Many of you remember Hal from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. This perceptive computer was charged with the responsibility of controlling a spacecraft’s voyage to Jupiter. The film dealt with the themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology and artificial intelligence, and, ultimately Hal overturns the human commander’s attempt to alter its course. Fast forward to today, and imagine a computer that can see and hear and has a sense of smell and taste. More important, one that can learn just like humans, then apply that knowledge in decision-making and dealing with repetitive actions.
In the world of IT, that is what autonomics is all about, and it offers many benefits. Autonomic technologies eliminate or reduce human intervention required to resolve problems. Immediately after implementation, they become patient observers. They learn how technicians troubleshoot problems and execute tasks. Once the learning curve is complete, the “virtual engineers” become the technicians.
Their adaptive nature enables them to look at each task individually and use their accumulated knowledge to execute the task in the most efficient and effective manner. The result? They are able to execute and manage large amounts of routine tasks and IT support tasks, such as problem management, holistic lifecycle support, and systems monitoring. They offer the best of both worlds, combining the work capabilities of a human with the low error rate of a computer.
In addition, one of the key benefits of this technology lies in its ability to integrate with existing service platforms. Most enterprises today already have problem management systems in place, and they’re often not open to replacing them. Instead of replacing a company’s tech support ticketing system, autonomic technologies can make the system run more efficiently by learning which technician is best suited to resolve a specific problem and assigning the trouble ticket to them.
Like the “shift-left” approach beginning early in the last decade, autonomic systems pave the way for repurposing technical talent onto more challenging projects while leaving the routine or mundane tasks to the computer. This benefits the enterprise in significant cost reductions in support, greater availability of systems and enhanced productivity and career-pathing of people – a triple win across the board.
To compete in the ever-changing world we live in today, the enterprise needs to view and leverage IT as a business weapon as they look to develop a sustainable competitive advantage. Their executives should see IT as essential to business growth, and look for ways to reshape IT to deliver on that objective. Autonomic technologies may be just the right solution for them as an integrated and optimal future for IT where assignments are executed by cognitive computing systems, and employees have time to foster ideas that drive business value and innovation.
Have experience with or thoughts about autonomics, good or bad? I’d love to hear from you and look forward to your comments. Also, check out our CTO Sam Gross’ blog post about how IT only needs to be mindful not to break more than it fixes in harnessing complex technologies such as autonomics.