Industries adopt AI and IT automation on hybrid cloud to stay competitive
Enterprises face significant challenges when implementing hybrid cloud automation — enough so that many may wonder if the ends justify the means. IT automation affords many benefits to customer-facing and back-office processes, as well as to products and services, but will these benefits truly translate into lower costs, greater profitability or better outcomes?
Even from today’s vantage point, it’s clear that continued adoption of automation can streamline enterprise operations and improve businesses’ competitive positions as they head into the service-based economy. The key is to know how to implement and use IT automation strategically.
Maintenance IT automation
One of the key advantages of automation is that it improves maintenance and reliability of complex systems. Whether we’re talking about transportation, manufacturing or data-driven industries such as finance and healthcare, automated management capabilities can optimize performance. But simply throwing IT automation at problems is not likely to be of much help. This is why truly effective automation requires four key enabling technologies:
- Cognitive analytics: By enabling management systems to forecast potential trouble spots in complex systems, enterprises can prevent catastrophic events. They can also maximize uptime and offer improvements in performance, safety and other factors.
- Real-time pattern recognition: Traditional maintenance methods rely on rough figures based on past records and broad assumptions on materials and component life cycles. With constant data flooding into analytics engines describing what is happening at any given moment of operation, automated systems gain a higher state of awareness of system health.
- Dynamic automation: Instead of waiting for instructions to be entered manually, a dynamic system can take corrective action on its own. This may include removing a failing component from service, shifting loads to nearby components or alerting maintenance crews long before a failure occurs.
- Continuous compliance: By maintaining systems within predefined operational standards, IT automation can improve the life cycle of complex systems and ensure they are compliant with regulatory standards, even as those standards are updated or change across jurisdictions.
To achieve this level of IT automation, enterprises will have to adopt a number of cutting-edge tools such as an integrated data lake and knowledge base. A cognitive system is only as good as the data it can access, so a modern data lake is necessary to ensure data is not only stored and conditioned properly but mined quickly and efficiently.
Intelligent hybrid cloud automation
In addition, the cognitive engine itself — which in IBM’s case is powered by IBM Services Platform with Watson — must be capable of learning all aspects of managing hybrid cloud infrastructure. This will ultimately enable it to make autonomous decisions regarding systems and client support. This is crucial, because data environments will soon be too large and complex for manual, human-guided oversight.
Finally, enterprises will need to adopt a services integration model that offers the flexibility to compose modular services from multiple providers. This is the only effective way to shift both infrastructure and operations to meet rapidly evolving business needs at a global scale.
In the modern digital era, trust is everything. Organizations that can maintain reliable service while providing new options and ways of accomplishing tasks will find themselves at the top of customer retention and loyalty metrics. This applies whether the service being offered relies on physical, virtual or cloud-based infrastructure — downtime is the killer of trust.
For enterprises to not only survive but thrive in the new economy, automation backed by dynamic, cognitive intelligence must become a common element in the distributed data ecosystem.
Learn more about IBM Cloud Services powered by IBM Services Platform with Watson.