AIOps AI Digitisation Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay ServiceNow has strengthened its strategic partnership with IBM and will leverage IBM Watson across its product suite. Using Watson AI Ops, launched in May this year, it intends to help customers reduce operational risks and lower costs for customers. It will achieve this through the delivery of improved insights and more. Watson will power ServiceNow’s IT Service Management and IT Operations Management to assist businesses to identify and resolve or prevent IT issues.

Arvind Krishna, Chief Executive Officer, IBM commented: “AI is one of the biggest forces driving change in the IT industry to the extent that every company is swiftly becoming an AI company. By partnering with ServiceNow and their market leading Now Platform, clients will be able to use AI to quickly mitigate unforeseen IT incident costs. Watson AIOps with ServiceNow’s Now Platform is a powerful new way for clients to use automation to transform their IT operations.”

Bill McDermott, ServiceNow CEO
Bill McDermott, ServiceNow CEO

This ushers in a new phase in the relationship between the two companies. In 2018 the companies announced that IBM would extend its Multicloud management Platform with ServiceNow’s IT Service Management and IT Operations Management solutions.

ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott added: “For every CEO, digital transformation has gone from opportunity to necessity. As ServiceNow leads the workflow revolution, our partnership with IBM combines the intelligent automation capabilities of the Now Platform with the power of Watson AIOps. We are focused on driving a generational step improvement in productivity, innovation and growth. ServiceNow and IBM are helping customers meet the digital demands of 21st-century business.”

A partnership with substance

This partnership will also continue to deliver substance. IBM and ServiceNow will work on a solution that will combine IBM Watson AIOps with ServiceNow’s intelligent workflow capabilities and market-leading IT Service Management (ITSM) and IT Operations Management (ITOM) Visibility products.

ServiceNow ITSM will push current and historical incident information into Watson. Once there, Watson AIOps will identify anomalies in the data and aim to provide root cause analysis of failures that would take, according to ServiceNow, a human 60% longer to manually identify. ServiceNow did not evidence this figure, and in some ways, it seems arbitrary. There is a possibility that Watson might surface solutions that humans would take far longer to identify.

Once IBM Watson AIOps has carried out its learning process, it can then deliver analysis, insights and recommendations for currently occurring anomalies and faults in real-time. This could help prevent future downtime through preventative maintenance. Perhaps a storage arrays performance deteriorates, alongside other factors Watson might highlight this will lead to a failed disk drive. If IT replace the drive before complete failure during a maintenance window, this could avoid performance issues and further downtime.

Importantly these insights and recommendations are surfaced within the ServiceNow incident tickets. Effectively, IBM Watson becomes the expert support agent that can access, update and provide insights across multiple tickets. This makes the IT support team more effective without having to leave the ServiceNow environment. IBM believes that incident resolution time can be reduced by 65 per cent.

The new solution will be available later this year, and IBM and ServiceNow will jointly market it. Further information is available about IBM Watson AIOps and ServiceNow’s approach to modernizing IT. Part of that joint go to market will see IBM increasing its services practice.

Services expanded

IBM is expanding its ServiceNow practise adding capabilities to provide advisory, implementation, and managed services on the Now Platform. Through the partnership, ServiceNow is co-investing in the training and certification of IBM employees to expand the practice. ServiceNow is also dedicating addition staff to customer success in the expectation that customers will take up this new solution.

IBM has also created a new Watson AIOps Elite Team. This is a consultancy dedicated to advising and assisting clients on how to build and refine their AI models to gain better insights into IT. IBM is currently not charging out this team. The inference is that ServiceNow is one of the first benefactors of this new team. Potential customers will want to take note. It could provide access to data scientists with expertise in IT issues that can help create personalised algorithms for specific use cases.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This could be a significant step for IBM Watson. IBM first announced that it wanted Watson to power up service desks in 2017. ServiceNow is not the first to take advantage of the capabilities of IBM Watsons in this sector. BMC also revealed that it was using IBM Watson to power up its Remedy Management suite with AI insights as far back at 2018.

There are a couple of questions. How much will the new solution cost? Also, how popular will it be? What is clever about the new solution is the potential of free consultancy for firms to enhances and personalise their algorithms. For large organisations facing the huge challenge of the shift to home working, is this the right time to invest? As incidents of working from home grow, the data will become a rich source of information for Watson. It may help to keep homeworkers productivity level up.

If customers do take up this solution it could significantly increase revenue for both ServiceNow and IBM. Importantly if it delivers value to ServiceNow customers, other vendors may also want to partner with IBM.


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