IBM Watson AIOps Helps CIOs Facing Pandemic Disruptions Automate

IBM unveiled a new application of its Watson AI platform at its recent Think Digital conference aimed at CIOs facing disruptions brought on by the pandemic. IBM Watson AIOps  uses artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to automate how enterprises self-detect, diagnose, and respond to IT anomalies in real time.

The Watson AIOps solution was designed to allow organizations to introduce automation at the infrastructure level and help CIOs "better predict and shape future outcomes, focus resources on higher-value work and be better prepared to build more responsive and intelligent networks that can stay up and running longer," the company said.  

"[The travel] industry was hit hard by the pandemic," said Roland Schuetz, EVP and CIO of the Lufthansa Group, in a statement. "Our work in AI over the past several years will help us to mitigate some of the future challenges. Working with IBM to apply its Watson AI technologies has helped us accelerate how we modernize our Data Science Tool Landscape. We use AI to automate processes that result in benefits, such as highly responsive customer care and operational topics. In this way, we are making an important contribution to a solid start after the crisis." 

The new solution is built on the latest release of Red Hat OpenShift to run across hybrid cloud environments, and it works in concert with technologies at the center of today's distributed work environment, such as Slack and Box, the company explained. It also works with providers of traditional IT monitoring solutions, such as Mattermost and ServiceNow. 

"The greatest challenge for organizations is one of alignment," Slack CEO and Co-founder, Stewart Butterfield, said in a statement. "Slack is most valuable when it integrates tightly with the other tools customers use every day, bringing critical business information into channels where it can be collaborated on by teams. By using Slack with Watson AIOps, IT operators can effectively collaborate on incident solutions, allowing them to spend critical time solving problems rather than identifying them."

As part of this solution rollout, IBM announced another a new capability: Accelerator for Application Modernization with AI, which is part of the IBM's Cloud Modernization service. This new capability aims to make it easier for IBM's customers to reduce the overall effort and costs associated with app modernization. It comprises a collection of tools for optimizing the end-to-end "modernization journey" by accelerating the analysis and recommendations for various architectural and microservices options. "The accelerator leverages continuous learning and interpretable AI models to adapt to the client's preferred software engineering practices and stays up-to-date with the evolution of technology and platforms," the company said.

IBM also announced a series of new and updated capabilities designed to give CIOs a "playbook" for operating in this new environment. They list of new capabilities IBM announced includes:

  • Automate Business Planning – IBM Cloud Pak for Data, IBM's integrated data and AI platform, has been updated with new capabilities designed to help business leaders automate the access to critical business-ready data. For example, added to the platform as extensions are IBM Planning Analytics, designed to enable users to automate planning, budgeting and forecasting for business; and DataOps capabilities such as IBM InfoSphere Master Data Connect, which enables users to access MDM deployments in on-premises environments.
  • Automate Business Operations – A major new update to IBM Cloud Pak for Automation, software for designing, building and running automation apps, enables clients to more easily create AI "digital worker" automation solutions. Digital workers automate routine work and collaborate with human counterparts. The new capabilities can help simplify how organizations digitize automation skills, such as data capture, task automation and business routing.
  • Automate Call Centers – IBM Watson Assistant, IBM's AI-based conversation platform, has also been updated "to help intelligently automate the most complex, knowledge-intensive interactions and drive improved customer satisfaction while reducing operating costs." The Assistant now has a pre-built user interface that requires no development to deploy, and it's designed with user experience-based best practices. There's also a new feature called "autolearning," currently in development and due in the product this summer, which the company said will learn from prior customer behavior "o provide the best, most relevant answers to new questions on the same topic. "Just as human agents improve over time by learning from customer interactions, autolearning will now offer similar capabilities for the virtual assistant," the company said.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].