Make 2023 the year of automation

Hand turning a knob over grey background and selecting the automatic mode.
Cristina De Luca -

January 14, 2023

In 2023, we will see a further evolution in the demands on the CIO to do multiple things well, simultaneously. This includes understanding the business, creating value, increasing productivity, innovating, maintaining high levels of security and managing a large organization. In addition to traditional cost-cutting, the pressure will also be for leaner, faster and better IT.

In some cases, making these gains will be straightforward. Recent years have led to runaway costs that are relatively easy to cut. Cloud migrations without sufficient attention to cost management are just a typical example. But the CIO’s opportunity and primary focus should be on automating the end of waste.

Any IT task can be automated in some way. So automation can be integrated and applied to just about anything, from network automation to infrastructure to cloud provisioning. Gartner, for example, predicts that by 2025, 70% of organisations will complement continuous application delivery with continuous infrastructure automation to improve business agility.

One of the cornerstones of IT automation is good monitoring. And it can also be automated. Automation not only makes your work easier, it also makes your monitoring routines more reliable. With an advantage: the ROI for automating the monitoring of your IT infrastructure is easily justifiable.

For example, the downtime of a datacenter generates financial impacts easily understood by all. To detect problems at an early stage and thus avoid downtime, “predictive maintenance” has become increasingly important. And it is most effective with automation and monitoring all components of the datacenter infrastructure. Today, in addition to monitoring the IT components and the network infrastructure, monitoring the environmental parameters of the datacenter is becoming increasingly indispensable.

The popular saying goes that “prevention is better than cure”! In the business environment, this idea presupposes having automated visibility and management of all the elements that make up the IT infrastructure. That’s why more organizations are becoming too artificial intelligence to address performance issues and automate fixes before negative impacts are felt.

AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) is a good example. When implemented properly by a trained team, AIOps reduce the time and attention IT staff spend on routine alerts. Emerging, the practice applies Artificial Intelligence to IT operations to help organizations intelligently manage infrastructure, networks and applications for performance, resilience, capacity, uptime and, in some cases, security. By shifting traditional threshold-based alerts and manual processes to systems that leverage AI and ML – Machine Learning, AIOps enable organisations to better monitor IT assets and anticipate proactive actions, to incidents and negative impacts before they occur.

In short, with monitoring, companies identify problems promptly, preventing disruptions by anticipating incidents. With automation, they gain time in incident remediation and free resources for strategic tasks, removing repetitive manual tasks by analysing the root cause of problems and automatically adjusting infrastructure where possible. AIOps steps in to optimize the overall capacity of the IT team with increased throughput and reduced costs.

Many network and application monitoring (APM) tools have already begun to integrate AIOps capabilities. However, the technology has not made any significant progress in managing datacenter infrastructure. And many reasons have contributed to this problem. In particular, the relatively small size of the market and the lack of AIOps capabilities from most DCIM vendors, explains IBM researcher Wei Dong. In a paper published in July 2022 he proposes a viable modular AIOps architecture for datacenter infrastructure monitoring. It could be a useful reference for those who want to know how to implement machine learning algorithms in datacenter monitoring systems.

Another pillar of automation is reliable data. Modern IT needs good performance indicators. The more relevant, reliable and segmented they are, the more basis the IT team has for making sound decisions in pursuit of market objectives. How does automation fit into this story? By comparing data quickly; generating precise reports; promoting corrections and incremental adjustments without human intervention; indicating opportunities and obstacles to increase performance and satisfaction of the internal and external public. More than ever, consumers, employees, and investors expect companies to be flexible and able to launch new services and capabilities as the market demands. 

The power of automation is beginning to reach a critical point for IT in its journey of evolving from the familiar perception of “keeping the lights on”, often taken for granted, to a true driver of change. As digital transformation efforts accelerate, automation is seen as critical in creating and maintaining business value. Simply reacting to business issues in conventional ways will no longer work. Instead, success will be defined by how quickly IT gets out in front and creates business value.

By 2022, 45% of leaders surveyed for Resolve’s “State of IT Automation Report” study considered IT operations management their top priority, with cloud operations just behind integration with other tools (43%) and IT service management (34%). Nearly half (47%) of respondents say their cloud operations have active automation projects underway. And 29% responded that increasing automation this year is extremely – even critically – important. For another 42%, automation is almost vital.

The State of IT Automation: New Pressures Invite New Opportunities
Resource: Resolve

Wherever you sit in IT the automation of IT operations and infrastructure will provide a lever for change, generating new capabilities, fuelling competitive success and stimulating innovation. 

By 2023, automation will be a major asset in the CIO’s collection of resources.