and technologies for the same application and functionality. This requires a massive uptick in monitoring, exceeding what humans can actually do. Instead of scrambling support staff to carry out functions that can be handled by AIOps, organizations instead should focus the knowledge and capability of their IT teams on the tasks requiring a human in the loop. With a comprehensive view into organizationwide operations and performance, it’s easier to divert the most valuable attention and investment to the tasks that demand priority.

5. Fail fast to accelerate success. Technology is progressing at an unprecedented pace. With every aspect of technology becoming more software-defined, upgrades and updates are being delivered more frequently, making it critical that it’s easier for systems to fail fast, but also to adjust and correct these failures. When agencies make an investment in technology today, they get more flexibility than ever before to pivot between strategies and are not left with mountains of iron sitting in a data center. With the increase in software -- and the emergence of AIOps -- teams can adapt quickly and leverage toolsets to better understand the technologies they serve.

Government IT leaders are experiencing a new dual role. On one hand, they must maintain their legacy systems, some of which hold infrastructure critical to national security. On the other, they are making investments in DevOps and AIOps to modernize systems. Today, many technologies and programs are available under subscription models, allowing teams to test-drive and swap out tools easily and efficiently. Learning to harness the capabilities of new technology while keeping foundational systems secure will allow federal IT teams to overcome complex obstacles, promote growth and sustain service for staff and constituent

About the Author

Lee Koepping is a solutions architect with ScienceLogic.

Featured

  • senior center (vuqarali/Shutterstock.com)

    Bmore Responsive: Home-grown emergency response coordination 

    Working with the local Code for America brigade, Baltimore’s Health Department built a new contact management system that saves hundreds of hours when checking in on senior care centers during emergencies.

  • man checking phone in the dark (Maridav/Shutterstock.com)

    AI-based ‘listening’ helps VA monitor vets’ mental health

    To better monitor veterans’ mental health, especially during the pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs is relying on data and artificial intelligence-based analytics.

Stay Connected