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Five ways intelligence can tame hybrid IT support complexity

By Tammy Shvartsman posted Tue May 11, 2021 09:34 AM


IT support complexity is a byproduct of today’s modern work environment, no matter the business size or sector. Businesses often manage a hybrid mix of private and public cloud instances across a host of cloud platforms, as well as on-premises systems, hardware vendors, and software applications. When you add in the maintenance agreements and support contracts behind each, the challenges for IT teams are daunting.

Inadequate support and slow response times can also drive business costs. The result can be unexpected downtime, overspending on cloud platforms, lapses in maintenance agreements, data latency that impedes decision-making, impaired visibility into system inventory and breaches due to unpatched or unknown security holes.

This complexity is unlikely to abate, and challenges IT support teams and the businesses they serve to find better ways to manage their hybrid systems. The intelligence and data tools used to improve business operations can also deliver cost-effective ways to solve the intricacies of the support function.

The savings from improved IT support are measurable, with a direct impact on a business’s bottom line. IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ study. That study examined the potential return on investment of IT support from IBM to maintain hybrid IT infrastructures located in data centers, private clouds, public clouds, connected devices and more. The study revealed that IT leaders experienced significant cost savings to their business:

  • 30% reduction in maintenance and support spending
  • 22% reduction in time spent on hardware support tasks
  • 21% reduction in time spent on vendor relationship management

The 5 Core Features of IBM Support Insights That Can Impact Your IT Operations (and Your Bottom Line)

IBM Support Insights is an included part of IBM Technology Support Services support and maintenance contracts. IBM Support Insights delivers insights and recommendations based on advanced analytics across multivendor IT infrastructures. The service helps enterprises better manage, maintain and optimize the health and growing costs of their disparate hybrid IT estate. Here are 5 ways IBM Support Insights uses intelligence to simplify and streamline IT support functions, which in turn drives cost savings and efficiency.

  1. Improve your IT uptime. Data is your best defense against downtime. IBM Support Insights tracks vulnerabilities that can derail your systems. This may be anything from an expired support contract to out-of-date firmware to hardware that’s reached end of life status. Analytics about your inventory derived through automation and intelligence, and delivered in one place, give you information to act on. This type of prescriptive and predictive maintenance allows you to keep your systems up and running.
  2. Gain insight into your total inventory. Today most businesses require disparate tools to manage various parts of their inventory, with each tool only providing insight into a few or even a single system. Support teams often cobble together scripts and spreadsheets to try and gain a full picture of their inventory, and the support contracts associated with it. With IBM Support Insights, this information is aggregated and consolidated in one place. This insight prevents overlapping services and excessive spending on infrastructure. It helps you reframe and rethink your IT inventory management approach.
  3. Reconcile your support contracts. IBM Support Insights helps you maintain support continuity with customizable, proactive alerts for expiring and expired support contracts. Just as you gain a full view of your inventory, you can also gain a full view of your support needs. If you work in a sector subject to regulatory controls, this aids with compliance. With this type of insight, businesses won’t run into issues where they are denied support that requires problem escalation that further lengthens the time needed to resolve the issue and return to operation.
  4. Build resiliency into your business. Faster and more proactive responses to support issues can make your network systems more robust and your business better able to withstand social or economic disruption when it occurs. By automating support functions, you can free staff time and resources to support digital transformation or other strategies critical for the growth of your business. If your teams spend less time putting out fires, they can refocus their energies on implementation or training that will help your enterprise keep moving forward.
  5. Close security vulnerabilities. With IBM Support Insights, you can identify and close network security vulnerabilities with recommendations based on your specific devices. This allows you to proactively detect defects and security exposures that can result in outages and even data breaches. By taking recommended actions, you can reduce costly downtime and prevent reputational damage caused after a breach occurs.

Introducing IBM Support Insights [view video 0:55]


Leveraging Intelligence and Automation Can Be a Differentiator for Employees and Customers

The recent pandemic response helped reveal more starkly than ever that companies that adopt technological innovations, like AI and cloud, perform better and differentiate themselves from their competition. This adaptability became one differentiator between the businesses that thrived during the disruption and those that struggled or even failed. The smart use of intelligence can help businesses gain an advantage over their competition. Insights into tech support derived from AI helps IT administrators keep their systems running smoothly. Using analytics and AI to shift support from a reactive to a proactive stance, your enterprise can better manage, maintain and optimize the health and growing costs of your hybrid IT environment, which is foundational to your AIOps journey.

IBM Support Insights recently introduced new capabilities for security exposure detection, allowing "what if" analysis that provides a before and after view of recommended security changes before they are committed (for supported Cisco products only). Additionally, improvements have been made to inventory views so users can better find and understand their inventory status, as well as track changes in inventory with their associated impact on maintenance contracts. This is particularly helpful for users whose maintenance contract coverage is dictated by industry regulations. Future

With the IBM Support Insights demo, you can experience the features, functions and capabilities of the tool using sample data. Try the interactive demo now.