AiThority Interview with Phil Tee, CEO and Co-Founder at Moogsoft
How did you start in this space? What galvanized you to start Moogsoft?
I’m a Serial Entrepreneur, a Data Scientist, and an Executive vexed by the ongoing challenge of IT service assurance. It’s all about keeping critical IT up and running and lessening the business impact of service interruptions. This is a market that I was instrumental in shaping through my invention of Netcool (acquired by IBM) nearly 25 years ago.
Just 2 years after graduating from the University of Sussex in 1990, I Co-founded Omnibus Transport Technologies Limited (OTT) to build and market Netcool/Omnibus. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to lead numerous companies to successful exits — including RiverSoft, which went public, and Njini, which was acquired by Riverbed.
My background in IT management has helped me understand how and why innovative Automation technologies always supplant legacy ones. Today we are creating the market for AIOps, or ‘AI for IT Operations’. This more intelligent Automation is empowering IT Ops and DevOps teams at enterprise companies with solutions that support Digital Transformation while controlling IT costs and keeping customers happy.
What is Moogsoft and how does it transform Data Analytics for AIOps and IT teams?
In short, Moogsoft was a pioneer and is now a leading provider of AIOps solutions that helps IT teams work faster and smarter by deploying original, patented AI algorithms developed by our R&D team. Today’s digital business depends on continuous assurance and demands that all customer-facing services and applications to be ‘always-on’.
At Moogsoft, we help customers attain this goal by giving them real-time visibility across their numerous services and applications. This helps surface relevant events that need to be addressed quickly and automate the workflow among the IT team from event-to-resolution. When teams can find and resolve issues quicker, they ultimately have fewer tickets and happier customers.
How big are your AIOps and Product Development team?
40% of our employees are focused on developing our solutions. In addition, we have a Data Science division that is focused on filing new patent applications for original AI algorithms.
What is the state of AI and NLP for IT and Operations platforms in 2019? How much has it evolved since the time you first started here?
The current generation of AI products are just starting to become more widely adopted. While these involve supervised and unsupervised techniques, the next stage is closed-loop automation. I also predict that NLP will play a larger role as a key component of human-centered AI.
Could you tell us more about your AIOps Integration and Noise Reduction suite? How do customers benefit from leveraging your AIOps platform?
Our noise reduction feature automatically reduces event volumes so IT teams can detect problems earlier, therefore resolving them faster and maintaining a positive customer experience. As an example, KeyBank, a regional bank based in Cleveland, Ohio and the primary subsidiary of KeyCorp, was using 22 different monitoring systems and rules-based systems in its IT operations. It turned to our solution to detect critical incidents and increase collaboration and visibility, leading to a 98% decrease in operational alert noise.
The goal of implementing Moogsoft was to detect critical IT issues needing a response amid a flood of IT monitoring data. In addition, KeyBank wanted to minimize the countless hours the IT Ops, and DevOps teams were spending to analyze the data. This allowed KeyBank customers experience quicker response time to issues, giving them peace of mind 24/7.
Which customer success story are you most proud of?
One customer that immediately comes to mind is American Airlines. Since implementing Moogsoft AIOps, the airline has cut the average time it takes to resolve technical incidents by 50%. Our platform is used at the company’s 24/7 IT Global Situation Center and analyzes 5 million IT error notices and warnings each month, or about 2 per second. The platform scans for IT hiccups that could disable a luggage-scanning system, delay a flight, or trip up some other core function.
This has a direct impact on the millions of American Airlines customers annually that rely on the transportation giant to get them from point A to point B, safely, efficiently, and on time.
Does it help to sell better and faster to customers when you have an AI product in your oven?
AI is, of course, a buzz word that elicits a quite distinct response. It has to be said that this is not always positive, as it can occasionally be feared as a mysterious and incomprehensible new technology.
The key is to ensure that it is demystified and explained as just a new way to automate the response of a computer to a non-rigidly defined input. It is capable of delighting customers and surprising them with the capability of new solutions based upon it… but it is most definitely not magic!
How should young technology professionals train themselves to work better with Cloud, Automation and AI-based tools?
There is a lot of new technology knowledge to acquire to truly master all of these. Most importantly, the professional needs to truly embrace the requirement to “go back to school” and become a lifetime learner!
What is the biggest challenge to Digital Transformation in 2019? How does Moogsoft contribute to a successful Digital Transformation/IT Modernization?
The single biggest challenge is complexity. Systems are many orders of magnitude more complex with deep interconnected layers of abstraction between the application and the infrastructure. Failure to handle this will inevitably impair service quality and Moogsoft’s primary mission is to combat that complexity by enhancing the diagnosis and detection activities of operators with AI.
What is the Good, Bad and Ugly about AI that you have heard or predict?
Good: We will lead lives of effortless pleasure whilst the robots do the work. This is false because work is a key part of our psyche, and we will work but perhaps differently and more effectively. What people will lead is richer, more rewarding lives.
Bad: Many people will be made redundant as machines replace them. This is false because there are many higher-level tasks that AI is centuries away from replacing. Predictions that AI will achieve parity with Human Intelligence are overblown and arrogant!
Ugly: The robots will eat us (Elon Musk/Stephen Hawking et al). This is false because there is an off switch — and, given that we are the “creators,” we can easily control what we build. Besides, the capability of current approaches fall significantly short of engendering a machine with the “will” to kill us!
What is your opinion on “Weaponization of AI/Machine Learning”? How do you promote your ideas?
All inventions have the capacity for good and evil. The same process that delivers the power to light a maternity ward delivery room and support a new life was used to take away hundreds of thousands in nanoseconds in Japan in 1945.
The responsibility for the use of AI rests on the shoulders of society, not just the scientists and technologists who invent it, and we should not seek to limit the scope and ambition of thought to avoid these choices. It comes down to whether you believe in the ultimate good in the human race or not, and I am a solid believer that, ultimately, the good outweighs the bad.
What technologies within AI/NLP and Cloud Analytics are you interested in?
I’m interested in fast learning, topological data analysis, network information theory, continuous neural models and quantum graphs.
As a tech leader, what industries do you think would be fastest to adopting Analytics and AI/ML with smooth efficiency? What are the new emerging markets for these technology markets?
The consumer interface is ripe for innovation and AI is just starting to get a foothold with realistic avatar and AI-powered assistants. As such, I could see Healthcare and Legal being disrupted seriously, with education following. The foothold in finance is already deep, but perhaps less well exploited is the deeper area of fraud detection.
A fascinating new space is the use of AI in drug design and, in particular, cancer and auto-immune diseases. The scope for innovation there is almost unlimited.
One superhero character/movie that you most profoundly relate to.
Professor Bernard Quatermass. He’s a fictional scientist who starred in BBC series dating from the 1950s to the present day. Prof. Quatermass literally saves the world with physics. He’s a champion of science and rationality over the supernatural and the fantastic.
In one of his movies, the monster is defeated by an intellectual argument on the merits of humanity — versus huge explosions and firepower. I’ve loved him since I was a kid.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
I always make an effort to communicate with everyone on our team, regardless of any silly notions of hierarchy, and give them the respect they all deserve. I clear my inbox every day. If someone has taken the time to reach out to me, I want them to know that I appreciate their time and acknowledge whatever the conversation holds. This is a difficult task, as I need to wake up early each morning and set multiple times aside to go through my inbox each day, but it’s worth it. My team knows that I am available and willing to help improve our work each day.
Thank you, Phil! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Moogsoft CEO Phil Tee publicly unveils the new Moogsoft AIOps — an extensible operations analytics platform engineered to cover a variety of ITOps and DevOps use cases. By utilizing real-time machine-learning algorithms, Moogsoft AIOps reduces operational noise, proactively detects service-impacting issues across network ecosystems, streamlines collaboration and workflows across teams and toolsets, and codifies knowledge for future reapplication. In this presentation, Phil explains the significance of algorithmic intelligence, and shows off the features and benefits of the all new Moogsoft AIOps solution.
Moogsoft is a pioneer and leading provider of AIOps solutions that help IT teams work faster and smarter.
With patented AI analyzing billions of events daily across the world’s most complex IT environments, the Moogsoft AIOps platform helps the world’s top enterprises avoid outages, automate service assurance, and accelerate digital transformation initiatives.
Founded in 2011, Moogsoft has more than 120 customers worldwide including SAP SuccessFactors, American Airlines, Intuit, GoDaddy, Yahoo! and HCL Technologies and has established strategic partnerships with leading managed service providers and outsourcing organizations including AWS, Cisco, HCL Technologies, and Wipro.