Almost half of companies not using AI
Almost half of IT professionals say their organisations are not using artificial intelligence in IT operations. Furthermore, of the organisations that haven’t embraced AI, 22% don’t have a roadmap in place for its adoption. That’s according to the latest TechBeat survey carried out in association with Agile Networks and supported by Juniper Networks. The poll of 104 professionals across public and private sectors addressed a number of issues from the use of artificial intelligence and automation to satisfaction with hybrid working models and support for upskilling.
AI in work
Seán Nolan, business development manager, Agile Networks, commented on the findings. “With almost half of our respondents not using AI in IT operations and half of those with no plans to adopt it, many organisations are missing out on valuable opportunities to streamline operations and improve customer experience,” he said. “Virtual network assistants such as Juniper’s Marvis – which allow support staff to use natural language processing to troubleshoot network issues – are becoming increasingly popular and, in our experience, organisations have seen the volume of network support tickets plummet by as much as 90% with their adoption.
“Nearly 50% have no AI roadmap. We believe that this is partly reflective of the fact that many organisations simply don’t know where to start with AI. In unknown territory, they struggle to find practical, workable use cases. We offer a flexible consulting process, which uses a proven methodology to drill into business processes and uncover AI opportunities that deliver real operational benefits.”
When it comes to automation the survey found that 30% of respondents were using it whever possible, with 47% were using it in certain areas alongside more ‘traditional’ technologies. Once again there seems to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach in effect. Nearly 60% of organisations not currently using automation have no plans to do so.
“We were very surprised that this figure is so high as the automation of routine networking tasks presents the opportunity to drive real efficiency gains, releasing scarce technical support staff to do more strategic work on the organisation’s underlying infrastructure,” said Nolan. “Now more than ever, the business is calling for IT to deliver more with less and this is a classic case where automation can greatly contribute to that objective.”
In terms of getting out of this rut the main problem seems to be the lack of available skills. Nearly half (48%) of respondents cited this as their biggest barrier to AI or automation. The issue is compounded by the competition for talent, which was cited as a barrier by 19% of respondents.
“We all know there is a shortage of technical skills across the technology stack and networking is no exception. It’s not something that can be fixed overnight but we are encouraged by third level institutions, such as South East Technological University, embrace this change and offer Bachelor of Enging in Electronic Systems and an Master of Science in Industrial Networks & Cybersecurity. It’s not something that can be fixed overnight. While we’re waiting on the class of 2026, outsourcing AI or automation to a credible and knowledgeable partner is the best strategy in the interim.”
IT and new ways of working
The rapid adoption of hybrid working has led to widespread change in IT support structures and the survey produced no surprises in finding that 67% had changed their procedure to suit the times. The use of smartphone apps as a means of communication hasn’t proven as popular, though more than a third (35%) said they had considered deploying an app specifically for this reason.
“It’s quite surprising to see that almost one third of organisations have not changed IT support processes for remote workers,” said Nolan. “The ‘work from home’ environment is very different and adds extra complexity when you consider access technologies such as VPNs and thin client.
“We’re seeing increased awareness in no-code app building platforms, which help staff stay connected through push notifications and location-based experiences that respect the new normal. We’re just in the process of completing our first deal for Modolabs, which will be used by a leading third level institution to provide smartphone-based, way-finding for its student population on campus.”
The promise of AI to manage simple tasks so employees can focus on higher order problems is something IT professionals are looking forward to experiencing the full benefits of. A full 60% either agreed or strongly agreed that either AI or automation will free up time to deal with more important or complex tasks.
“Organisations clearly see the value of AI and automation but are unsure how to operationalise it and extract value from it. Use case development by technology vendors is extremely important and that’s something we focus on in Agile Networks,” said Nolan.
Finally, the vast majority of respondents reported being happy with their home working experience. Almost half (47%) agreed they felt fully connected and integrated working from home, with a further 30% saying they strongly agreed.
“The networking industry as a whole has done a really good job, helping staff to smoothly transition from the office to ‘work from home’ environments,” said Nolan. “Much of this back-end work is invisible to the employee, but to the network team it’s seismic. Trusting and securing ‘last mile’ connectivity that’s not your own is huge leap forward and reflective of an ever-expanding network perimeter.”
To read the full report click here.