Resolve looks to add a brain to service management

The cost of keeping the lights on is something that for most IT organisations remains costly, requires significant manual effort and is holding back their ability to support innovation. 

teknowlogy Group’s research has found that businesses typically spend between 60% to 70% of their total IT budgets on maintaining their legacy environments, at a time when they are tasked with freeing up budget to invest in more strategic areas. 

For years, CIOs have looked to IT service management (ITSM) platforms to help them run, monitor and repair their assets from the data centre to the network in a more efficient way. But according to IT automation & AIOps vendor Resolve, the vast majority have barely scratched the surface in automating the most onerous and time-consuming aspects.   

Irvine, California-based Resolve hit the headlines earlier this year with its acquisition of FixStream, one of the front-runners in the emerging AIOps space. Insight Partners, which acquired Resolve in 2017, has invested $125m into the business during the last 18 months, and has brought in an experienced management team with the aim of taking the company past the $100m revenue mark in the next couple of years. 

teknowlogy Group recently caught up with some of the company’s leadership to understand how it is positioning itself against a number of well-established brands in the IT management software space, and how the use of AI can drive a step change in the way that organisations manage their increasingly complex technology landscapes.

Resolve argues that organisations struggle with IT operations because they have so many different siloes running their applications, data centres, devices, security and networks, each group running a plethora of different task-based automation tools focused on specific aspects of service management. For example, the company claims that large end user organisations typically run between three to six different network monitoring tools alone, with many contending with almost a dozen. 

The result of this is that in the face of a barrage of service alerts from multiple sources, it is very difficult to get a single view of overall end-to-end performance. This becomes a huge problem when there is a service incident, which for most businesses leads to multiple teams being dragged on to a conference call to try and figure out where the point of failure lies. 

Resolve’s core proposition has been to provide customers with a platform that not only gives them a consolidated picture of how the service is functioning by unifying data from across multiple integrated monitoring and event systems, but also automating a fix in seconds to ensure SLAs are met and MTTR is accelerated. And with the acquisition of FixStream, Resolve is now able to dynamically map the different layers from the application to the network to develop a context of how a service is built across a large number of interdependent moving parts spanning different siloes. This functionality provides top-level views of business applications and insight into end-user perspective. If an element goes down, it can quickly pinpoint what is causing the issue based on these mappings. 

Resolve is investing in making its platform more intelligent, and FixStream brings with it correlation capabilities and algorithms that can address the issue of “alert fatigue” by cutting through a lot of the noise that is generated from monitoring tools and more accurately mapping where action is required. This can be in a reactive situation to an existing incident, but Resolve is increasingly using machine learning to identify potential issues before they occur. And once the customer is alerted to the issue, they are presented with a number of options on how to tackle it, with automated fixes available at the click of a button or autonomously. 

Resolve has three main target customer groups. It is well established in the telco space where operators use its platform to keep their fragmented networks up and running.  The company has recently closed a major, multi-year deal with one of Europe’s largest telecoms operators to help it manage its critical network assets. The move is partly driven by the client bracing itself for the loss of 5,000 of its engineering and support staff as a wave of the baby boomer generation retires from the workforce. 

The second group is managed service providers, with customers including Accenture, Fujitsu and Mindtree baking the Resolve platform into their propositions to help them run their clients’ infrastructure more effectively. And thirdly, the company also sells directly to  corporations running large internal IT shops in sectors including financial services, retail and healthcare.

Unusually for a US-based software vendor, Resolve has a strong base of business in Europe, with the region accounting for around half its total sales. European clients include BT, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile and Capita, and the company is looking to accelerate its growth on both sides of the Atlantic by reinforcing its partner ecosystem. 

From a competitive point of view, Resolve sees itself going up against the stalwarts of the ITSM platform world – HP, CA and BMC – against whom it looks to differentiate through its ability to not only automate the simpler tasks, but also orchestrate more complex cross-domain processes with prebuilt automations and support for the explosion of new tools and ecosystems. Among the current crop of suppliers, Resolve also runs into IPSoft and ServiceNow, although it is also working alongside the latter in a number of accounts, and can integrate with the task-based automation built into these tools to automate end-to-end, cross-domain processes that require robust, vendor-agnostic functionality. 

It is this ability to help clients bring together and build on the existing service management and automation tools that they have already implemented – the company sees itself as adding a brain to the current fragmented environment – that makes Resolve’s proposition an interesting one.

The company acknowledges that at a time when IT leaders can access a raft of automation tools that make their life easier in a certain area, such as password resets or opening up a ticket, these offerings are limited in scope and the transformational value they can provide to the organisation. The financial benefits that can be made through a more end-to-end approach to automated service management can be significant, with network services firm CenturyLink reporting cost savings of $1.8m, as it used the Resolve platform to slash the resolution time in its network operations centre from 30 hours down to just one minute. 

Resolve is building up a head of steam in 2019. Despite the cannibalising effect of a switch to a subscription-based licensing model, it matched last year’s revenue total in the first six months. It will be interesting to track its progress as it steps up to the next level.