The journey to AIOps begins with an automation-first mindset

  • Now on Now
  • Thangavel Viswam
  • Solutions
  • 2021
May 13, 2021

Delivering on the promise of AIOps

Abhishek Gupta, manager of application development at ServiceNow, contributed to this blog.

AIOps isn’t an IT magic wand, but it sometimes works like one.

One day last fall, our IT ops team was heads down on a major cloud migration project. Meanwhile, ServiceNow Event Management detected a high volume of alerts from the monitoring system—600% more than usual. That typically means a lot of unplanned work for our IT team, not to mention a delay in our cloud migration schedule.

[Learn more about the promise of AIOps at Knowledge 2021.]

The new AIOps capabilities in ServiceNow® IT Operations Management (ITOM) were our magic wand. Using historical data and text-based correlation (included in the Paris release of the Now Platform), our AIOps solution combined the noisy alerts into a single incident. The magic wand part was the fact that the system did all of this automatically; we didn't have to manually comb through an avalanche of alerts.

To date, AIOps has reduced our IT support and IT ops incidents by 39,000, saved 13,000 hours, and helped us realize $397,000 in savings. Those are some pretty big wins, and we’re just getting started.

Those wins only happened by taking a systematic approach. Here’s what we learned in our journey to deliver on the promise of AIOps:

Cultivate an automation-first mindset

IT’s traditional role is reactive: Something breaks, and we fix it fast. An automation-first mindset is proactive: anticipating and helping prevent things from breaking in the first place or, if there is an issue, addressing it quickly.

To do this, we had to make data-driven decisions, which required a single source of truth for data. We also needed to make changes to drive self-healing. This meant addressing gaps such as implementing major incident management, improving our problem management process, and revamping change management.

ServiceNow's three-zero strategy in AIOps: zero outages, zero physical footprint, and zero incidents

Use AIOps to enable the strategy

AIOps is just a bunch of technologies unless it’s part of an overall strategy with clear outcomes. At ServiceNow, we call it our three zero strategy:

  • Zero outages – Use AIOps, predictive analytics, and other technologies to create a self-healing infrastructure to help ensure100% service availability.

  • Zero physical footprint – Move everything to software as a service and the cloud.

  • Zero incidents reported – Although we can never prevent someone from spilling coffee on their laptop, we’re all in on virtual agent, AI, and self-service workflows to get as close to zero incidents as possible.

Sure, it’s bold, but that’s how you tap into everyone’s—and everything’s—full potential and push boundaries.

Plan the journey

Start with a self-assessment to understand where your ops maturity is with respect to people, processes, and technology. Identify use cases that align with your strategy and prioritize them—for example, by return on investment, cost savings, strategic benefit, or user productivity gains.

It’s also critical that you evaluate your staff—both roles and skill sets—to determine where you need to train and grow.

Integrate, integrate, integrate

Broaden the Now Platform® integrations to include SaaS solutions—for example, how logs flow in from Zoom phone to ServiceNow Event Management. This is crucial for voice call quality and can proactively identify issues.

Integrations are also helpful in smoothing the IT staff transition to AIOps by putting everything in one pane of glass.

Map next steps with data

Data is the fuel that drives IT decision-making, so make data quality an investment priority. That way, you’ll be able to prioritize use cases that deliver maximum business value.

Data also helps surface new focus areas for AIOps, such as personas. What capabilities and services can IT deliver to make a salesperson—or product engineer or software developer—more productive?

The AIOps journey to zero outages

The power of AIOps

Let’s close with another example. As part of a data center migration to the cloud, we temporarily shut down a primary VPN authentication server at 10 pm.

As we streamed the VPN logs to Health Log Analytics (HLA, based on Loom Systems technology), ServiceNow Predictive AIOps detected an anomaly and proactively notified the operations team, which fixed the issue within 30 minutes. A worst-case scenario—3,600 users losing VPN connectivity—was averted with zero impact to users.

AIOps is a hot trend in IT, and ServiceNow IT is all in. But it’s important to get on board for the right reasons. If you stay focused on your goals—in our case, three zeros—AIOps will open opportunities to innovate, deliver game-changing solutions, and take you from incident firefighter to strategic business partner.

See us at Knowledge 2021

Join us at the Knowledge 2021 session, Delivering on the promise of predictive AIOps using ITOM, where we share our AIOps journey and the key lessons we learned during our implementation. The session is available on demand, and registration is free.

ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.


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