So much of the digital transformation conversation is naturally focused on technology, but technology alone isn’t transforming any business. The rest of the story depends on the people and evolving the culture to drive adoption, champion benefits, and advocate for wider acceptance.
Driving change organizationally to implement wide-scale IT automation and AIOps starts with developing the right message. People need to understand why business leaders are adopting the technology, and how it adds value to the business overall. Most importantly, implementing IT automation and AI is not about taking away your job, but evolving the maturity of the organization in a way that can yield new and more innovative roles.
A few of Resolve's customers discussed this (and much more) on a recent panel webcast. Watch some of what they had to say about driving cultural transformations at their organizations:
People are Critical
Having the right people in the right roles helps facilitate the necessary cultural changes. These change agents understand the challenges that the operations teams might come across, and they can help them adapt to the new way of working. An automation Center of Excellence (CoE) identifies strategic areas for automation across all areas of the business to unify and streamline technology decisions, establish consistency across regions, and ensure cross-functional alignment. People working in the CoE to develop orchestrated workflows need to be forward thinking and innovative to continuously come up with new ways of doing things.
“Just because you do something one way today, doesn’t mean that you just automate that way of doing it for the future. You might need to improve that as part of the automation journey,” says Michael Hutcheson, CTIO, BT. “That’s why you need the right people in those roles, those that really understand how to do something in a much more streamlined fashion that gives more value back to the customers, to the business, and to the agents and the teams working in the operational environments.”
For Hutcheson, employing passionate people that understand how to innovate is more valuable than the ability to code a thousand lines an hour. Coding is certainly a useful skill to have, but it’s very different from the type of critical thinking skills needed to be a process automation expert. “You’re automating for somebody. Whether that’s your customer or operational teams. You’ve got to understand how it will work for them moving forward, how they fit into that journey,” he says.
Messaging has also been a key part of Fujitsu’s success with automation as a managed services provider. Putting the human at the heart of automation is a tagline Fujitsu’s automation and analytics team has made central to its initiative.
What Evolving Skillsets Look Like
Fujitsu has witnessed first-hand how these new data-driven skills have materialized and how traditional roles are evolving. For example, some first line responders have become content builders in Fujitsu's new organization structure, building out automations and decision trees. They’re valuable in this capacity because they understand how the process was delivered manually. “We took some agents off first line desk teams and brought them into our automation CoE to become business process analysts because they knew better than anyone else how the process was being delivered,” says Angela Abbot, Strategy and Capability Owner for Automation and Analytics, Fujitsu.
Abbot has seen people shift skillsets from operational-type roles to more development roles where they can be part of the digital transformation initiatives. The skills being sought today require understanding the data being consumed and being able to determine what to do with it, whether that’s using machine learning or consuming it into an automation platform.
Secure Buy-in Now for Tomorrow’s Autonomous ITOps
The cultural impact required to implement automation and AIOps must be driven across the entire organization. Sometimes that means securing buy-in at the manager level where some small proofs of concept can go a long way in counteracting any reluctance. For Mark Henninger, director of engineering at Windstream, “If you’re working with the teams on the floor – the managers, the supervisors – to make these things happen, I think they quickly see how they will help them in their day-to-day.”
While there’s a lot of effort to put forth today on laying the strategic building blocks to succeed with automation and AIOps, keeping an eye on tomorrow needs to be part of the plan as well. In the not so distant future, AIOps is expected to mature so that machines make more decisions, which frees up technical people on the floor to perform higher level problem solving. Henninger predicts, “I think in five years, we should be at a point where those tier ones and tier twos are now tier three technicians, so they’re only handling the corner cases that come to them, and the machines are making decisions on understanding the data coming in and handling the day-to-day.”