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Alleviating the Pressure on IT Teams with AIOps
by Shelly Kramer | January 12, 2023

In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast, I’m joined by Carol Wilder, Vice President of Integrated Solutions for Dell Technologies, to talk about the latest in AIOps.

IT teams today are under an immense amount of pressure. They are trying to drive their digital transformation journeys forward, they are trying to simplify their operations in on-prem infrastructure, protecting data in the cloud, dealing with massive amounts of data that is growing at an exponential rate — and they are also focused on ways to do more with less. If you’re in IT, you’re probably nodding along right now. So how do these teams and organizations handle the pressure? That’s exactly what Carol and I discussed.

Our conversation covered:

  • An overview of the worldwide AIOps market, which by some estimates will grow to almost $41 billion by 2026.
  • Why there is so much demand for AIOps and the benefits it can deliver to IT teams, as well as how AIOps differs from legacy IT tools.
  • Where Dell’s AIOps offering fits into the marketplace, as well as some of the benefits customers can experience which include, improved performance and availability of critical business applications, reduced time from problem detection to resolution, predictive analytics, optimized system performance, and cost savings.
  • The value of being able to anticipate issues rather than reacting to issues.
  • Carol walked me through what the future of AIOps holds and shared her thoughts on what IT teams can expect moving forward in terms of features and capabilities. I’ll admit, it got me excited.
  • Last but never least, Carol shared some thoughts on the future for Dell CloudIQ and their AIOps offering.

If you’re ready to relieve some of the burden and pressure on your IT team, this is a conversation you don’t want to miss.

You can view the video of our conversation here:

Or grab the audio on your streaming platform of choice here:

For more information on Dell’s CloudIQ offering, check out our research brief, which you can find here: Dell CloudIQ: Using AIOps to Make Digital Transformation and Multicloud Journeys Smarter.

You can also check out the Dell website for more information, and of course feel free to connect with Carol on LinkedIn if you have any questions – she’d be happy to help you learn more.

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Transcript:

Shelly Kramer: Hello and welcome to the Futurum Tech webcast. I’m Shelly Kramer, Principal Analyst and Founding Partner here at Futurum Research. And I’m here today with Carol Wilder, who’s the VP of Integrated Solutions for Dell Technologies. And we’re going to have a conversation today about AIOps. Some backstory here, if you’re in IT, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, the pressure is on and it is getting hotter every day. And what we know is that organizations and their IT teams are trying to drive their digital transformation journeys forward. They’re trying to simplify operations with regard to their on-prem infrastructure. They’re really focused on protecting data in the cloud and they’re dealing with massive amounts of data, which of course is growing at an exponential rate. All of these things combined with a very real need to do more with less means that many organizations are turning to AIOps. So what do organizations need to know about AIOps? This is exactly what Carol and I’ll be discussing today. And I’m really excited for this conversation. Carol, welcome. It’s great to have you.

Carol Wilder: Thanks for having me. That’ll be great. It’s going to be great.

Shelly Kramer: It’ll be great. So tell me a little bit, if you would, about your career backstory. Set the stage. How’d you get to where you are?

Carol Wilder: I actually was in operations very early in my career in semiconductor test. And I supported and watched the operations of semiconductor test very early and sort of straight away and did a whole bunch of other things and then ended up in data center at a CPU supplier, Intel. And as I was really learning and working in data center, it was like how could we get a better probability of features that were being built in the CPU in an operational way so that they would be valued?

And really tried to understand what was happening in the data center operations and what were their challenges so that we could build technologies that would make a difference. I ended up leaving Intel and then going to a config management company and working on something similar, but also understanding how to optimize that experience. And so that’s how I got involved in AIOps, in observability and really how do I use my data to the best of its ability or best of what I have in order to affect the outcomes of cycle time and resource utilization? And those were the two things that were really important.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. So what’s your role at Dell today?

Carol Wilder: My role at Dell today is cross-platform software and solutions. And so what we aim to do is to take across all of ISG, which is the Infrastructure Solutions Group, and combine it together in one area of cross-platform goodness for software. So that we basically create software that is a normalized customer experience that we can fix once and it will go to many different products and we can make sure that we’re very consistent in what we provide our customers. And so AIOps and what we’re working on with that provides a consistent monitoring and recommendation experience for our customers.

Shelly Kramer: I look at AIOps as really a solution that has the ability to do the heavy lifting for IT teams. And I think that we live in a world, of course, where AI and machine learning are becoming increasingly common as it relates to DevOps and AIOps is the pairing of these two with management tools. And we’ve got a market that is absolutely exploding. So it’s just such an important part of IT operations these days.

Carol Wilder: It is. And there’s a lot of point players. I think the biggest issue continues to be is I can point out a problem, but how do I remediate the problem in a way that doesn’t create tools for all, that that allows customers to get the data in a timely fashion and also in a way that they can subsume that in an easier way. So an easier way. And my point being is that there are some pieces of data that realistically they won’t matter if it’s not like, it’s not a seconds decision. And then there’s other data that it is seconds decision. And it’s being able to work on those recommendations and on the data that [inaudible 00:04:58] and going up that allows customers to optimize their infrastructure operations in a way that makes sense. And I think that’s what AIOps delivers is a way to look at your own infrastructure and know what’s going on and make decisions on a timely basis.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. I read something when I was prepping for this conversation that said there’s no future of IT operations that doesn’t include AI Ops. I’m guessing you agree?

Carol Wilder: Yes, I do. But I also think that there’s a way also, it doesn’t always have to be AI. You can get a long way with state machines, so if that else’s as well. So I always recommend that, okay, let’s look at state machines first and then add in AI. Because AI can in some cases add complexity that is at the first instantiation, not necessary. And then as we move forward, becomes more and more necessary. And so it’s really a multi-variable equation that you have to go navigate in order to help the customers.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and legacy IT tools are still important. I think that’s part of what you’re saying here. And AIOps, they differ from legacy tools, but I think collectively they’re both important parts of that same equation.

Carol Wilder: Exactly. And you have to work within the tools that our customers are using in order to make sure that it fits in. Because once you try to displace tools or add tools, that creates a level of complexity that a lot of customers are uncomfortable with and it requires them to invest. So how do you fit this in with a minimum amount of investment and then add investment incrementally over time?

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. Expecting anyone to do a rip and replace is not logical. So figuring out how things can coexist together, I think that’s an important part of this equation. So let’s talk a little bit about Dell and how Dell fits into the AIOps picture.

Carol Wilder: So Dell has a number of products that are in the monitoring and observability space that basically help our customers to understand their data coming off of Dell hardware and Dell equipment and being able to go into larger tool sets or dashboards or whatever’s required by the customer and be able to do that. And one of them is CloudIQ. And CloudIQ allows us to work with customers on their needs to understand their own infrastructure, both in SRE, in DevOps and we have some offshoots for security. And so that’s what we essentially do here at Dell.

Shelly Kramer: That makes perfect sense. So let’s talk about, there are benefits that every customer’s looking for. They want improved performance, they want a reduced time for detecting problems and problem resolution and that sort of thing. Let’s narrow in, if we can, on some of the benefits that customers get from Dell’s AIOps today.

Carol Wilder: Yeah. So today what they do is we have increased monitoring and we’re able with very specificity to help our customers absolutely understand what they have to do to fix their infrastructure. And so it is a cycle time. I always look at outcomes of products in three. There’s three outcomes customers want. The first outcome is always, by using your software equipment, do I have access to a larger market or am I able to get to a larger market for market share or revenue? The second, is there cycle time reduction. And the third is, are you helping me with resource utilization? So are you able to help me on my human or physical assets? And so what we do is we prioritize the last two so that customers are either saving money or have better utilization so they have more cash left over in order to go fund things that are going to get them to a larger market share.

Shelly Kramer: That is never a phrase that is not attractive, more cash available to do more things. One of the things that I’ve noticed is that, or I’ve seen as part of the value prop here for Dell’s solution, is that it has the ability to reduce issues two to 10 times faster. And can essentially save IT departments the equivalent of one day per week on average. I mean, let me just say this, someone who’s sitting here for the last week going, oh my gosh, I wish I had six more weeks in this month alone. I mean, time is such a valuable resource. So seeing the equivalent of one day per week, that’s a lot.

Carol Wilder: Exactly. The data that we’ve collected, which you cited, thank you, is basically allowing our customers to have time left over in order to go pursue problem resolution, but also be able to pursue other markets or things that they deem important. And as we go forward with that, we’re looking at greater and greater gains with our customers to ensure that they are put in the most competitive position with their competitors and their markets and keep them moving forward.

Shelly Kramer: Where everybody’s trying to be, right? So let’s talk a little bit about the future of AIOps. So I think that what we’re looking at, based on what I know, we’re looking at increased capabilities of AIOps being able to proactively do a lot of the heavy lifting for IT teams moving forward, whether it’s intelligent recommendation engines that speak to capacity performance, I know there are other things. Talk with us a little bit if you would, about the future that you see for AIOps.

Carol Wilder: Yeah, so I think there’s always the data, then there’s the intelligence layer and then there’s the top recommendation layer. It’s basically getting specifics for maybe different market sets on recommendations, but basically finely honing those recommendation engines so that customers get what is meaningful at the time that they need it. So that’s one thing that we’re continuing to invest in. The second is looking at capacity, looking at what potential customers have for resource utilization and being able to use their capacity and other tooling structures so that the effectiveness of their infrastructure is there. We’re looking at system lifecycle, so how do you go through and evaluate your infrastructure from a lifecycle standpoint so that you’re using your equipment in workload placement for the best applications and knowing that that workload placement is getting the best profitability off of that infrastructure?

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. And then you’ve also got firmware updates, which are huge, an important part of keeping systems healthy and whole. And I think that the ability to execute those quickly across a variety of systems is really a key part of the value proposition as well. Am I right?

Carol Wilder: Yes. And all upgrades and all sequencing of updates and also keeping people safe with security and being able to do that monitoring for security as well. Those are things that we continue to improve on.

Shelly Kramer: Right, awesome.

Carol Wilder: And work on.

Shelly Kramer: Awesome. All right. Well, I’d love to wrap this conversation with a look ahead. What can we expect in the future from CloudIQ?

Carol Wilder: I think, well, I know, within CloudIQ we’re looking at continuing to broaden our set of data and understanding what that data is in all products with Dell. So we’re continuing to add to our data set. And then also look at algorithms that provide recommendations faster to our customers, and better. And just basically strengthening that value chain and allowing our customers also, we’re looking at how do we do integrations with other tooling structures so that customers don’t have to have tools for all? So we’re continuing to weigh what are our integrations and what are we going to do? And so it’s strengthening that relationships with our customers of what they’re needing. And then also looking at what are they going to be measuring in the long term and how to basically know that we’re doing the right things in their stead.

Shelly Kramer: Right. Well, it sounds like there’s good things ahead.

Carol Wilder: I think it’ll be fun. It’s going to be great.

Shelly Kramer: There’s good things ahead.

Carol Wilder: Great time.

Shelly Kramer: Well, Carol Wilder from Dell Technologies, thank you so much for joining me.

Carol Wilder: Thank you.

Shelly Kramer: I knew it was going to be a terrific conversation about AIOps for our viewing audience, for our listening audience. If you’re interested in some more information about how CloudIQ can help you or you’d like a deeper dive with Carol and her team, I’ll include some resource links in our show notes for you. I’ll include a bunch of the things that we talked about here. But with that, Carol, thanks so much for spending time with me today. It was a fantastic conversation as I knew it would be.

Carol Wilder: Thank you.

Shelly Kramer: Thank you so much. Take care. Bye.

Carol Wilder: We’ll talk soon.

About the Author

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”