At last AI for enterprise IT

Artificial intelligence (AI) has grabbed the attention of science writers and commentators. “How brainy networks will remake our world,” announced last month’s issue of Scientific American magazine. Voice commands on smartphones, chess-playing computers and driverless cars have offered the public a fascinating early insight into AI.

Companies and their IT directors, though, are looking to AI to offer more important and tangible benefits. Currently most are simply employing static automation technology, usually as a way of reducing headcounts and costs, and without any cognitive capabilities.

At the same time, IT directors are finding themselves overwhelmed with the number of IT management tools available to them. Many can only handle their own particular technology silos, be they databases, storage, hypervisors or service management.

Even when these tools are provided by a single software vendor, very often they are not integrated and therefore offer very little contextual understanding of the infrastructure as a whole. IT infrastructure consists of interrelated systems.

As the world’s first cognitive system for enterprise IT, ignio understands how applications are related to all underlying infrastructure components

Not only this, but IT administrators often receive too many alerts because of the sensitivity of the alert setting. Which they should address and which they can safely ignore is not obvious.


Dr Harrick Vin, Head of Digitate

Now, however, a growing number of forward-thinking and open-minded IT executives are discovering a new enterprise AI solution that can address these problems and even revolutionise their operations. As a result they are enjoying greater benefits and seeing improved productivity.

Digitate, a Tata Consultancy Services venture, launched a product called ignio™ last year. As the world’s first cognitive system for enterprise IT, ignio understands how applications are related to all underlying infrastructure components. This new solution automatically captures and creates a full blueprint of the entire infrastructure. It can then use this contextual information about the business to make decisions and perform tasks.

“What clients like is that ignio has a pre-built knowledge base,” says Dr Harrick Vin, head of Digitate. “These are based on the IT applications and infrastructure expertise that Digitate has gained by studying thousands of customers of Tata Consultancy Services over many years. They’re now made immediately available in ignio and this means that it can be effective in just six weeks, much faster than most cognitive systems. As a result customers can see a much faster return on investment.”

Importantly ignio can integrate and pull data from existing management tools to correlate all information into a single place. IT administrators can continue to leverage their existing tool sets as ignio is able to establish what is relevant using its cognitive engine.

“ignio can collate large quantities of data through various systems and provide IT administrators with easily actionable information. Then either our solution handles the problem or, having presented administrators with the data, it will allow them to take action themselves,” says Dr Vin.

Another part of the appeal of ignio to companies is that it establishes a normal state of the entire environment after profiling and learning about the infrastructure over a period of time. This allows it to eliminate the false positives that are often associated with disparate management tools.

“For example, it might be normal for an organisation to see a spike for a variety of reasons in their infrastructure workload at the beginning of the week,” says Dr Vin. “Most existing tools would see that as a problem and send out multiple alerts. Over time, IT administrators will simply learn to ignore them and this could be risky. But ignio establishes a normal state where it knows to expect this spike. If it detects an anomaly hidden within the weekly spikes, it will then trigger the necessary alerts.”


Once it has done this, ignio can identify the cause of the anomaly within minutes and use its cognitive engine to identify the root cause of the problem. It already knows how each specific infrastructure component is interrelated to multiple applications that are relying on this component. Having identified the cause, ignio provides the IT administrator with a recommendation on how to resolve the issue.

Once they’re confident about ignio’s ability to identity errors and to provide the correct recommendation on error resolution, IT administrators usually allow ignio to take action autonomously. Even so, the solution always logs the relevant information in the IT department’s records, ensuring that enterprises have all the tracking necessary for regulatory compliance. And, when ignio doesn’t know how to fix a problem, it will learn the corrective actions from the IT person who resolves it.

Agile, cost effective and, above all, easy to apply, ignio is set to change the way IT professionals view AI. Dr Vin concludes: “There’s so much noise around AI at the moment, but ignio is focussed on practical solutions, and is about helping companies to streamline their systems and deliver for their customers now and in the future.”

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With their digital portfolio expanding in recent years, the IT team at Nationwide Building Society last September chose ignio as a solution for delivering intelligent automation to reduce operational risks and simultaneously improve efficiency and responsiveness.

As the world’s largest building society, Nationwide delivers a wide range of products to its customers, and recognises the importance of deploying new services rapidly and increasing the resilience of its digital solutions.

“In recent years, as our business has grown and new services have been introduced, our back-end systems have become evermore complex,” says Mike Pighills, head of service integration and transition at Nationwide Building Society. “ignio will help us to simplify the management of these systems, giving us greater efficiency and control over critical aspects of our IT.”