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Lack of skills and investment in AI hampering modernisation of corporate networks

Dublin, Friday, 7th October 2022: Almost half (47%) of organisations are currently not using any artificial intelligence (AI) in IT operations, according to a report released today by leading independent network integrator Agile Networks with the support of Juniper Networks.

Of those organisations that haven’t embraced AI, more than one fifth (22%) have no roadmap in place for its adoption, despite the fact that almost 60% recognise the value of implementing these technologies in terms of streamlining productivity and efficiency within the IT department.

Commenting on the findings, Sean Nolan, business development manager with Agile Networks said:

“Many organisations are missing out on valuable opportunities to improve network operations and improve customer experience for network users.  For example, virtual network assistants such as Juniper Networks’ Marvis, which allow support to use natural language processing to troubleshoot network issues – are becoming increasingly popular and we’ve seen the volume of network support tickets plummet by as much as 90% for those that choose to deploy it.”

IT skills

Almost half of those questioned cited a lack of in-house expertise as a major barrier to the adoption of AI and automation and on a wider level, 57% said they don’t have all the necessary IT skills they require to run their business.

“The networking world is going through a period of disruption where traditional networking skills in IP are slowly being supplemented by new skills around programming and data science.  It’s encouraging to see some of our third-level establishments such as South East Technological University embrace this change and offer Bachelor of Engineering in Electronic Systems and an Master of Science in Industrial Networks & Cybersecurity but this doesn’t address the skills gap in the short term,” said Nolan.

 

Finding practical use cases

With networking teams struggling to keep pace as enterprises embrace cloud-first and work-from-anywhere strategies, almost 40% of those questioned are turning to AI to automate security.  Just under one third (31%) use it for helpdesk automation and one quarter use the technology to provision networks.

“One third of organisations are ‘undecided’ on whether AI or automation can free up time to focus on more complex problems,” said Nolan. “This is reflective of what we see in the market where some IT professionals simply don’t know where to start with AI.  We offer a flexible consulting process, using a proven methodology to drill into business processes and uncover AI opportunities that deliver real operational benefits.”

 

Evaluating new technologies and vendors

With buying processes radically changed, respondents were asked to cite their key sources of influence.  Online/offline media and peer reference were by far the most popular followed by industry analysts.

The shift in emphasis from traditional network engineering to AI is also causing organisations to re-evaluate hardware investments, reflected in recognition by market analyst, Gartner of new entrants to its Magic Quadrant for wired and wireless infrastructure.

“Organisations are re-considering networking hardware investments in light of new technologies such as AI and automation,” said Nolan.  “Juniper Networks for example is now considered to be the top networking vendor in the market by 17 per cent of our respondents, reflecting the unprecedented speed with which it has now overtaken traditional competitors such as Cisco and Aruba in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for wired and wireless infrastructure.”

The ‘Future of Networking’ report is based on an online poll, conducted in June by technology publisher, TechCentral.  104 IT professionals from across public and private sectors shared their views on a variety of topics from AI and automation to hybrid working and changing network management practices.

Copies of the ‘Future of Networking’ Report are available for immediate download.

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