Today’s systems are becoming almost “magically” smart. The amount of data we have at our fingertips translates to user experiences that are incredibly useful. I continually marvel at the notification my phone provides, indicating it’s time for me to leave, to make an appointment, or arrive on time at a destination. This seemingly simple piece of insight leverages several systems together.
First, the phone knows my location, and cross-references that with map data to understand the available routes to arrive at my required destination. That data is then cross-referenced with the latest traffic information, adjusting the expected time to travel accordingly. Of course, this is also done in combination with my calendar, bringing together all of these data sources into an actionable piece of information: Leave now to make your meeting.
The idea of using data in these ways to solve problems is not new, but the ease with which this is now possible makes investing in this approach much more attainable. Cloud services make linking data sources significantly easier, and software now allows for more and more automation.
Managed services providers (MSPs) have invested in technology to automate their service delivery since the idea was introduced. Using remote control technologies, MSPs created automation to perform tasks that were often repeated over and over. Sophisticated MSPs then used triggers based on events to further leverage that technology and reduce labor requirements.
This is just scratching the surface of what’s possible now, as the use of larger and larger data sets means we can also find patterns and anomalies that were previously out of our reach. Individual humans cannot process the volume of data required to see some patterns, but machines can do this with incredible efficiency, bringing to the fore information that humans would easily have missed.
Additionally, we have published across the internet solutions to common problems and a clear understanding of how to fix scores of incidents. Natural language processors can interpret that data and standardize it, enabling multiple sources to be combined into a single recommendation… and that recommendation can then be implemented in software. By adding artificial intelligence (AI), you create systems that can learn, becoming smarter and more capable with more experience.
This idea brings together the possibility of what is termed self-healing smart management. Rather than a system that requires humans to manipulate all the gears, the system can be smart, taking action on its own based on understanding conditions—and it can learn from its previous encounters. The system continues to understand new potential solutions, and applies those appropriately, based on its previous experience.
With anomaly detection, the systems then become capable of self-healing, as they identify behavior that is out of the norm, find a solution, and apply it. Failures are new anomalies, and the cycle begins anew until a solution is found. Humans can monitor and input into the process, and the system becomes increasingly useful.
This idea may sound like science fiction, but much of the technology we consider everyday now was once deemed exactly the same. This is the logical evolution of these managed services technologies, making solution providers even more effective and allowing them to focus on business value rather than the mechanics of service delivery.
Dave Sobel is Senior Director of Community and Field Marketing at SolarWinds MSP. You can follow Dave on Twitter® at @djdaveet
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