Discover the power of intelligent runbook automation

  • November 03, 2023

Automated experiences are changing the way we live, work and interact with the world around us, from smart grocery stores and virtual assistants to automated medical diagnoses and autonomous driving. For organizations, AI-driven automation boosts operational efficiency, business resilience and customer focus, allowing users to focus on strategic projects while automating intricate, repetitive tasks requiring accurate decision-making.

The need to reduce manual intervention

We're rapidly progressing towards an AI-driven, predictive IT infrastructure that self-manages, self-heals, removes human touchpoints and secures itself. Rule-based automation solutions have enabled us to automate mundane, standardized tasks using the "if this, then that" (IFTTT) principle. Yet, manual intervention and siloed adoption of automation prevail widely. For IT teams, identifying which tasks and processes can be automated is often tricky as they try to replace manual touchpoints that are costly, error-prone and time-consuming.

Hyperautomation and rule-based automation solve these challenges by unifying disparate automation in the organizational landscape and delivering integrated outcomes. Automated systems reduce manual touchpoints by assessing and categorizing user-generated service requests, granting access (if protocols are met) and revoking it at the end. They also log such activities for audit purposes and record rejection reasons, all without human intervention.

Achieve zero-touch IT operations with runbook automation

Organizations vary widely in their level of automation adoption. From decades of experience, we've identified four distinct stages of automation sophistication that organizations typically progress through:

  1. Beginner: At this stage, organizations have minimal automation strategy with tactical pockets of automation. The primary emphasis of their automation efforts is usually quick fixes and cost-takeout measures.
  2. Reactive: With leadership buy-in, the IT team works to determine relevant automation use cases to improve operations, select appropriate automation technology and define potential metrics.
  3. Automated: Automation is ubiquitous in these organizations, with a focus on implementing automation across towers with end-to-end process and data alignment.
  4. Zero-touch: At its most advanced stage, automation has been fully integrated into infrastructure with minimal human intervention, optimizing the full range of automation portfolio and best-in-class execution capability. This enhances service health, prevents incidents, reduces costs and enables predictive maintenance, increasing agility and availability for improved customer satisfaction.

Runbook automation helps organizations quickly achieve zero-touch IT operations. IT organizations can automate runbooks with specific incident actions such as logging into the system, checking CPU, pinging the server and checking database. Based on assessing the root cause, it triggers predefined routines like restarting a service or executing a specific script to resolve the root cause and restore the service. Automating runbook actions improves Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), avoids SLA breaches, reduces operational costs and removes human errors.

Runbook automation is suitable for IT operations, Site Reliability Engineering and DevOps teams for a range of tasks. They include use cases from remedying server and network health and performance problems to provisioning and tearing down test environments that integrate compute, network and applications.

NTT DATA Nucleus Runbook Automation minimizing human intervention

At NTT DATA, we've transformed IT Service Management (ITSM) ticket handling with our Nucleus Runbook Automation framework. Our Nucleus Runbook Automation framework implements Infrastructure as Code (IaC), with over 200 pre-developed scripts for automated incident diagnostics, resolution and escalation. Its ML and NLP capabilities enable automated ticket reading and filtering, faster resolution and more actionable insights.

Our intelligent runbook automation works hard behind the scenes to significantly reduce the manual intervention involved in towers like network, Windows, Unix, storage, database and backup. Auto-detect (AD) tickets can now be transformed into auto-resolve (AR) tickets with minimal human intervention. This allows the machine to recognize incidents that require extended diagnostics and provides an additional diagnostic window for the AI to carry out before escalating to a human agent. If the AI is unable to resolve the issue, it will try to learn from the human agent to better understand how to resolve similar issues in the future.

Intelligent runbook automation is a transformative force in streamlining operational efficiency. Embracing it becomes paramount for staying agile and resilient in modern IT environments. Combining human expertise with intelligent automation will continue to provide operational excellence as a constant reality, enabling businesses to adapt and thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Read our point of view paper to get started with intelligent runbook automation.

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Neeraj Jaitley

Neeraj leads Infrastructure and Digital Workplace Services at NTT DATA. He oversees and manages the overall strategy and execution of infrastructure and Digital Workplace delivery for NTT DATA clients across key verticals. He has more than three decades of experience in profit center management, IT service delivery, strategic planning, enterprise tools and IT solution selling for large clients. He is a member of NTT DATA’s India Leadership Team and co-chairs the CSR Committee.


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