The traditional IT infrastructure involves and requires human intervention. Professionals need to access the infrastructure, not just for information, but also to monitor and remedy. There needs to be constant sourcing of tools and solutions that can help with the management. Zero Touch Operations eliminates this. It can automate and manage on its own, thus allowing professionals to focus on more critical services.
Understanding Zero Touch Operations
Most businesses that deal with elaborate IT infrastructure are adopting IT automation with AI. While using Zero Touch Operations or ZTO, this automation is more straightforward. It helps to optimize different processes and create outputs that receive positive feedback from end-users and help generate more revenue. Zero Touch Operations models are usually run time models that can scale, manage, and heal the systems. ZTO gets its name because such a model can govern itself and no manual workforce or human intervention is necessary at any point.
IT companies often use Zero Touch Operations to integrate different software applications. These applications and tools are usually necessary for driving various business processes that ensure operational outcomes. ZTO can also be beneficial in road mapping. A functional ZTO model will help businesses generate and save revenue and minimize the risks involved in daily operations.
Zero Touch Operations are primarily used to ensure better business outcomes. The outcomes that one can expect after using ZTO are given below.
- MTTR/MTTI will reduce by more than 50%
- Ticket volumes will reduce every month
- Improvement of alert to ticket compression ratio
- SLA improvement by at least 50%
- Programmatic automation for the acceleration of all operations
- Actionable and accurate insights will be in real-time
- Overall costs will reduce significantly
- Risks in business processes will lessen
- Automation of metal code
Stages of Zero Touch Operations
Professionals cannot implement zero Touch Operations overnight. Companies need to prepare and go through specific phases to ensure that the ZTO will be as beneficial as they want it to be. Therefore, there are four stages in getting Zero Touch Operations to work and positively impact the business process. These stages are listed below.
- Stage 1: Traditional
The traditional phase in ZTO starts with the physical networks. These are not automated and are part of the older infrastructure or processes. Since ZTO works towards complete automation and optimization, it needs to start with these traditional networks.
- Stage 2: Reactive
In the reactive stage, the networks evolve from being traditional or physical to slightly automated ones. This stage is the first push towards network automation through ZTO.
- Stage 3: Progressive
IT companies are moving towards automation in all aspects. Most invest in a software test automation platform. However, before implementing ZTO, networks tend to depend on their non-automated, physical elements. During this stage, one can see networks that are almost entirely virtualized and automated. This is a crucial step, even though some parts of the networks remain traditional or at least reactive.
- Stage 4: Reformist
The reformist stage is when the networks have achieved complete automation and ZTO has been implemented successfully. Once the networks reach this stage, the ZTO will manage and monitor itself without any external assistance.
For this four-step process of implementing Zero Touch Operations, end-to-end virtualization is essential. The virtualization is for various networks across all new-age technology and legacy. Before the first stage begins, communication service providers or CSPs need to check all the networks. The networks should have the maturity to enable the starting phase and sustain the ZTO journey.
Achieving Zero Touch Operations
The journey to Zero Touch Operations may involve only four steps, but it is not easy to complete. It is complex and requires skill and effort to achieve ZTO through a realistic approach. To achieve ZTO, one needs to begin with hybrid environment services. Almost all companies are adopting Cloud infrastructure and are using cloud enablement services. However, some companies use infrastructure that is not Cloud-native. Several legacy technologies are not based on Cloud infrastructure and cannot be migrated. ZTO is possible for such networks as well, especially by creating a hybrid environment.
Companies often use IT operations management software solutions and tools. It will be easier to achieve Cloud Zero Touch Operations if they can establish managed services that one can run on various industrial processes. These services can also leverage code that is readymade and contextualized. They can be easily automated. ZTO for these services is proactive and constantly monitors all processes so that there is no error in applications that goes unnoticed.
Challenges in Zero Touch Operations
While Zero Touch Operations are beneficial and impactful, they do involve specific challenges. Some companies find it challenging to overcome these and are unable to achieve ZTO. However, with proper tools and solutions, a realistic implementation of ZTO is possible.
Following are details on some of the challenges that one might face while implementing the ZTO model.
- High Cost of Zero Touch Operations Model
Companies have to spend a considerable amount of money on a cloud migration assessment tool for business while migrating from on-premise platforms. On top of this, the transformation to ZTO can cost a lot too. Even for hybrid environments, implementation of ZTO, particularly for large-scale projects, can become very expensive. Companies tend only to allow the transformation for small projects that do not cost much to deal with this challenge.
- Improper Lifecycle Automation
The software that ZTO supports may not automate the entire lifecycle. The software is useful for automation of deployment and redeployment and can identify if any operating conditions are unsuitable. The alarm loops are also not closed properly. It leads to issues with timely responses.
- Fault Avalanche
Fault avalanche is where different applications, services and processes depend on a lower level, and that level fails. When this happens, all applications and services crash causing a system-wide issue that is difficult to rectify. While this is a rare occurrence, it may happen after achieving ZTO.
Zero Touch Operations is the way to ensure error-free business processes that can generate more revenue while providing good services despite the challenges. It is the right approach towards reducing risk and managing IT operations.