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Customers want more automation and better data

A global Cisco study has found that customers looking to innovate need to take the pressure off the IT budget by getting better at predicting where problems might occur

If the channel really wants to help customers, using automation and data analytics are two of the ways that they can support user ambitions to make IT budgets stretch further.

According to the IT Operations Readiness Index from Cisco, the bulk of the current budget being spent by firms on technology (78%) goes towards keeping the lights on.

The firm quizzed those in leadership positions in the IT department across the globe to come up with the report and found that, given the pressure to keep tech running the business, there was little room for innovation. That is a problem in the era of digital transformation' when CEOs are looking to the CIO to change the business.

For those resellers wondering where they can help make an impact, the key appears to be around analytics and giving customers the ability to get “preemptive” capabilities. Data taken from across the infrastructure should be able to predict pain points and outages before they become critical, and twinned with automation it means the pressure to put out the fires is taken off the IT department.

“Through analytics and automation, CIOs can evolve from blindly reacting to events – such as outages – to continuously monitoring and optimising their infrastructures based on predictions of future needs. As a result, they can deliver strategic outcomes for their business partners, with change moving from being surprising and threatening to becoming something to control,” said Joseph Bradley, Cisco’s global vice-president of IoT, blockchain, AI and Incubation Business.

“Gone are the days of IT leaders relying on past monthly reports and hours upon hours of manual operational tasks to deliver results in the face of growing infrastructure complexity. Instead, fuelled by data and empowered by automation, IT can operate in real-time, be predictive, and rely on detailed data to have a true seat at the table, delivering strategic value for their organisation and for their customers,” he added.

One of the key themes that emerged from the report was the idea that data had to be flowing into a business as well as around it. Gaining data from vendors, particularly about security, was important to help users get a more accurate picture of the market landscape.

The message for the managed service player seemed to be to make sure that they were able to offer useful data about security threats and other market issues part of the package.

“In the future, the most successful companies are the ones that have the best quality data, AI algorithms to interpret it and a CDO to ensure quality and consistency,” said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research.

The four stages of maturity

The Cisco report came up with four stages that firms are going through to reach operations maturity:

  1. Reactive – coping with things as they happen.
  2. Proactive – trying to use the lessons of the past.
  3. Predictive – data is being used to respond to events.
  4. Preemptive – data is being used to make sure the business always runs smoothly.

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