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The emerging role of Autonomic Systems for Advanced IT Service Management

The emerging role of Autonomic Systems for Advanced IT Service Management
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 08 Sep 2022

IT service management is becoming increasingly important to companies worldwide. Business leaders are beginning to see the need for greater reliability and productivity in IT (Information Technology) systems and are demanding more proactive measures to keep their IT infrastructure running smoothly. It’s not surprising that the growing complexity and scale of IT systems have led to increased demands on IT departments. As the number of managed computing systems increases, IT professionals will need more time than ever to manage their infrastructures. At the same time, they must ensure that these systems are running efficiently and securely. In this context, there is a need for more intelligent and automated approaches which reduce human mistakes and eliminate error-prone processes.

Autonomic service management is a new approach to IT service management that helps companies automate business processes and improve their overall efficiency. It is based on the idea that IT should be able to function without constant human intervention. It can be thought of as an extension of self-healing software or of the legacy concept of autonomic computing. The latter proclaims that computers should be able to handle certain tasks without human input. Autonomic computing systems are patterned on the human autonomic nervous system, which regulates body functions without the active participation of our brains.

The future of IT service management lies in autonomic computer systems that can handle processes without the need to communicate with a human operator. In this direction, emerging software and hardware solutions will be able to monitor, manage, and control services such as help desk support or workflow management. Ideally, these systems won’t require any human intervention at all. They will work on their own and only contact humans when necessary, e.g., in case of incidents that the system can’t handle itself or in the case of suspicions or abnormal events. In this way, Autonomic systems will not only be more efficient than manual systems: they will also be safer and easier to manage.

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Picturing the Future of IT Service Management

Traditional IT infrastructure management tools are generally designed for specific tasks, such as performance monitoring or patching. They handle only limited functionality because they require manual intervention or rely on administrators to make changes when necessary. Such conventional IT management tools fall short when it comes to managing IT services in more dynamic environments such as state-of-the-art cloud computing, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) environments.

The rising need for Autonomic service management systems stems from the proliferation of cloud computing systems, mobile devices, and IoT deployments that are usually part of the digital transformation of modern enterprises. This has created new sources of complexity for IT operations, leaving many organizations struggling to manage these new technologies. For instance, there is a significant difference between traditional on-premises IT systems and cloud-based infrastructures. With on-premises systems, administrators can control everything from physical hardware to application deployment. On the other hand, with cloud-based services, this control is significantly reduced due to vendor lock-in effects and lack of access to underlying resources (e.g., storage buckets and Virtual machine (VM) instances). Moreover, modern organizations are dealing with an ever-increasing volume of change requests from business units that want their applications deployed faster than ever before.

This landscape mandates increased automation and a drastic reduction of human interventions. Therefore, the future of IT service management lies in service control processes that are entirely automated and can take advantage of artificial intelligence to make dynamic decisions. Autonomic systems are an emerging trend that has not yet made a large footprint in IT Service Management (ITSM). However, this will undoubtedly change in the near future.

Modern enterprises are already adopting next-generation IT Operational Technologies to ensure that the digital transformation of their businesses can proceed with the level of agility and responsiveness required. While these technologies provide IT professionals with several tools to improve service delivery and automation (e.g., self-service portals and automated workflows), their digital journey remains far from complete without an underlying Autonomic technology platform. Hence, in the next decade, enterprises will turn to Autonomic IT service management based on self-managed systems that can self-heal and self-optimize. These systems will be more dependable than traditional IT systems because they will be less error-prone and more resilient.


Benefits of Autonomic Technologies for Service Management

The main benefits of autonomic IT service management deployment include:

  • Reduced Human Errors and less Error-Prone Processes: Autonomic service management reduces human errors. When human beings are involved, there is always a risk of making mistakes or failing to act when needed. For instance, in the case of an incident, if humans do not respond quickly enough or if they fail to notice the problem, it could escalate into a major disaster. For example, it might take several days for humans to realize that a data center has lost power and it may be too late to prevent some services from failing or being compromised because of the outage. Autonomic systems can eliminate the risks of wrong action or inaction since they will react continually and flawlessly to common problems and disruptions.
  • Faster Reaction to Service Management Incidents: Autonomic systems can detect problems as soon as they occur and react instantly by taking corrective action on their own accord. So whether it’s about turning off power supplies or removing faulty servers from production environments, autonomic systems are likely to provide a timelier reaction than humans.
  • Cost-Effective Operations: Autonomic service management systems have lower operating costs because they can be managed efficiently by a smaller number of well-trained experts. Furthermore, autonomic service management allows users to change their environment without requiring additional human intervention. This enables cost-effective changes and improved agility in response to customer needs.


In today’s digital world, customers expect their service providers to be responsive and deliver superior customer experiences. Nevertheless, IT organizations are struggling to keep pace with constantly changing business demands and customer expectations. Hence, organizations must transform their IT operations into a more agile environment to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. This requires adopting a new approach to IT service management (ITSM). The traditional system is based on siloed automation tools designed for specific tasks or processes within the organization’s IT infrastructure (e.g., change management) that are inappropriate for managing end-to-end service delivery. This creates constrain in quickly responding to business requests because each tool has its limitations. Autonomic systems can change this by enabling faster response times through automation across multiple systems and processes

Whether or not we are aware of it, autonomic systems are already in place. For example, functions such as task scheduling and system management are autonomic services that exist within many IT environments today and will continue to enhance their functionality and interoperability. This will ultimately enable CIOs to ensure that resources are available quickly, efficiently, and effectively, and the business is empowered with high-quality IT service offerings.

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