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Artificial Intelligence in Digital Operations

Artificial Intelligence in Digital Operations
Not a week goes by where I don't see a vendor claiming that they have applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) to running digital businesses (there was a new one this week, but I began writing this beforehand). The list of vendors continues to increase, and when digging into the technology, the marketing is often overstepping the use of the AI term. Let's take a step back and understand what AI is from a computer science perspective.
The traditional problems (or goals) of AI research include reasoning, knowledge, planning, learning, natural language processing, perception as per Wikipedia. The other interesting trend is the application of the AI effect. This term explains that as we apply models and data to problems, and create algorithms to solve these problems, we move the problem outside of the scope of AI. Thus, abusing term AI to describe much of what we do in technology. Most of the technology itself is not complex when it comes t…

Digital Business Operations : Fire Your CMDB

As outlined in a prior post, Digital Business operations require new thinking and new technologies. As Operations evolves to meet the needs of Digitalization, so too must the core systems of record for operations. When running a data center with physical assets, or even user assets such as laptops, printers, and desktops the CMDB was a useful construct to understand what you had, things were static, and thus the problem was more easily solved. In reality, almost no one had an accurate CMDB, they most often hovered around 80% coverage, based on the beliefs of staff, and often were driven by a combination of automated and manual processes. The use cases for the CMDB are often tied to ITSM processes such as request, incident, problem, and change management. By having good data capture to record asset and component ownership and configuration it made these processes more robust, reliable, and accurate.

By using discovery tools which crawled technologies or leveraged the network for data d…

CIO Insights: Gartner CIO Survey Shows Canadian growth increasing

Being a Canadian, and to celebrating Canada turning 150 years old, I wanted to call out some interesting trend data I recently came across. Having spent a good amount of time visiting with customers in Canada in 2017, as I do each year I have noticed changes in the country. Quite possibly due to the changes in government and the political climate, or change and progress in the private sector.
In Canada, there are economic challenges today, mostly due to a high reliance on natural resources, and low market prices today. Even with these difficulties there are increased IT budgets in Canada, surpassing the global average growth rates based on the Gartner IT survey data.

When breaking this down further, only 38% of government employees projected budgetary growth versus 64% of non-government respondents in Canada. Comparing these to last year the numbers were 16% and 57% respectively. Canada sees increased investment from a technology perspective based on the survey group. Much of that inve…

Digital Business Operations the new mode for IT Operations

Recent conversations I've had with others in the IT Operations space helped formulate an idea I have been working on for a while concerning the future of Ops. The old mode of operating, you can call it ITIL based, or mode 1, or whatever you prefer is not going to be the primary mode of operations in the long term. Senior leadership has acknowledged this and made concerted efforts to change their habits of hiring, spending, and roadmaps for technology and delivery of new functionality.
More advanced teams operating in an agile manner, or mode 2 consist of smaller more integrated teams made up of individuals with different skills. These teams are meeting today's digital business challenges. In most enterprises, these teams are part of a bimodal strategy, but bridging the gap between mode 1 and mode 2 is something few have solved. I'm personally not sure this is possible due to cultural and fundamental differences in beliefs and trust. In many organizations, there is a high de…

Instrumentation is Changing... Finally!

I've always been a fan of trying to solve complicated problems. As an end user, I applied various technologies and tools to diagnose some strange ones over the years. Applications have become increasingly decoupled and distributed requiring the monitoring and diagnostics to change significantly. Let's look at a short timeline of the changes which have occurred, why these changes were necessary, how they helped solve a technological shift, and which challenges remain.
Phase Why How Overcome Component monitoring Distributed systems became pervasive High-end solutions (CA, BMC, HP, BMC) became commoditized (Solarwinds) Event correlation Too many monitoring tools (still applies) created information overload Enterprises rely on antiquated tools, many have given up. Log analytics Diagnostics too challenging in distributed systems Splunk unlocked it, but ELK has commoditized it. Front-end monitoring Customer centricity is the key for digital business Hasn’t yet been well adopted, penetration is sti…