These days, every business is a software business. And if you’re building your software business in Microsoft Azure, you know the payoffs can be huge. But CIOs also need to be aware of The Software Storm™, its implications for software businesses and the strategies they need to adopt to mitigate risks, maintain agility and protect competitive advantage.
What is The Software Storm?
If you’re a fan of George Clooney movies, you know what a Perfect Storm is: a particularly violent storm arising from a rare combination of adverse meteorological factors. But unlike George, who narrowly escaped disaster in a fishing boat off the Grand Banks, CIOs are exposed to The Software Storm – a.k.a. the risk that comes from the convergence of three mega-trends in digital business:
- The hyper-adoption of technology across all businesses and verticals
- The business side of organizations (not IT) driving technology adoption
- Thousands of interdependent, interconnected applications and devices
Add to this the specific challenges faced by CIOs and IT leaders who are managing an integration strategy based on Microsoft technology; they may be in the middle of a migration of business-critical applications running on BizTalk Server in on-premise data centres to the Azure cloud, introducing a whole new dimension.
Watch this 1-minute video for a quick explanation of The Software Storm.
In short, The Software Storm exposes companies to the risk that comes with the complexity, hyperspeed of change and higher-than-ever expectations that come with doing business in today’s markets.
Moving to the cloud will solve all my problems, right?
These days, we see many companies migrating parts of all of their Microsoft integrations to Azure. The payoffs of a cloud transition can be massive – paying dividends in the areas of flexibility, agility and speed of rolling out new services to meet business demands.
But this inherent speed and flexibility can also have a backside: loss of control.
Most technical employees don’t consider consumption cost – they just want to create great functionality to get the job done. Deploying a new Azure service takes only a couple of minutes (vs. hours or days when there was hardware in the picture). It’s easier than ever before to spin up a new test VM, and even easier to forget to turn it off over the weekend, racking up unnecessary consumption costs. Turning on elastic consumption in Azure can be the equivalent of “set it and forget it”, giving up further control.
Costs aside, most companies who move their data and applications into the cloud experience that the number of critical systems and services increases, among other things due to microservices.
The “Citizen Integrator” also comes into play here, with non-technical employees empowered by new cloud user interfaces to make changes and connect new services without ever touching a line of code. Great for agility, but not ideal for governance and control in The Software Storm.
And up to now, there have been no good systems to easily gain insight into Azure, as we painfully experienced during our own Azure cloud transition.
We’ve felt the pain ourselves
At AIMS, we use Azure to host our own SaaS solutions, and we’ve felt the pain caused by lack of control and insight into our Azure environment.
We received quarterly invoices and weekly estimates on consumption, but it was really difficult to understand what was actually driving the costs. When we adjusted what we thought was the reason for a cost increase, there was no immediate feedback on the effect, so we just had to wait and see if it worked.
We decided to put our own artificial intelligence technology into use and developed a system that monitors consumption from hour to hour. This gave us a level of granularity that just wasn’t possible using Microsoft’s default reports, and it paid off almost immediately. We could see the root cause of our Azure consumption costs on an hourly basis, and more importantly, got immediate feedback on the impact of adjustments on costs.
This ended up in Azure costs savings of 40%. Not bad, huh?
We realized pretty quickly that this was something our customers could benefit from, so we rolled these new capabilities in the AIMS platform.
The solution to The Software Storm is governance – the effective monitoring, measurement and management of software. In other words, CIOs need to adopt strategies, systems and software to provide insight and control over complex and changing IT infrastructure.
And these days, many CIOs are adopting AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) strategies and solutions to achieve the governance – insight and control – they need to manage their software business in The Software Storm.
AIOps is an umbrella term for the use of big data analysis, machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies to automatically identify and solve common IT issues, including predictive analysis to detect problems before escalating and affecting operations.
And if you remember the three factors at play that cause The Software Storm – hyper adoption of technologies, business driving tech adoption and thousands of interdependent applications – it’s easy to see how governance driven by manual intelligence will always come up short.
But don’t just take our word for it. Markets & Markets predict that the AIOps market will grow from 2.6 to 11 billion USD by 2023, an annual growth of 34 percent. Gartner says that by 2019, 25% of all global businesses will have implemented an AIOps platform, and Frost & Sullivan's Big Data Survey states that 54 percent of businesses plan to invest in analytics tools to handle the growing complexity of IT infrastructure and software.
So, what are you waiting for?
AIOps empowers CIOs to maximize enterprise performance
Simply put, AIMS applies AIOps to help CIOs gain intelligence into the software and technologies that drive their business.
At a strategic level, this results in increased agility to respond to business demands, improved enterprise performance and real (not imagined) control. This pays off in several big ways:
- CIOs get better governance (read: insight and control) over the performance of their software business in The Software Storm.
- The deep insight provided by AIOps also provides a common language that can bridge communication and align business and IT toward shared goals.
- AIOps helps identify weaknesses in a software business and predicts issues before they have a major impact.
- AIOps grows the value of your data, enabling deep analysis that arms CIOs to drive innovation and find new ways of making data-driven business decisions.
And AIOps for Azure also pays off at the operational level
For IT leaders who own an Azure cloud strategy, the AIMS Platform provides capabilities to govern Microsoft integrations during the transitions to the Azure cloud, through hybrid and beyond. We help in four concrete ways:
- Auto-detecting legacy/on-prem applications that are candidates for Azure migration
- Monitor performance of applications as they’re migrated to Azure
- Monitor performance of applications across hybrid Azure and on-prem deployments
- Control Azure consumption costs through anomaly-based warnings
The insight we provide for Azure has been designed to give IT leaders not only performance insight and governance, but also active cost control through understanding which of your resources are driving unpredictable Azure costs.
If you’re building your software business on Azure, or are transitioning from on-premise Microsoft integrations to the Azure cloud, there’s a good chance that AIMS AIOps solutions can be your unfair advantage.
Contact us to learn how we can help you gain insight and control in The Software Storm.
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