Predictive analytics applications bring together two facets of IT that were made for each other: analytics and automation. The former is simply the task of aggregating and intelligently organizing data, while the latter turns the insights gained from organized data into an ongoing process devoid of the need for human interaction. In other words, it allows us to learn from the massive amount of data flowing through our environments to take the drudgery out of tedious tasks.
If you’ve ever viewed your IT environment as a maintenance-hungry Millennium Falcon, here are a few ways predictive analytics can be the Chewbacca that keeps things humming along.
Protecting your social life
We’ll start our tour of analytics applications with one of the most practical implementations in modern IT. Imagine this scenario if you will: You’re scouring your vendor’s website for a new server to host the next office Halo tournament when an email comes through. It’s Becky from accounting, and she’s just informed you that costs have gone up and your department is over budget. Your tournament will have to wait. Or will it?
Thanks to predictive analytics and automation, you can bring department costs down without batting an eye. By utilizing modern printing platforms, for example, entire printer fleets can be automatically optimized based on printer use data. In doing so, ink, paper, and energy costs can all be streamlined and IT costs driven south.
Following the theme of tackling IT resources in an automated, predictive manner, allocating the very CPU, network, and storage resources our environments depend on is another great candidate for these analytics applications. In this scenario, we can leverage the already impressive streamlining abilities of modern hypervisors and marry them with the foresight of predictive analytics.
Harvard Business Review recently described the benefits of combining these analytics with IT. They discuss an environment that utilizes cutting edge infrastructure, including the Internet of Things, to constantly monitor any number of environmental variables. When analyzed over time, this data can provide integral insight. This includes disk monitors that can predict the lifespan of critical storage, software defined monitors that allow virtual resources to be scaled with greater accuracy, and network monitors that make infrastructure planning more effective.
A human touch
While predictive analytics applications can clearly handle the management of cold, calculating virtual resources, it excels equally well when it comes to warm-blooded resources. A recent article by CIO highlights some ways that automation can make all the difference when it comes to IT planning. As it relates to human resources, predictive applications can utilize well-documented ticket and time-tracking systems to form intelligent management decisions.
These decisions come in the form of prioritizing individual tickets and projects, along with the living, breathing people associated with them. As these analytics begin to reveal trends in ticket data, IT staff can be automatically assigned to tickets based on experience, past performance, and ticket priority. Seasonal trends can also be used to predict changes in future staffing needs to pave the way for more informed IT planning.
Predictive analytics is a powerful tool, and when combined with automation, it makes our jobs easier and more efficient. I don’t know about you, but I could use a little more of both in my life.