IBM Cloud

Q&A: Dinesh Nirmal on IBM’s New AIOps Elite Team

October 15, 2020

With more business transactions than ever taking place online, unforeseen IT incidents and outages can damage companies’ reputations and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour. To help companies solve this problem by driving AI and automation into their IT systems, IBM earlier this year introduced IBM Watson AIOps. Today the company announced an expanded partnership with ServiceNow, as well as the creation of a new AIOps Elite Team.

Dinesh Nirmal, General Manager for IBM Cloud Integration, explains what the AIOps Elite Team is and how its members will help companies build intelligence into their IT systems.

What do clients stand to gain from IBM Watson AIOps, particularly in light of the expanded ServiceNow partnership?

IBM Watson AIOps, which we unveiled in May, uses AI to automate how enterprises detect, diagnose and respond to IT anomalies in real time. By introducing automation, CIOs can make more informed decisions when predicting and shaping future outcomes, allowing them to spend less time on maintenance and more time on higher-value, strategic work. Together, IBM and ServiceNow will be able to help companies free up valuable time and IT resources from maintenance activities, to focus on driving the transformation projects necessary to support the digital demands of their businesses.

How does the new AIOps Elite Team fit in?

The AIOps Elite Team will be comprised of leading AI engineers deeply familiar with the challenges that IT leaders face on a daily basis and will be equipped to make recommendations for where and how to apply AI in the IT context. They’ll start by working closely with clients to gather data from a wide range of available sources, including ServiceNow incidents, across a hybrid cloud environment.

Many IT executives see AI as a sort of “magic box,” and sometimes don’t know what to do with it in their current operating environment. The AIOps Elite Team will help them break open that box and jump-start the process of using AI to transform how IT systems are managed.

What are some of the benefits the AIOps Elite Team might help clients realize?

IT people spend an enormous amount of time making sure servers and applications are running smoothly. The AIOps Elite Team will help clients introduce AI and automation so they will have the tools to detect and fix problems, many of which start out small, before they become major issues. This will enable IT teams to focus on strategic projects, as the digital transformation of their businesses is accelerating.

This is critical, because we are seeing IT teams these days being measured not just on whether applications and features are running smoothly, but also on the success of those applications or features from users. As IT departments are increasingly held accountable for those business results, IT leaders will need data-driven insights to get there. AI is the enabler for this new Digital Operations Management, and our AIOps Elite team will show customers exactly how.

What types of clients do you think will most benefit from the AIOps Elite Team’s work?

Most of our earliest Watson AIOps customers, including clients with proof of concept projects, are large enterprises in highly regulated industries. Because our technology tracks and records recommended actions, as well as all of the documents and data being fed into the system, it’s extremely useful for creating an audit trail. These customers know that we will not aggregate, sell or utilize their data unknowingly.

“AIOps Elite Team” conjures images of tech-savvy superheroes. Where did you get the idea?

It’s modeled after the Data Science Elite Team, which IBM created a couple years ago to help companies accelerate their AI journeys. By sending small teams of elite data scientists to work directly with companies, we were able to help them get their first AI models into production way more quickly than otherwise would have been possible. The benefits of driving AI and automation into IT systems are clear. It’s my hope and belief that the AIOps Elite Team will help our customers get there as quickly as possible.