Seize AI-driven Opportunities to Solve Hybrid Work Challenges

Artificial intelligence technology can help network teams better manage the challenges created by the distributed workforce.

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Sixty-two percent of organizations are planning to guarantee flexible work options to remain competitive in the marketplace, according to Foundry’s 2022 Future of Work Study. That’s causing some concerns around effective collaboration, IT staff and employee burnout, and the ability to maintain secure systems and processes.

But a network driven by artificial intelligence (AI) can help address these issues. Technologies including automation, machine learning, and natural language processing are used to gather data, analyze it, and then deliver insights or proactive recommendations for a more efficient, robust, and secure network.

We polled the CIO Experts Network of IT professionals and industry analysts to better understand how an AI-driven network can solve the challenges of a hybrid workforce. They believe the opportunities are significant.

“An AI-driven network can improve engagement with employees, customers, and partners while improving business resilience, agility and continuity, and employee productivity,” said Enrique Carrillo (@ecarrillo), Senior Vice President, Strategic Growth – Diverse Manufacturing, Consumer Products, Retails, and Telecom at WNS.

Improve the employee experience

Employee engagement and collaboration are crucial for business operations and innovation. Yet, the distributed nature of today’s workforce makes those connections more difficult. The experts suggested that an AI-driven network can guide business leaders toward improvements in communications.

“AI is critical in analyzing complex workforce communications and data needs wherever they originate, as well as the gaps where AI could have made a difference,” said Frank Cutitta (@fcutitta), CEO and Founder HealthTech Decisions Lab.

He added: “Given the use of hybrid workforce technologies like Zoom, the use of AI to analyze unstructured and conversational data from these platforms is imperative.”

Other experts emphasized that an AI-driven network can improve the overall user experience amid hybrid work:

“For example, conversational AI and conversational business applications help remote workers obtain intelligent answers when they need them from corporate business systems.” — Kieran Gilmurray (@KieranGilmurray), CEO at Digital Automation and Robotics Limited

“AI and automation will also make it easier for IT administrators to set up and onboard new employees regardless of their normal work location. Workers will get access to the applications and files they need no matter where they are.” — Emily Gray-Fow (@Emily_Gray_Fow), B2B tech and engineering content writer

“AI is becoming increasingly important following the pandemic-driven increase in hybrid workforces, where reliance on disparate, often complex networks by users is essential in undertaking their jobs. This is not just for more traditional activities such as data and operational application access, but also more fundamental areas such as team communications through voice and video.” — David Cotgreave, Professional Services Director at Stoneseed

Another way that an AI-driven network improves the user experience: It speeds up network traffic by rapidly identifying problem areas and ensuring consistent connectivity.

“AI can be used to monitor, pinpoint, and automatically self-heal network issues more quickly than humans,” Gilmurray said. “This provides greater network resiliency for remote workers without the need to worry about IT or network connectivity issues. AI robots can complete mundane and routines tasks, which can lead to a happier, more productive hybrid workforce who are free to concentrate on higher value-add business tasks.”

Scott Schober (@ScottBVS), President/CEO at Berkeley Varitronics Systems Inc., agreed. “AI-driven networks in a hybrid workforce environment effectively handle the never-ending collection and analysis of crucial data. This model provides quick answers and seamless access regardless of the worker’s location.”

Optimize the network and strengthen security

IT, network, and security teams can also make more informed decisions, thanks to an AI-driven network.

“An AI-driven network can better respond to the highly dynamic needs of a hybrid workforce,” added Isaac Sacolick (@nyike), President of StarCIO and author of Digital Trailblazer. “Networks no longer support X people in Y locations running applications requiring Z bandwidth with a finite number of security threats.”

Will Kelly (@willkelly), content and product marketing manager focused on the cloud and DevOps, added: “Running a network that supports a hybrid workforce requires the capability to scale and optimize network access via wireless access points up and down to meet fluctuations among hybrid workers who come into a corporate office to work. Such scalability driven by AI makes a lot of sense.”

That’s because AI doesn’t sleep and can handle enormous workloads, said Peter Nichol (@PeterBNichol), Chief Technology Officer at OROCA Innovations.

“Human resources can’t be in all places at the same time,” he said. “Inevitably even your best customer support technicians need sleep. AI-driven virtual network assistants work 24x7, can monitor thousands of systems, and engage with customers communicating in hundreds of languages. AI operators drive improved predictability, enhanced reliability, and measurable savings that allow leaders time to experiment more with the innovations of tomorrow.”

There’s also the issue of network security, a seemingly ever-moving target amid sophisticated cyberthreats. An AI-driven network can support the efforts of security teams in terms of monitoring, detection, and analysis, say the Experts:

“While the work-from-anywhere hybrid workforce is great for employees and organizations’ ability to attract top talent, it is fraught with new types of threats. Technology is providing us with more ways to assess user and device trust, and AI plays an enormous part in consuming and evaluating those data points. Without AI, we can’t keep up and would not be able to use all the valuable information available. — Nicki Doble, Chief Transformation Officer, AIA Philippines

“With a zero trust model, it doesn’t matter to the network if the user is sitting at their desk at the headquarters office or sitting in their pajamas on a BYOD laptop at home. Not only are both connections considered to be equally secure (or rather equally insecure), the AI-monitored network will be able to spot unusual or suspicious activity in either scenario.” — Gray-Fow

“AI can be deployed to collect and analyze network-based insights in real time. For example, it can detect anomalies and pinpoint the source of them with unprecedented speed and accuracy. It can also recommend actions for proactive correction, and even be engineered to correct some issues automatically before anyone even knows they exist.” — Ramprakash Ramamoorthy, Director of AI Research, Zoho Corporation

Empower IT teams with AI

At the end of the day, an AI-driven network solves multiple challenges that have arisen due to hybrid work.

“AI-driven networks have a central role to play for every IT department,” Cotgreave said. “AI has a key role in all our futures; don’t be frightened by press reports of killer robots in San Francisco. The reality is more enabler than terminator!”

Learn more about how an AI-driven network alleviates the challenges associated with the hybrid workforce. Visit.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.