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As one of the most successful technology companies ever, IBM didn’t get to where it is today by resting on its laurels. To remain relevant, the company has had to continuously reinvent itself and search for new ways to outshine the competition. IBM Cloud and the company’s Watson cognitive computing system are both great examples of this. But how do these offerings address infrastructure incidents that threaten the customer experience?
Enter PagerDuty’s new, game-changing integration with ServiceNow.
Time to Shake Things Up
In late 2016, IBM’s Cloud division decided that it needed a standardized tooling system to handle incident management, escalation, root cause analysis (RCA), and related procedures. The group, which owns the operational toolset for IBM’s entire cloud organization, knew its existing IM systems weren’t up to snuff. Decentralized frameworks fragmented contacts and escalation procedures, and manual escalations wasted hours of time. Likewise, siloed knowledge was often outdated and inconsistent.
The IBM Cloud team wanted to automate its IM processes while further driving adoption of ServiceNow, its system of record, for incident ticketing, tracking, and documentation. At the same time, they needed a solution that would also help automate self-healing workflows and improve real-time incident response. To make this happen, all moving parts of the incident response ecosystem had to work in concert.
PagerDuty and ServiceNow Deliver Flexibility and Autonomy
When choosing a vendor to enhance its existing ServiceNow implementation, IBM Cloud realized that only PagerDuty fit the bill. Why? According to Travis Warner, Program Director, Cloud Service Management, IBM Cloud, “First and foremost, it’s the user configurability. You don’t have to have a team of administrators saying ‘go edit this group for user A or create this schedule.’ Everyone’s able to do their own thing.” He also noted that, from a tooling perspective, he can stay completely out of it and let managers handle their own teams and services.
With the integration, PagerDuty and ServiceNow now offer soup-to-nuts incident management functionality to existing ServiceNow customers like IBM Cloud. Moreover, customers using both products can integrate them quickly and easily while enjoying rapid onboarding and implementation.
Real-Time Support Automates Workflows, Rallies the Troops
For IBM Cloud, the PagerDuty + ServiceNow integration enables the company to address incidents in real time through PagerDuty and document them through ServiceNow. Once PagerDuty receives an incident alert from IBM Cloud’s monitoring tools, it supports automated workflows and incident analysis. Based on the content within the alert, PagerDuty then triggers automated self-healing or escalates the incident to the appropriate team and processes. So no more scrambling around, trying to figure out who should do what.
According to Warner, “PagerDuty is really good at what it originally set out to do: get people out of bed.” Moreover, he added, “PagerDuty really helps us automate our IM processes. We love this because it reduces the number of times folks are notified and heads off issues before they impact our customers. And if the automation fails, PagerDuty then alerts the right people with an incident history and other details so they can address the issue right away.”
Better yet, all IBM Cloud incident data is auto-synced between PagerDuty and ServiceNow. Among other benefits, this bidirectional flow of information gives employees a lot of flexibility in how they work. And as noted by Warner, PagerDuty’s “any device, anytime, and anywhere concept is really where it’s at.”
IBM Cloud Heals Thyself
Since launching in November 2016, there are now close to 4,000 IBM Cloud employees using PagerDuty. With deployment well underway, the IBM Cloud team is seeing dramatic improvement in incident management. PagerDuty’s streamlined framework reduces resolution times, centralizes visibility, and automates recruitment of the right resources, creating a better work-life balance for employees.
The integration of PagerDuty and ServiceNow also makes it easier for the IBM Cloud division to automate self-healing. Whereas only 5–10 percent of incidents were self-healed before deployment, this number increased to a whopping 65 percent by the end of 2017. And it doesn’t stop there: IBM Cloud is aiming for 80 percent self-healing in 2018.
Full Speed Ahead
The IBM Cloud group’s use of PagerDuty represents only part of its broader DevOps deployment across IBM’s cloud organization. IBM Cloud already has close to 3,000 services configured and using PagerDuty and ServiceNow. Going forward, up to half a million IBM employees could potentially use the integrated system.
To learn more about the PagerDuty and ServiceNow integration, visit www.pagerduty.com/solutions/servicenow.
“About 18 months ago, self-healing automation was in single digits. At the end of 2017, we were approaching 65% and we’re aiming to be at 80% this year.”
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