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Autonomic offerings set to transform IT, but outsourcing customers beware

Stephanie Overby | Aug. 29, 2016
IT leaders have more automation options that ever, but not all robotic systems are created equal.

Augustin: One of the key benefits is cost savings through the replacement of human labor by software robots and autonomic platforms. Robots are faster, cheaper, and more productive than people at executing repetitive tasks. What we typically see is that robots will take on a portion of a person's job and free up bandwidth. So we're seeing a lot of re-skilling and redeployment of resources, rather than massive displacements.

Another critical benefit of autonomics is increased accuracy and auditability. Each action performed by the autonomics tool is consistently executed and documented, which helps enormously in meeting regulatory compliance requirements. Autonomics also helps with performance optimization, as data gathered by the systems can be cycled through a continuous feedback loop of data collection, analysis and change actions. Specific quantitative benefits we've observed include faster Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), improved provisioning time for cloud services, and overall improved service levels at lower costs. What are the biggest risks with these new tools?

Augustin: The biggest risk for a CIO is to not understand what they're getting. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It's critical to understand the problem you are trying to solve. Am I trying to increase productivity? Reduce cost? If the problem isn't clearly defined, [the solution may not] match the need.

This sounds basic. But in today's environment, where the solutions are relatively immature, it's a challenge for CIOs to really understand the features and benefits of the various offerings.

Another risk is underestimating the need to redesign the organization, its processes and how people and technology interact. When that happens the benefits of the tools can be delayed or compromised. What has been the impact of autonomics on traditional IT service providers?

Augustin: The impact on traditional providers is enormous. The competitive advantage of outsourcing -- particularly for the India heritage firms -- has been people resources, specifically the availability of low-cost, skilled labor in offshore locations. Autonomics fundamentally undercuts that competitive advantage. When it comes to performing routine and rules-based tasks, people can't compete against robots on a cost or productivity basis. So at a macro level, we're seeing location and labor costs becoming less relevant. Service provider differentiation will become more and more about thought leadership in the specific industry vertical than the lowest cost solution.

For service providers, this shift represents both a threat and an opportunity. The threat is obviously losing existing business to autonomics. The providers recognize this, and several have said publicly that they will be reducing their headcounts and focusing on building their automation capabilities. Many of the tier-one service providers have rolled out an automation platform in the past 18 months.


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