Note: This is the first of two guest blogs from Everest Group analysts on aware automation.

In today’s digital world, enterprise success is all about speed, agility and flexibility in order to adapt to market and competitor dynamics. It is no surprise that 62% of enterprises view IT services agility and flexibility as a primary focus of their IT services strategy1, with cost reduction seen as a derivative.

The digital businesses of today require a business-centric IT infrastructure that is agile, flexible, scalable and cost-effective. For a long time, IT infrastructure has taken up an inordinate amount of time and the lion’s share of precious resources (particularly financial). However, with new cloud delivery models gaining prominence and advancements in the underlying technology, business leaders now view IT infrastructure as an enabler of digital transformation — or at the very least, want to ensure that their IT infrastructure evolves to such a state.

To create and catalyze this change, many enterprises initially looked at increased investment in traditional automation tools and platforms, including RPA bots, as the best way forward. However, while such spending has produced some process efficiencies and cost savings, they can only go so far. To create a truly transformative effect — one that moves IT infrastructure toward better value creation — enterprises need to harness the power of cognitive and conversational AI technologies. We describe this emerging trend of automation as “aware automation,” and in this blog, we’ll trace the trend’s origins; in a subsequent blog, we’ll review potential use cases and benefits.

The Evolution of IT Infrastructure Management Services

Over the years, enterprises have added heterogeneous applications, tools and technologies to their IT environments, making the IT infrastructure complicated and laborious to manage. Consequently, 72% of enterprises cite IT infrastructure complexities as a key hurdle to becoming a digital-enabled enterprise1.

Enterprises have started to invest in automation, generally beginning with RPA for managing the IT infrastructure complexity and streamlining IT processes, but soon discover that it may not be enough. Only 34% of the enterprises are optimistic about the outcome of their investment in RPA2. However, infrastructure services automation needs a paradigm shift to manage IT infrastructure complexities associated with digitally-enabled businesses (see Figure 1).

Traditional automation and RPA have proven to be inadequate in resolving IT complexity. While RPA/traditional automation tools have been successful in boosting productivity by replacing redundant and manual tasks with automated ones, they have proven to be insufficient in handling unstructured, judgment-based and incomplete queries. Therefore, traditional automation/RPA offerings are useful as a cost-efficiency lever, rather than as a digital enablement lever.

Figure 1

Source: Everest Group

The Rise of ‘Aware Automation’

The concept of aware automation refers to a combination of intelligent automation and cognitive/AI-driven automation (as seen in Figure 2):

Figure 2

Source: Everest Group

Automation, analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) comprise the “codifying elements” for driving aware automation, which if implemented correctly could potentially re-imagine the existing IT infrastructure services model to deliver better back-end agility, flexibility, and fluidity. IT infrastructure management embedded with aware automation represents the next frontier for digital businesses to reduce cost and improve services resilience.

Leveraging automation, analytics, and AI to drive an aware automation initiative enables the introduction of a broader and more complex set of operational use cases into IT infrastructure services automation. As adoption levels scale and processes become orchestrated, the benefits potentially expand beyond cost savings to exponential value around user experience enrichment, services agility and availability, and operations resilience. We will explore some potential use cases and best practices for aware automation in a forthcoming blog.

For more on this topic, please refer to Everest Group’s published report: Everest Group – AI Stands to Make IT Infrastructure Services “Invisible”

Sources:

1) Everest Group survey with 200 CIOs / IT heads of large enterprises (>US$ 1 billion revenue)

2) Everest Group survey with 169 CIOs / IT heads of large enterprises (>US$ 1 billion revenue), where percentage provided indicate the proportion of enterprises rating the parameter 8 or above on a scale of 1 to 10

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