Speed and agility are everything in today’s ultracompetitive digital economy. The faster companies are able to launch new online services and mobile app updates, the better their chances of outperforming their rivals and keeping pace with the ever-changing needs of empowered consumers. In recent years, we’ve seen organisations looking to build on this advantage by looking at how new technologies can enable greater digital agility that allows them to create and deliver better customer experiences.
As a result, there has been rapid adoption of microservices, dynamic cloud environments and software-defined datacentres, resulting in a major shake-up of the digital ecosystem.
However, whist they do enable the agility that businesses are looking for, these technologies also add new layers of complexity to an already convoluted IT environment. This is making it impossible for IT teams to manage application performance and prevent costly downtime without the aid of advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The Rules Have Changed
The challenge is that in these new, more agile digital ecosystems, a single application can consist of hundreds of microservices. A fault in just one of those components can bring the whole house of cards tumbling down.
To complicate matters further, the self-optimising nature of the dynamic infrastructure supporting today’s applications means the service delivery chain between the application and its users changes from one minute to the next, and thousands of rapidly shifting, highly intricate interdependences are already powering core services like online banking, eCommerce sites and mobile gaming apps. This has made it impossible for a human operator to map out their service delivery paths and truly understand what is happening within their applications.
This limited understanding presents a major problem, as today’s consumers expect mobile apps and online services to work seamlessly every time. They won’t hang around waiting for a webpage to load or an app to launch; a delay of just seconds can lead to increased abandonment as potential customers click away and defect to a competitor.
A full-scale outage can cost over $300,000 an hour according to Gartner’s estimates, but the longer it lasts, the greater its impact on revenue and reputation. This is bad news for those struggling to get to grips with modern dynamic IT environments. Without the help of advanced cognitive computing capabilities, they face the impossible task of trying to pinpoint the root-cause of any service degradations from within thousands of constantly evolving data-sets.
Reaching Goals Quicker with AI
The potential of AI to solve the challenges faced by IT departments was demonstrated when Google’s Alpha Go beat professional Go player Lee Se-dol last year. The significance of its victory was that it is impossible for a computer to win a game of Go through brute force calculations given the sheer number of possible moves and the importance of reacting to your opponent.
Alpha Go proved that AI can read complex situations and determine the most appropriate course of action based on constantly changing circumstances. This same principal can be applied to help businesses overcome the complexities of managing modern dynamic IT environments.
By integrating AI with digital performance management workflows, IT teams are much better able to rapidly evaluate the health of their digital ecosystem. The advanced cognitive computing capabilities of AI also enable IT teams to understand the consequences that will result from any given configuration change. This means they can identify the best solution to optimise performance from amongst multiple possible fixes.
However, the true value of harnessing AI in digital performance management is the ability to pinpoint and resolve the root cause of complex service issues before customers feel any impact. AI can analyse the thousands of sources of performance data coming from the IT ecosystem in next to real-time, giving it the ability to identify potential issues as they develop and alert IT teams to the situation, along with a recommended solution.
A Winning Customer Experience
As companies deploy more new technologies to bring digital services to market faster, they need to ensure their IT ecosystems continue to function seamlessly, or any potential advantage will be lost. The task of delivering a high-quality customer experience will continue to become more difficult alongside rising IT complexity. In the process, monitoring digital performance using conventional methods has become obsolete, just like technologies of the past.
AI provides the only realistic solution to solving this challenge, and when combined with other technologies, its potential is seemingly endless. For example, AI can be combined with chatbots, like Amazon’s Alexa or Siri, to enable IT teams to have a doctor/patient relationship with their digital ecosystem. Rather than having to trawl through dashboards and data, they can just talk to their systems and ask questions to identify and resolve performance issues.
Ultimately, this consumerisation of digital performance management will help to elevate this increasingly business-critical issue to the right level – the boardroom. With top-down support and business and IT resources working together in an efficient way toward creating and delivering better customer experiences, success is around the corner.