Blog

It’s finally time to move from reactive to proactive IT support

07.25.2022 | By Mark Speyers
 

The need for IT organizations and IT support to be “more proactive” is nothing new. After all, in particular, the IT service desk has long been branded as a “reactive” capability that’s in a constant cycle of fire-fighting. 

Proactivity might have previously been viewed as a “nice to have” or a “nice to be,” however, the increased importance of technology, particularly in enabling remote operations and workers, now means that the benefits that IT proactivity brings can no longer be ignored.

The traditional route to IT proactivity – problem management 

IT service management (ITSM) has always offered greater proactivity to IT organizations, especially through problem management. In fact, the term “proactive problem management” has long been part of the ITIL lexicon.

Problem management is a core ITSM capability where ITIL 4 defines a problem as: 

“A cause, or potential cause, of one or more incidents.” 

With the purpose of problem management: 

“…to reduce the likelihood and impact of incidents by identifying actual and potential causes of incidents and managing workarounds and known errors.” 

Source: AXELOS, Problem Management ITIL 4 Practice Guide (2020)

The proactivity that comes from adopting problem management capabilities comes in two key forms:

  1. The removal of the root causes causing repeat incidents, i.e. this is proactively reducing the impact of incidents
  2. The identification and remedying of potential incidents before they occur or the business feels their adverse effect.

For the latter, the key benefit is disruption prevention – including major incidents – and the costs, delays, and potentially the lost customers and adverse brand impact that results. Here, the IT organization can highlight where and when a service interruption might happen and take the necessary action(s) to prevent it. 

Organizations can also use other ITSM capabilities such as monitoring and event management, availability management, or capacity and performance management through which they can forecast or predict future states and issues. 

Now, thanks to advances in ITSM and IT management thinking that technology innovations have enabled, IT organizations have new ways to move from reactive to proactive IT support.

Newer, technology-enabled, proactive capabilities

Two specific IT management capabilities now offer your IT organization even more proactivity:

  1. AIOps 
  2. Digital employee experience management (DEX)

These capabilities aren’t entirely separate because, depending on the perspectives taken, there can be a significant overlap between the two in terms of using artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled capabilities.

Each capability and the associated benefits are explained next.

AIOps 

AIOps is a portmanteau of “artificial intelligence” and “IT operations” because AIOps uses AI technologies to enhance IT service delivery and support capabilities. The Gartner Glossary states: 

“AIOps combines big data and machine learning to automate IT operations processes, including event correlation, anomaly detection and causality determination.” 

Source: https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/aiops-artificial-intelligence-operations

AIOps solutions collect monitoring and IT asset data from various sources and analyze this to deliver insights related to the health of IT operations. It differs from traditional event management capabilities because it can handle large datasets in real-time, which humans struggle with using traditional monitoring tools.

AIOps solutions filter out the distracting “noise” coming from various sources. With IT operations staff no longer needing to sift through a sea of meaningless alerts, they can focus on what matters most. 

The proactivity from AIOps comes in two keys forms:

  1. The use of machine learning to automatically identify issue-related patterns in the data and the associated implications, along with the root-cause analysis needed to determine the cause
  2. Automated actions such as auto-remediation and dynamic capacity optimization proactively address issues as they happen or, ideally, before they adversely affect business operations and employees.

Using AIOps, IT organizations can detect, diagnose, and resolve issues before people are aware of a problem – upping service availability and productivity and reducing the burden on the IT service desk.

DEX

While AIOps might be viewed as maintaining infrastructure health to ensure that the IT and business services that use it remain available and perform at agreed levels, DEX solutions are related to employee experiences.

The need for proactivity in this area has grown in recent years thanks to the working-from-home (WFH) and working-from-anywhere (WFA)-related needs that started with the global pandemic. DEX solutions allow IT organizations to understand how the IT infrastructure performs from an end-user or employee perspective. And, as with AIOps solutions, AI-based capabilities add to proactivity – allowing IT organizations to monitor, manage, and improve the delivered experiences.

In doing this, DEX solutions provide capabilities that facilitate proactivity, such as:

  • Experience and performance monitoring
  • Root-cause analysis
  • Real-time automated remediation
  • End-user initiated remediation
  • Preventative capabilities.

Such that, as with both problem management and AIOps solutions, an IT organization can proactively identify and fix an issue before it has an adverse business and employee impact.

What this means

There are readily available solutions for the continued pressure experienced by reactive IT support teams. The deliberate move to proactive activities and the enabling technologies will reduce the volume of issues hitting the IT service desk and the adverse business impact they cause. 

Importantly, this is not only the rapid recovery from business-affecting issues but also the ability to identify and address issues before they hit business operations and outcomes.

If you would like to find out more about how your IT organization can move from reactive to proactive IT support, please talk to SymphonyAI Summit solution expert here

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