IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps

IBMUnited States
2023 People’s Choice Award
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Voting closes at 23:59 EST (EST time: UTC-5) on 5 May 2023.


Production / Professional


Brad Eller, Visual designer Britta Binning, Design Manager Carrie Lloyd, Visual design lead Colin Butler, UX designer Courtney Banning, Visual designer Darren Woodiwiss, UX designer Emily Kim, UX designer Esther Kim, UX designer Holly King, Content designer Jay Cagle, Design manager Jason Groves, Visual designer Keith Posner, Researcher Lily Olive, Visual designer Melissa Denby, UX designer Michael McCurry, UX designer Michelle Kwon, UX designer Roger Davenport, UX designer Roosevelt Faulkner, Researcher Shaun Lynch, Visual designer Sandra Tipton, Vice President Steve Kim, Design director


Resolving Information Technology (IT) problems is a signature experience within IBM Cloud Pak® for Watson AIOps. It helps IT Administrators, Site Reliability Engineers (SREs), and IT Operators to confidently assess, diagnose, resolve, and avoid problems before they become outages affecting their customers or employees. In today’s world, more data means more information for users to monitor. This overwhelming amount of information is insurmountable for a human to process. Assistance is needed to provide Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can help proactively identify and alert humans to issues before they escalate. IBM Cloud Pak® for Watson AIOps deploys advanced, explainable Artificial Intelligence across applications, services, and infrastructure to help humans do their jobs better.

Project Description

Avoiding downtime has never been more important for enterprises. The objective of IBM Cloud Pak® for Watson AIOps is to help Information Technology (IT) Administrators, Site Reliability Engineers (SREs), and IT Operators keep their applications, services, and IT infrastructure running as smoothly as possible through a process called issue resolution. IT Operations teams receive thousands of notifications and alerts about what is happening in their networks daily. Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps helps them reduce alerts, understand the priority of the work to be done, and take the most appropriate action to resolve issues.

For example, SREs might be responsible for managing databases that record financial transactions across an IT system. When a potential problem occurs, alerts and notifications are created, and a ticket is raised and assigned to track the resolution. SREs must handle all of these aspects, prioritizing the overwhelming number of alerts they receive through application and network monitoring tools, so they can quickly act on critical issues and minimize any downtime and associated impact on business operations.

Customers expect applications, websites, and services to always be running smoothly, with very little error or downtime. Even the smallest outage can impact a company financially. This demand for a service that always works puts a lot of strain on IT Operations teams. Priority 1 incidents typically cost our customers on the order of $537 every second the issue goes unresolved!

Our design team used design-thinking methods to align around a shared vision:

  • Worked iteratively in sprints.
  • Incorporated user feedback and insights gained through in-depth and contextual interviews and observation.
  • Found common patterns through user research to design valuable products for all our users.
  • Created personas.
  • Completed usability testing at each stage of delivery.
  • Ran regular UX research sessions with 25 users across 9 industries.
  • Conducted evaluative research to verify that our designs were usable and delightful.

Our greatest challenge was ensuring clear communication by means of daily web conferences across multiple time zones and teams, using digital collaboration tools such as GitHub, Slack, Mural, and Webex.

Through user research, we learned that our key persona is Carlos, the SRE. When problems start to occur across his environment, finding and resolving issues can be a massive challenge. Carlos’s immediate priority is to restore service in order to minimize any outages. Our research showed that Carlos’s main pain-points are:

  • Eliminating noise
  • Prioritizing issues
  • Consolidating information
  • Determining probable causes and solutions

The experience was designed to address all of Carlos’s pain points and provide innovative solutions for Carlos to reduce mean time to detect, identify, isolate, and resolve an issue.

Our designs are based on the latest version of the Carbon Design System, an open-source framework created to build consistent experiences across IBM products by providing reusable elements such as components, patterns, guidance, and code. Having an effective design system has helped both our designers and developers solve simple problems in a consistent way, thereby freeing them up to focus on complex problems that need a unique and innovative approach.


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