Rapid innovations in digitization, automation, machine learning, AI and analytics have created efficiency and productivity possibilities for whole businesses and economies. IT is also benefitting from these innovations, but they need to be prepared to take advantage of them. These technical capabilities have profound implications on IT operations management because they enable IT to be automated, guided by analytics, smarter because of the reception of business insights and early warnings on the pending issues, and very collaborative—all from the ground up. In April, we launched the containerized versions of our IT Operations Management suites which address the core three requirements needed for the IT in digitized business, i.e. continuous operations.
The three requirements include:
Easier IT management
Faster IT in delivery and management of applications and services
Transformative in a way to be smarter IT, more proactive and predictive
Analytics can drive automation intelligently and help infrastructure be more resilient to change—all without the need for human intervention. In domains such as ITSM, this capability brings us one step closer to a no-effort service desk. The automated analytics used in the HPE ITSM Automation suite leverages machine learning intelligence to reveal hidden insights in IT and business data. It was also designed and built for any user to drive efficiency and proactively improve ITSM and IT operations.
Intelligent collaboration between IT Operations and development teams is now possible on a global basis with new capabilities such as ChatOps. Smart Chat Bots can also gather information and leverage machine learning and analytics. As a result of the efficiencies gained by ChatOps, IT staff can increase productivity and focus on important business issues.
Smart Analytics improves staff utilization and reduces TCO
We built these analytics capabilities on the HPE IDOL platform. With the HPE ITSM Automation suite, customers get an OEM-licensed version of IDOL. The IDOL platform enabled us to apply automation further into ITSM processes by mining unstructured data and extracting information from different types of data.
ITSMA can also unlock hidden insights by revealing trends, patterns, and relationships so that knowledge delivery is personalized. The ability to answer questions using natural language enables simple and contextually relevant dialogs between humans and machines has transformed the end-user experience.
Let’s dive into the top five capabilities in HPE Smart Analytics.
Smart ticket functionality enables users or an agent to easily and quickly submit the ticket with just a few details, like the user’s name and the description of the issue. This is just like typing a tweet—#easy. If you have a “blue screen” issue, you can simply take a photo of this with your smart phone, open the ticket by attaching a photo of the “blue screen”, and the smart analytics optical character recognition (OCR) will take the text and place it in a description field.
The ticket will be then automatically classified, and pre-populated with category and affected service, impact, urgency and all other mandatory fields, all based on analytics of past tickets.
Within the ticket, the Smart Analytics automatically uses the description to match the known errors, knowledge articles, and other related tickets that might be relevant. These are returned in a list of results to the agent. Smart Analytics also assists with the automated ticket routing and communicates the status to users. Assigning the ticket to the right agents’ group is extremely important for reaching the SLA. Service desk agents can find answers faster saving effort and guess work, thus increasing productivity. Simple and fast ticket submission improves users’ satisfaction. As we all know, happy users result from a happy service desk.
Smart search allows you to directly type the terms in a search box, and the system will immediately return all related documents, incidents, problems, and requests that match your search. User productivity and satisfaction is increased when the user addresses their needs through the provided suggestions. Smart Search also decreases ticket volume which has numerous benefits for IT, including lowering support and operations costs.
End user chat enables collaboration right from its interface. Users can initiate the chat related to an incident and the conversation is stored with the ticket. Collaboration can be integrated with MS Lync to collaborate with users who are not logged into the ITSM system. The chat first starts with the virtual agent, who accepts queries in natural language. The virtual agent will provide the answer with a list of related articles, requests, problems, etc. In many cases this will solve users’ issue. If these answers are not satisfactory, the end user can chat live with the human agent. End user chat enables IT to be always on and provide a 24x7 support.
Smart email allows users to submit tickets, place an order, or approve requests without logging into our Service Desk. It is enough if a user sends an e-mail and describes the issue or request in the body of the email-body. HPE ITSMA will then automatically create a record and populate the ticket form with all mandatory data—all based on the contents of this e-mail. Additionally ITSMA will automatically reply to the user with various links to potential solutions. From now on, the ticket will be processed either automatically using our Smart Analytics or by the service desk agent. Also managers can approve or deny the requests via e-mail (in most cases from their mobile devices), and not have to go through the system. Similarly as in end user chat, IT can provide 24x7 support and help end users increase their self-sufficiency by using the recommended solutions sent by virtual agent.
Another way analytics are a part of ITSMA is with Hot Topic Analytics. Hot Topic Analytics shows a heat map of keywords grouped together from the unstructured data. The bigger the segment in a heat map, the more incidents or users’ questions matched the same pattern for this topic. We can drill down into different segments, to show more detail where a problem is occurring, or what interest areas have arisen through portal and search. Hot Topic Analytics can turn data into actionable insights because the agents can spot hot topics and identify data trends. From the analytics that are displayed, the agent can quickly create a problem from incidents or even create a knowledge article.
ChatOps – a virtual war room to efficiently improve IT collaboration
ChatOps is an intelligent collaboration- and conversation-driven development, automation, and operations which leverages people, machines, data, and automation. It is IT’s dynamic, multi-media virtual war room. ChatOps helps to solve issues faster in an efficient and transparent way using real-time chat. There is a dedicated chat channel for teams with a common responsibility to help them focus. Several of our tools have chatbot programs (including the ITSMA, the service manager module) that can perform tasks that connect people with the information they need. Chatbots can gather information, leverage analytics as well as machine learning and even automate response to incident remediation.
For example, when a major incident is created in ITSMA, this action creates a dedicated channel—the virtual war rooms. Incident tasks are carried into the channel as well as all the data and information that bots from other tools gathered that are related to this incident. (Think about BSM tools, which could not previously resolve the incident automatically. They now have the power to collaborate data.)
Service owners and subject matter experts are invited to this IT war room. The communication between all members of the IT war room is transparent and visible to everybody. This is true even for people who are invited after some time—communication between humans but also between humans and bots is visible to all.
The team issues commands through ChatBots, such as:
Query status of systems
Share graphs for context
Notify subject matter experts who are not present in the chatroom
Eventually when the incident is resolved, the record will be updated in ITSMA and the whole chat conversation will be attached whole chat conversation to the incident as a journal update. This means that the resolutions for incidents can be re-used.
As a result of these capabilities, people are more productive, teams are more agile, and incidents are resolved more quickly.
ITSM practices tend to gather lots of data. But as the saying goes - gathering data without the right analytics is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do, but doesn’t take you anywhere.
HPE ITSM Automation delivers a game-changing analytics solution, which provides the answers to:
What user needs are and where they find issues
Why incidents happen
What incidents, breaches and failed changes will happen
How to prevent them or minimize their impact
ChatOps improves team communication and contextual insights to increase process efficiency, accelerate problem resolution and minimize downtime. ChatOps is an easy way to accelerate ITSM to match the speed of your business.
I hope you have enjoyed this deep-dive exploration into how automation can help transform your ITSM. If you want to learn more about the potential of automation within your service desk, make sure you read the two other blogs in this series:
Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HPE Software. She has been with HPE for 17 years in R&D, product management and product marketing. At HPE she is responsible for go to market and enablement of the HPE ITOM software products.