This content is part of the Conference Coverage: IBM Think 2022 news, trends and analysis

How AI and automation play a role in ITOps

Tech professionals agree that AI, intelligent automation and cybersecurity play important roles in the enterprise and can revolutionize ITOps when implemented and used correctly.

In recent years, slews of tech professionals have turned their attention to AI, automation and cybersecurity and the benefits they can provide in the enterprise. 

At IBM's Think 2022 conference, a session titled "Rethinking ITOps with AI and automation" provided insight on the need for digital transformation and the role AI, automation and cybersecurity play in this effort to modernize IT operations.

If organizations want to transform and scale to meet today's challenges, AI will need to play a key role in accelerating this, according to the speakers. AI not only automates repetitive tasks so human professionals can focus on innovation and moving forward, but the technology also mitigates contemporary global issues such as supply chain disruption.

"I've seen a lot of organizations using AI technology for charting out the whole network of the ecosystem of the supply chain," said Ritu Jyoti, program vice president of AI strategies at IDC's software market research and advisory practice. "You can do it dynamically, on the fly and in real time."

Artificial intelligence can also quickly identify when it's important to go in a different direction.

"If this particular supply ecosystem doesn't work, what are the alternate routes?" Jyoti said.  

For businesses going through digital transformation, there are three distinct challenges, according to Ritika Gunnar, vice president of IBM Expert Labs. Those challenges are acquiring the technology or tools needed to complete a digital transformation, identifying the processes that need to adapt and changing the company culture. Culture is the most difficult to change because organizations need to reposition and retrain all types of workers.

AI and automation are essential ingredients in this effort, as are having the right personnel. Specifically, when organizations automate manual processes, like watching stocks or administering bank loans, with AI and automation, workers can shift from performing these manual, repetitive tasks to perpetually training the AI and automation models and algorithms. That way, they aren't being replaced by these technologies. 

Meeting cybersecurity challenges with AI and automation

The current state of cybersecurity, and its huge ramifications within modern data-driven businesses, was another big topic at IBM Think. Cyber attacks are increasing across industries, with critical infrastructure and government organizations particularly vulnerable.

AI and automation are essential ingredients in this effort, as are having the right personnel.

"When critical infrastructure is down, it's affecting quality of life," said Stephanie Balaouras, vice president and group director at Forrester. "It's affecting physical safety of individuals. It's drastically affecting the economy, so there's a huge emphasis on critical infrastructure."

Automated security technologies can help. For instance, an IT security incident could trigger an automated business action. This new type of business ops model would be like "an automated flight plan where a series of bots work together to collect, enrich and correlate data," according to Jerry Cuomo, vice president of technology at IBM.

For example, say an IT service reliability bot produces data about defective services, then a business event kicks in where a bot is triggered with precise information about all compromised accounts. Affected customers are contacted and the business saves money by avoiding further harm.

Current efforts show promise for the future

Session attendees saw an example of QRadar XDR, an IBM cybersecurity tool that uses AI and automation. It processes 100 billion events per day, and 75% of those alerts are handled without human intervention. Businesses that are enthusiastic about scaling and transforming digitally should be evaluating how AI, automation and cybersecurity capabilities can serve as critical infrastructure to help them meet the challenges of the future.

Day two of the conference closed out by showing how the U.S. government partners with industries to foster innovation -- particularly investments in AI.

"When we're looking at what the technologies of the future are, it's baking security and safety into technology so that safety and security aren't an option," said Kiersten E. Todt, chief of staff at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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