Will AIOps Eventually Take Over My Job?

Wayne Caccamo
Wayne Caccamo in Best Practices August 31, 2019

In my first post in this educational series on AIOps, I defined AIOps as a category of cloud-based software systems that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automate and transform IT operations. I also defined the key benefits. In my most recent post, I gave you four key business drivers for investing in AIOps initiatives.

Before we go any further, I think this would be a good time to address the potential elephant in the room for end users of AIOps. Members of the BASIS team and Level 2 support community may well be asking themselves, “Will AIOps eventually replace me?”

The short answer is that AIOps has the potential to change these jobs for the better, and in rare cases may fully replace some of them. Here are five good reasons why.

Reason 1: Demands on IT Are Increasing

The reality is that service-level expectations keep increasing and demands on IT operations keep accelerating due to the growth of IT complexity, digitalization, and other strategic initiatives such as cloud and HANA migrations. IT organizations simply cannot keep growing their resources to keep pace with demand.

According to 451 Research, IT infrastructure teams are seeing a 64% increase in work with no change in the number of staff. So, you will need AI-driven insights and automation not just to meet rising stakeholder expectations, but to do so within your budget and headcount constraints. Cutting staff while meeting increasing service-level expectations is not an option. Investing in modern tools to make your processes more efficient and your resources more productive is your only choice.

Reason 2: AIOps Delivers Analytics that Cannot Be Done Today

The key value of AI and machine learning technology is its ability to make sense of large volumes of data, find patterns, and glean insights in ways that are not possible for humans. AIOps is a great example of how AI and machine learning technology harness the volume, velocity, and variety of data to predict trouble, find the root cause, and identify solutions. While AIOps does replace the basic analytic work that is performed manually today, more importantly it augments “gut” intuition and tribal knowledge with hard analytics that improve decision-making quality.

Reason 3: AIOps Reprioritizes Knowledge Work Instead of Displacing It

AIOps focuses resources on more impactful activities and less time on inconsequential tasks. For example, AIOps can help detect real anomalies in system performance behavior so less time is wasted dealing with meaningless alerts. Rather than relying on aimless trial-and-error problem remediation, AI-driven “curated” recommendations refocus bandwidth on insight-driven action.

The reality is that many incidents are never investigated, and many problems are never truly resolved. AIOps frees up capacity to work your way through the backlog of real problems that you should address and learn from so you can turn your attention to higher value-add functions like planning and innovation.

Reason 4: Automation of Tedious Work Is Always Welcome

Where AIOps does replace manual work, it is usually because it automates the most routine, mundane, and frustrating activities. As referenced above, AIOps addresses specific day-to-day frustrations associated with alert fatigue, making sense of a deluge of application performance management (APM) data, and trial and error remediation. (See our blog post, Defining AIOps.)

Reason 5: AIOps Supports Digital Transformation and Competitiveness

Finally, the hard truth is that most of IT budgets—as much as 70-80% in some companies—goes to running and maintaining the IT environment. To remain competitive, IT must find ways to pay down that legacy debt so that you can redirect more of your IT budget to innovation and digitalization. AIOps kills two birds with one stone—IT gains experience and shows the way by digitalizing its own IT operations process and frees up resources to support innovation and digitalization initiatives for business stakeholders.

On the Right Side of History

Since the days of the industrial revolution, the displacement of manual tasks by technological automation has been a cause for concern in some corners, and the net benefit to society has always been a hot topic for in-the-moment debate. History has shown, however, that every major technical advance has created a greater number and variety of jobs, even as it has obsoleted some jobs along the way. As a result, people at every level of any organization understand both the need to constantly drive business efficiency to remain competitive and the opportunity that it presents for them to learn new things and take on more fulfilling roles. This is the best, and most sustainable, way to protect jobs and upskill the IT workforce.

Companies that don’t embrace innovations like AIOps risk finding themselves made irrelevant by competitors that do. This results in larger, more wide-ranging, and longer-lasting job losses than any short-term perturbations that may arise from automation. For IT, automation through AIOps is rapidly becoming table stakes and won’t remain optional for much longer.

Stay tuned for my next post on making sense of the AIOps solution landscape.

If you’re attending SAP TechEd, register for the ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar, “Hands-on with SAP Solution Manager: Adopting the Best End-to-End Strategy to Transition to SAP S/4HANA,” Sept. 23 in Las Vegas. You can also join us for the ASUG and SAP Solution Manager Summit Nov. 5–7 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.