5 Essential Technologies to get your Distributed Enterprise Future Ready

The global pandemic of 2020 permanently changed our working dynamics.  What is easily missed is how much the workplace has changed too.  Whether and how much work will return to the workplace (versus work from home) is a matter for a different blog.  Here, we want to talk about how the workplace has changed forever: especially the distributed enterprise. 

To be fair, the distributed enterprise is not a new concept at all.  From an IT/networking perspective, distributed enterprises always moved away from a centralized IT infrastructure to connected islands to maximize convenience, networking and efficiency, faster access, and localized control. 

In a borderless economy, where businesses fiercely compete for resources and market share, it is fair to expect re-architecting systems and networks to maximize customer benefits and increase employee flexibility.

How will you make the Distributed Enterprise future-ready? 

Here are our top 5 tech picks: 

Computing is moving to an Edge near you!

Powered by a significant increase in computing power and ubiquitous bandwidth, suddenly, it is possible to move the computing power to where it needs to be, rather than where it always was.  Be it in a user’s hands, PoS (Point of Sale) at a retail counter, manufacturing assembly line, or CSP (cellular service provider), the edge has moved closest to the point where it needs to be.  This comes with advantages such as faster response times, localized approvals saving a round trip to the central server, increased privacy, security, and reduced cloud costs.

Daihen, a Japanese manufacturer of industrial electronics equipment, realized that their Osaka plant could not handle data from dozens of sensors.  The data was being processed remotely by a cloud server, and response time was slow.  The solution came in the form of an Intelligent Edge solution from FogHorn that makes complex machine learning modules run on highly constrained devices.  The results were almost immediate: improved speed, higher accuracy, drop-in defect count, all of which encouraged them to increase investment in the Edge in the following year.

The Cloud is going hybrid

While the transition from an on-premises server to the cloud has been a work in progress, the cloud itself has metamorphosed entirely.  The distributed enterprise can now have a mix of premise, public and private cloud, as required based on business needs. 

The enterprise must be careful not to get locked into a hyper-scaler vendor’s vision of the future but keep options open to realize their own.  Since many of these paths are evolving, the enterprise needs to engage deeply and tread carefully while committing to future road maps. 

The CSP (cellular service provider) is also evolving and is now a major cloud provider with advanced capabilities in Service Edge and SD-WAN (software-defined Wide Area Network).  CSPs have blurred the line between enterprise and carrier cloud with their offerings.  With upcoming 5G rollouts, massive IoT networks, mmWave, and network slicing requirements, their cloud and edge capabilities will be of an entirely different scale.  Enterprises will need to understand how to best harness offerings from each vendor without compromising their requirements.

Enterprise software also has disaggregated from a monolithic form split into microservices (via containers) where code, debugger, utilities, and algorithms may be contained within the container and control routed appropriately to the parent code block as required.  Containers make decoupling of applications convenient by abstracting them from the runtime environment.  This way, they are deployed agnostic to the target environment.  These smaller services can be highly efficient and lend themselves to high scalability, but not without loading DevOps teams with the additional pressure of housekeeping. 

When Ducati, a global automotive giant, undertook a data center modernization project, they expected gains, but that was not how it turned out.  The hybrid cloud dramatically changed their perspective of what is possible.  The data awareness, speed, and minimal footprint across departments brought a new level of productivity that was not planned.

Hyper Automation

Currently, an emerging trend but likely will become mainstream as many of the required elements are already falling in place.  Hyper Automation refers to the coming together of systems, processes, software, and networking to automate most known processes with zero-touch human intervention resulting in ‘robotic process automation’ sequences. 

This advanced state of automation will require stable AI, ML modules, and integrating IT and OT (operation technologies in the IIoT world), where machines will make decisions and keep routine systems running.  Real-time monitoring and analytics are logged for a supervisor to check and intervene if necessary. 

Understanding documents through OCR (optical character recognition), emails using NLP (natural language processing), and enhancing automation using AI / ML data flows are increasingly common.  Banking and healthcare have seen successful deployments of OCR and NLP.

Data will soon be everywhere, but how about Security?

Security will become such an essential parameter for business success that the CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) might well, if not already, be the most important executive in the economy.  With billions of IoT devices from airplane tires to connected cars and heating systems at offices and production lines going online, the opportunities for a security breach just went up a notch.  And every incident will only dilute human trust delaying further progress and slowing down growth. 

With geopolitical scenarios going worse, cyber warfare being a reality, there is no telling when some of these will start impacting enterprise system security.  This is an ongoing new reality – almost as real as the pandemic. 

Quantum computing, the emerging innovation in high-speed computing, will be a threat too.  It is believed that current-day data breaches are being tapped and data being stored for analysis and targeting after quantum computing power becomes available (because current computing could take years to decipher this data).  Some cyber experts believe the advanced planning and methods of cybercriminals are years ahead of the capabilities of corporate IT security teams.  And that can be a cause for worry.

AIOps

When Gartner coined the term AIOps, it meant Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (or Algorithmic IT operations).  They referred to a “method of combining big data and machine learning to automate IT operations and processes, including event correlation, anomaly detection, and causality determination.”

AIOps is a set of methods or practices that makes rapid data processing possible for vast volumes of data, which then feed into an ML engine to predict issues.  AIOps will be very much a requirement for the DevOps teams.  They try catching up with data and problems across hybrid environments to support agile processes in ever-changing platforms and networked silos. 

US infrastructure provider Ensono provides infrastructure support to mission-critical processes of many top enterprises.  As its volumes started growing, it became important for Ensono to invest in AIops to ensure its ability to monitor client hardware and software would not be compromised.  Investing in TrueSight AIops helped Ensono decrease its trouble ticket numbers from over 10,000 to a few hundred per month.  This is the power of AI ops.

In conclusion, remember no one has a crystal ball into the future.  But going by current technology trends in the distributed enterprise, some things are clear: growth, chaos, and churn are predicted.  It helps to have a trusted consulting team of experts on your side to learn from, seek advice from, and leverage from experience.

At Trigent, our domain experts have delivered solutions, charted digitization route maps, and provided distributed enterprise workflow design and architecture for future growth to global leaders in every sector. 

We are happy to share our learnings.  Do give us a call.  Drop us a line.  We are listening.

Understanding the Scope of AIOps and Its Role in Hyperautomation

The rapid acceleration of digital transformation initiatives in the modern business landscape has brought emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to the fore. Integrating AI into IT operations or AIOps has empowered IT teams to perform complex tasks with ease and resolve agility issues in complex settings.

Gartner sees great potential in AIOps and forecasts the global AIOps market to touch
US$3127.44 million by 2025 at a CAGR of 43.7% during the period 2020 to 2025. From just US$ 510.12 million in 2019, it is expected to touch a whopping US$ 3127.44 million in 2025. It believes 50% of organizations will use AIOps with application performance monitoring to deliver business impact while providing precise and intelligent solutions to complex problems.

A global survey of CIOs iterates why AIOps is so critical for IT enterprises. The survey pointed out that despite investing in 10 different monitoring tools on average, IT teams had full observability into just 11% of the environments. Those who needed those tools didn’t have access to them. 74% of CIOs were reportedly using cloud-native technologies, including microservices, containers, and Kubernetes, and 61% said these environments changed every minute or less.

In comparison, 89% reported their digital transformation had accelerated in the past 12 months despite a rather difficult 2020.
70% felt manual tasks could be automated though only 19% of repeatable IT processes were automated, and 93% believed AI assistance is critical in helping teams cope with increasing workloads.

AIOps offers IT companies the operational capability and the business value crucial for a robust digital economy. But AIOps adoption must be consistent across processes as it would fail to serve its purpose if it merely highlights another area that is a bottleneck. AIOps capabilities must therefore be such that the processes are perfectly aligned and automated to meet business objectives.

Now that we understand how crucial AIOps is let’s dive deeper to understand its scope.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data have all been spoken about in great length and form the very backbone of Artificial Intelligence for IT operations or AIOps. AIOps are multi-layered technology platforms that collate data from multiple tools and devices within the IT environment to spot and resolve real-time issues while providing historical analytics.

What is AIOps?

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data have all been spoken about extensively and form the very backbone of AIOps. AIOps comprises multi-layered technology platforms that collate data from multiple tools and devices within the IT environment to spot and resolve real-time issues while providing historical analytics.

It is easier to understand its importance if we realize the extremely high cost of downtime. As per an IDC study, an infrastructure failure’s average hourly cost is $100,000 per hour, while the average total cost of unplanned application downtime per year is $1.25 – 2 billion.

The trends and factors driving AIOps include:

  • Complex IT environments are exceeding human scale, and monitoring them manually is no longer feasible.
  • IoT devices, APIs, mobile applications, and digital users have increased, generating an exponentially large amount of data that is impossible to track manually.
  • Even a small, unresolved issue can impact user experience, which means infrastructure problems should be addressed immediately.
  • Control and budget have shifted from IT’s core to the edge as enterprises continue to adopt cloud infrastructure and third-party services.
  • Accountability for the IT ecosystem’s overall well-being still rests with core IT teams. They are expected to take on more responsibility as networks and architectures continue to get more complex.

Why AIOps?

With 45% of businesses already using AIOps for root cause analysis and potential forecasting problems, its role is evident in several use cases, as mentioned below.

Detection of anomalies and incidents – IT teams can leverage AIOps to see when anomalies, incidents, and events have been detected to follow up on them and resolve them. The thing with anomalies is that they can occur in any part of the technology stack and hence necessitate constant processing of a massive amount of IT data. AIOps leverages machine learning algorithms to detect actual triggers in almost real-time to prevent them. Full-stack visibility into applications and infrastructure helps isolate the root cause of issues, accelerate incident response, streamline operations, improve teams’ efficiency, and ensure customer service quality.

Security analysis – AI-powered algorithms can help identify data breaches and violations by analyzing various sources, including log files and network & event logs, and assess their links with external malicious IP and domain information to uncover negative behaviors inside the infrastructure. AIOps thus bridges the gap between IT operations and security operations, improving security, efficiency, and system uptime.

Resource consumption and planning – AIOps ensures that the system availability levels remain optimal by assessing the changes in usage and adapting the capacity accordingly. Through AI-powered recommendations, AIOps helps decrease workload and ensure proper resource planning. AIOps can be effectively leveraged to manage routine tasks like reconfigurations and recalibration for network and storage management. Predictive analytics can have a dynamic impact on available storage space, and capacity can be added as required based on disk utilization to prevent outages that arise due to capacity issues.

AIOps will drive the new normal.

With virtually everyone forced to work from home, data collected from different locations varies considerably. Thanks to AIOps, disparate data streams can be analyzed despite the high volumes.

AIOps has helped data centers and computer environments operate flawlessly despite the pandemic through unforeseen labor shortages. It allows data center administrators to mitigate operational skills, reduce system noise and incidents, provide actionable insights into the performance of services and related networks and infrastructure, get historical and real-time visibility into distributed system topologies, and execute guided or fully automated responses to resolve issues quickly.

As such, AIOps has been instrumental in helping enterprises improve efficiency and lighten workloads for remote workers. AIOps can reduce event volumes, predict outages in the future, and apply automation to reduce staff downtime and workload. As Travis Greene, director of strategy for IT operations with software company Micro Focus explains, “The end goal is to tie in service management aspects of what’s happening in the environment.”
AIOps and hyperautomation

A term coined by Gartner in 2019, hyper-automation is next-level automation that transcends individual process automation. IDC calls it digital process automation, while Forrester calls it digital process automation. As per Gartner’s Hyper-automation, organizations rapidly identify and automate as many business processes as possible. It involves using a combination of technology tools, including but not limited to machine learning, packaged software, and automation tools to deliver work’.

Irrespective of what it’s called, hyper-automation combines artificial intelligence (AI) tools and next-level technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) to automate complex and repetitive tasks rapidly and efficiently to augment human capabilities. Simply put, it automates automation and creates bots to enable it. It’s a convergence of multiple interoperable technologies such as AI, RPA, Advanced Analytics, Intelligent Business Management, etc.

Hyperautomation can dramatically boost the speed of digital transformation and seems like a natural progression for AIOps. It helps build digital resilience as ‘humans plus machines’ become the norm. It allows organizations to create their digital twin (DTO) or a digital replica of their physical assets and processes. DTO provides them real-time intelligence to help them visualize and understand how different processes, functions, and KPIs interact to create value and how these interactions can be leveraged to drive business opportunities and make informed decisions.

With sensors and devices monitoring these digital twins, enterprises tend to get more data that gives an accurate picture of their health and performance. Hyperautomation helps organizations track the exact ROI while attaining digital agility and flexibility at scale.

Those on a hyper-automation drive are keen on making collaborative IT operations a reality and regard AIOps as an important area of hyper-automation for breakthrough IT operations. When AIOps meets hyper-automation, businesses can rise above human limits and move with agility towards becoming completely autonomous digital enterprises. Concludes John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice-president at Gartner, “Optimization initiatives, such as hyper-automation, will continue, and the focus of these projects will remain on returning cash and eliminating work from processes, not just tasks.”

It’s time you adopted AIOps too and deliver better business outcomes.

Accelerate AIOps solutions with Trigent

Trigent offers a range of capabilities to enterprises with diverse needs and complexities. As the key to managing multi-cloud, multi-geo, multi-vendor heterogeneous environments, AIOps need organizations to rethink their automation strategies. Our consulting team can look into your organizational maturity to know at what stage of AIOps adoption you are and ensure that AIOps initiatives are optimized to maximize your business value and opportunity.

Our solutions are intuitive and easy to use. Call us today for a business consultation. We would be happy to partner with you on your way to AIOps adoption.

Understanding the Concept of Anywhere Operations and Its Scope

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on many things including the way we work. We have all transitioned into the digital world for virtually everything. The massive shift has posed infrastructure challenges to organizations urging them to re-examine traditional methods of working and enable a ‘work from anywhere’ culture. It has also become important for enterprises to use their resources wisely both during and after the pandemic. They are now pulling up their socks to prepare for the evolving needs of hybrid workspaces in the New Normal.

What they truly need is Anywhere Operations – an IT operating model Gartner believes 40% of organizations would have applied already by the end of 2023 to offer a blended virtual and physical experience to employees as well as customers. It is garnering a lot of attention since the time it has come into being.

So what is Anywhere Operations after all and how does it impact enterprises? Let’s find out.

The concept

Remote working has become a reality that will continue even in the future. In a recent survey by Gartner, 47% of the respondents said they intended to allow employees to work remotely full time. Explains Elisabeth Joyce, Vice President of advisory in the Gartner HR practice, “The question now facing many organizations is not how to manage a remote workforce, but how to manage a more complex, hybrid workforce. While remote work isn’t new, the degree of remote work moving forward will change how people work together to get their job done.”

As boundaries between real and virtual environments continue to blur, enterprises need to ensure ubiquitous access to corporate resources. There is greater dependability on digital tools and the resilience of enterprises will largely depend on how well they deploy them. Enterprises will have to adopt a more serious approach towards the transformation of their IT infrastructure – be it devices & apps or remote IT support and cybersecurity.

It is imperative that businesses deploy management solutions that allow teams to work in tandem and continue to enjoy the same accessibility irrespective of the location they log on from. Anytime Operations, clearly, is inevitable and the need to match pace with the fluid working style of today will push it towards mass adoption. Remote work however is more about the workforce whereas Anywhere Operations includes customers into the mix so that customers are also able to connect and interact for all their needs any time from wherever they are.

When implemented correctly, Anywhere Operations will serve as the perfect model for building resilience and flexibility.

Anywhere Operations supports:

  • Remote work
  • Remote deployment of products/services
  • Business partners, stakeholders, and customers

It encompasses productive business operations and its core objective is to ensure that these operations can be managed effectively from literally ‘anywhere’.

Anywhere Operations is not just an enabler of work from home, online customer support, or remote deployment of products/services but an organizational paradigm that offers value across multiple areas. These include:

Collaboration and Productivity

The need to attain the pre-pandemic level of collaboration and productivity has led to the emergence of virtual offices replete with task management tools, meeting solutions, club office suites, digital whiteboards, and video conferencing platforms. This enables employees to see each other, interact, conduct meetings, assign tasks, share ideas in real time, review space occupancy and usage, etc.

Remote assistance is crucial to enable sharing of digital replicas of devices and maintain real-time analytics. While it was easier to visit the client’s office in the past, the need to implement XR tools is being felt today to facilitate better collaboration around tangible objects and help clients in this period of social distancing.

Secure Remote Access

Development teams and clients are provided secure remote access via cloud solutions powered by firewalls to ensure safe access to the virtual environment. In order to fortify the security measures, ways and means are being explored to replace traditional VPN for users operating in multiple time zones.

Identity & Access Management (IAM) solutions that enable multi-factor authentication, passwordless authentication, Zero Trust models, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are now being applied to ensure secure access to data and applications, anywhere, any time. Cybersecurity mesh is also being considered by modern enterprises. While ensuring timely responses and a more modular security approach, it makes identity the security perimeter.

Cloud and edge infrastructure

Organizations had already started discovering the power of automation and how certain tasks that were being performed manually needed immediate automation. In order to ensure 24/7 secure access, ubiquitous cloud migration was important.

Distributed cloud now has become the future of cloud computing and provides edge cloud for a nimble environment. Edge computing provides an opportunity for enterprises to collect a huge amount of data from various locations separated by distance and time zones to create efficiencies and bring down operating costs. It ensures that cloud computing resources are closer to the location where data and business activity is.

Project management and product development tools along with CRM tools used by sales and marketing departments are therefore being moved to the cloud. Enterprises are shifting infrastructure to cloud to ensure governance and accessibility for business continuity. Apart from flexibility and security, cloud solutions offer cost benefits with respect to smart repository usage.

Enterprises are looking at integrating IoT and 5G technologies to catalyze connectivity beyond imagination. The ability of IoT to allow back and forth flow of data makes it critical for dynamic business environments of today and will continue to drive edge-computing systems. Cloud and edge infrastructure will help avoid latency and gain real-time insights. Cloud and edge architectures will minimize time lags in data processing to help industries perform computing tasks closer to where data is gathered quickly.

AI edge processing is now being leveraged extensively for applications that have sub-millisecond (ms) latency requirements and helps circumvent bandwidth, privacy, and cost concerns. Enterprises are now critically evaluating their API platforms that serve as the essential building block on the road to successful digital transformations.
Google’s recently rolled out Apigee X is a case in point.

Says James Fairweather, chief innovation officer at Pitney Bowes, “During these uncertain times, organizations worldwide are doubling-down on their API strategies to operate anywhere, automate processes, and deliver new digital experiences quickly and securely,”
Automation to support remote operations

Automation will be at the helm of operations in a bid to minimize human intervention. Enterprises are now keen on automating tasks that can help make better business decisions.

Enterprises are increasingly using AIOps platforms that connect ITSM and ITOM to deliver high-value insights that can predict outages, prioritize events, and get to the root of event patterns to fix them. The modern AIOps platforms help a great deal for discovery, endpoint automation, and self-enablement. Zero-touch is also being deployed for automatic provisioning and configuration of devices without manual involvement.

Quantification of the digital experience

Dubbed as ‘total experience’, digital experiences are a culmination of customer experience, employee experience, and user experience that can be tracked by mapping the EX and CX journeys. Quantification concerns the entire interaction from the time the first contact was made up to the present day. As interactions get more virtual, distributed, and mobile, total experience will give enterprises the edge to reach new frontiers of growth and make technological leaps.

Enterprises need to offer better technology to support the hybrid workforce while supporting the buying behaviors of customers. Just offering a great customer experience is not enough, and effort must be made to monitor and respond to experiences in real time to strengthen the relationship with employees as well as customers.

Achieve Anywhere Operations with Trigent

With decades of experience in turning insights into strategies and a sophisticated suite of products to drive your business, we can help your organization usher in a much-needed technology transformation for achieving Anywhere Operations seamlessly. We can be your trusted partner in delivering Enterprise IT solutions.

Talk to our experts for a business consultation.

7 reasons why you should adopt a Virtual Command Center (VCC)

In my interaction with a customer, he complained about the rising number of network, infrastructure, and application issues while working remotely. He referred to his current persisting issue with their enterprise collaboration tool, and upon calling his infrastructure support team, he was being informed about the probable reasons why this happened. He dryly remarked to me: “I don’t wish to get into the nitty-gritty of why the app is not running. I just want these problems to be resolved – fast and easy.”

Sounds familiar? I guess so. Most professionals wish to leverage communication and collaboration technologies to perform their core functions; they are not keen on understanding the underlying technologies. More so in the new normal of remote working, where we place a premium on business continuity.

Is your infrastructure support team struggling to provide frictionless access to your distributed and remote workforce? In the technology stack, the limelight is hogged by the uppermost layer, applications, where value creation happens. The infrastructure, atop whose foundation the entire stack rests is the least focussed. Unless it’s a time of peak utility or a panic-inducing calamity, which is where we currently are.

What we need is the smooth functioning of all enterprise applications, devices, and the infrastructure supporting it. The key is to enable integrated monitoring and management of your applications and infrastructure – like our next-gen Virtual Command Center (VCC).

Moreover, a siloed collaboration between Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) is inadequate to be future-fit. The next normal requires businesses to virtualize and integrate the NOC and SOC.

Based on my experiences and customer interactions, I share the 7 key reasons why businesses must adopt a VCC solution.

  1. VCC is complex, but not a black box

The driving factors of the VCC solution and the way it works is undoubtedly complex, but explainable. It’s like a central engine where the intelligence from across the organization is continuously collected and analyzed. The insights derived provide threat intelligence and situational awareness. You can tune its functioning with your organization’s goals.

We are witnessing successful adoption across verticals and market segments (enterprise and mid-market) to overcome anxiety brought about by unpredictable disruptions. Now, more than ever before, you need to continuously oversee the health of your network to empower employees to ensure business continuity.

  1. Harness real-time analysis:

With enterprise IT assets monitored in real-time, there’s a tab on data, network resources, communication tools, devices, servers, and infrastructure. All reflected and operated from live dashboards. The enterprise-wide visibility eliminates the need to cater to each issue individually, and instead provisions troubleshooting at the root cause level.

Integrating SOC with NOC enables you to detect anomalies and vulnerabilities even before they escalate into an issue. Combining these helps you mobilize response teams faster and empowers you to respond to them proactively and promptly.

  1. Leverage strong incident management:

As they say, you don’t dig well when your house is on fire. It helps to create a priority ranking and escalation pipeline before the storm hits you. By establishing the processes and procedures to deal with incidents, recurring and unforeseen, your organization can respond in a thoughtful manner, instead of reacting spontaneously.

  1. Build trust and transparency

A virtualized and integrated NOC-SOC provides for a higher level of visibility and enforcement of service level agreements (SLAs). Visualizing data and reports through easy-to-grasp graphical representation of alerts, indicators, and patterns provide a solid foundation to quickly investigate issues and record them for reference.

  1. Reduce MTTR:

Leveraging automation and new-age tech will help you reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR). VCC helps you rise above the fragmented workflows, unactionable alerts, data overload, and insights scarcity. It enables you to rise above the pervasive noise to detect patterns as they emerge and proactively respond to it.

  1. Manage remote and branch offices effectively:

The next-gen VCC needs to be acclimatized to the new normal of work from anywhere, all-digital environment. The confluence of data streams from across the organization and locations empowers both the organization and the employees to make data-driven decisions. As a result, your organization is fully capable of containing internal ripples even as your customers experience operational continuity.

  1. Leverage AIOps:

The conventional systems and technologies are inadequate to meet the staggering strain on infrastructure due to the overnight shift to working remotely.

AIOps enables you to automate IT operations, including correlating events, discovering anomalies, and establishing causality. It enables you to reduce repetitive tasks and concentrate on adding value to your offerings. It forms the basis for building a VCC that is self-aware and self-healing.

For more information, you can watch our webinar on the next-gen Virtual Command Center.

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