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As part of an effort to expand the reach of its incident management platform beyond IT teams, PagerDuty this week added a service graph to its portfolio through which users can discover the source of digital disruptions that can then be automatically remediated.

Announced during its Summit21 conference, PagerDuty this summer will make available a service graph tool through which the company can discover, map, and visualize both business and technical service dependencies spanning multiple digital business processes. Whenever there is a disruption, that same service graph will enable anyone in the organization to immediately discern the scope of any given issue, said Sean Scott, chief product officer at PagerDuty.

At the same time, PagerDuty is creating PagerDuty Runbook Actions, an add-on offering that will become available in the fall that enables front-line teams to diagnose and resolve urgent incidents in real time. PagerDuty Runbook Actions makes it simpler to delegate prescriptive diagnostic and remedial workflows based on, for example, scripts and system commands that will automatically execute.

PagerDuty also announced a Customer Service Ops Business level plan that will provide customer support teams with access to real-time status updates of issues impacting specific customers. The goal is to enable organizations that are primarily responsible for managing those customers to stay informed as issues get addressed, said Scott.

Finally, PagerDuty is also enhancing the AI capabilities embedded within its platform to surface the root cause of any issue faster in addition to adding a change correlation capability that identifies potential root causes based on the most recent changes made to the IT environment. There is also an outlier incident tool that also identifies incident types that are anomalies and rare occurrences or, conversely, frequent causes or repeat issues.

Digital transformation

In general, PagerDuty is trying to change the relationship between IT and the rest of the business as more organizations embrace digital business transformation, Scott said. In the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became apparent the relationship between IT and the rest of the business was finally changing, said Scott. “COVID was really an inflection point,” he said.

The new capabilities should enable IT teams to proactively address more issues before they become a major problem. However, once an issue becomes apparent, all the stakeholders affected by that event should be able to understand the scope. Armed with that insight, it then becomes possible to make more informed decisions at both the IT and business level, said Scott.

Today most organizations still need to convene a “war room” meeting where specialists from various parts of the IT organization will spend hours, sometimes even weeks, trying to determine the root cause of the issue. The onus is then on that IT team to keep the rest of the business informed about an issue. The challenge is IT teams don’t often know what impact an incident might be having on the business, which can make it challenging to prioritize remediation efforts.

While employing graphs to map the relationships between entities is starting to be employed more widely, Scott said the PagerDuty approach will enable IT and business users to launch an automated set of workflows to remediate issues identified in the service graph. As application owners become more technical, they are increasingly capable of launching workflows to fix application issues that are ultimately their responsibility, noted Scott.

One way or another, business users across the organization who understand how dependent they are on applications to succeed are demanding more visibility into IT processes. The days when IT teams could obfuscate those processes behind a wall of tools only they could decipher are coming to an end. The challenge now is redefining the cultural relationship between IT and the rest of the business as the historic divide between the two camps increasingly disappears.

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