Choosing End-to-End Over Best-of-Breed for IT Operations

3 minute read

All things being equal, it makes more sense to have one system for all of your IT tasks, rather than dozens of specialty systems. A single system means a single point for data collection, easier automation, a single upgrade cycle, and no need to deal with multiple billing cycles and service reps. Read this article to learn more.

What if you could rebuild your entire software stack from the ground up? Would you choose dozens of vendors and integrate each of their disparate systems? Or would you choose a single vendor that provides a solid solution in each and every software category? All things being equal — price, functionality, customer service, etc. — most would choose a single out-of-the-box solution.

In reality, many companies have relied heavily on incremental upgrades in order to improve their software stack. Instead of rebuilding everything from scratch (which admittedly is a massive and expensive undertaking), they search for a single best-of-breed system to fill a particular temporary need. They then do their best to connect this new system to every system that came before it.

What most companies discover when employing this level of incrementalism is that it’s much more difficult to yield a single aligned data set from multiple cloistered systems. To find accurate data on an end-to-end process, they have to trace steps from one system to several others to ensure continuity. At times, data gets lost in translation, especially within integrations that require two-way communication. What they’re left with is at best a monstrous process that requires substantial manual labor, or at worst incorrect or even incomplete data.

The next phase of modern IT operations is about easily developing automated processes between solutions. If you have accurate data, and if you can communicate between all of your solutions (two big “ifs” when dealing with a best-of-breed approach), you then have to figure out ways to build automations between systems. Depending on the length of your end-to-end loop, these automations can be cumbersome, and even the slightest modification to the ecosystem will require a total rewrite. Tighter integrations mean better data, which ultimately leads to more automation and more productivity. This should be the goal for any IT operation.

The End-to-End Approach

We built Amelia AIOps (formerly 1Desk) to achieve that exact objective. Within IT operations alone, a company can have 20 or more solutions handling processes that impact one another. A configuration management database (CMDB), for example, helps you manage configuration, relationships and dependencies, as well as business-related information such as owners, vendors and standard operating procedures. Monitoring tools are responsible for logs, performance and configuration changes. Anomalies within monitoring systems are sent to ITSM systems. And on and on it goes.

Rather than building bulky integrations between all of these tools, you can purchase a single end-to-end product. When the time comes to upgrade, or to patch something, instead of upgrading each application separately and having to rejigger all of your integrations, AIOps upgrades as a single product.

AIOps also monitors and learns everything there is to know about your entire product suite. Every manually performed resolution is recorded and analyzed by the system. AIOps will then make recommendations based on that analysis to improve future use. If two users both resolve a similar issue in different manners, and one requires fewer steps and less time, AIOps will recommend that approach as the permanent fix. Additionally, the system will learn that resolution itself, and automate the process if and when possible.

What we’re aiming to provide our clients with AIOps is a closed loop for continuous improvement and automation. By using the data collected via the platform’s analytics and insight, we can help to build a self-improving system that spans multiple functionalities.

Other Important Considerations

One of the key differentiators in AIOps is Amelia, our cognitive agent. Amelia sits on top of every system in your software stack to perform tasks. If you need to assign a task to an employee, you can simply ask Amelia to find someone with the appropriate skillset. There’s no need to log into a ticketing system, choose an event from a long drop-down menu and then search your employee database to find the appropriate engineer. The same goes for back office workers: If they need to reset a password, or find Wi-Fi access, they can simply ask Amelia for assistance, rather than sending an email -- which goes into a ticketing system, then gets assigned to an employee, who then responds several hours later. With Amelia and AIOps, we enable true on-demand IT.

Some customers still prefer a best-of-breed approach, or have little choice but continue on that path due to time and budget constraints. In those instances, Amelia can sit on top of every solution within your software stack, so we’ll help you build the necessary integrations. However, when you purchase AIOps for your entire IT operations stack, you get Amelia fully trained out-of-the-box on all Level 1 and most Level 2 tasks.

Another question worth considering: Do I really want to work with multiple vendors? This means multiple billing systems, multiple points of contact for service, multiple upgrade cycles and company data handled in multiple environments. For many this is the status quo, but it’s certainly not ideal. By choosing AIOps as your end-to-end solution, you do away with this multi-vendor complexity and minimize the associated headaches.

A solution like AIOps reveals new ways that enterprises can ponder how to approach future IT operations, and whether business as usual in best-of-breed, or end-to-end with a unified solution, or if necessary some combination of both, is the best way forward.


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