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Survey: AIOps-driven network management can make your business run better

Jul 12, 20213 mins
Data Center ManagementNetwork Management Software

EMA study found networking pros who reported the most success with AIOps pointed to improved security and compliance as a potential benefit.

network management tools
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(Editor’s note: EMA has published “Revolutionizing Network Management with AIOps,” a report based on a survey of 309 network infrastructure and operations professionals who have experience with applying AIOps to network management. This article by EMA Vice President of Research Networking Shamus McGillicuddy further details the results of that report.)

Enterprise network infrastructure and operations teams are increasingly recognizing the value of applying AIOps to network management, according to new market research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

AI for IT operations (AIOps) is a maturing class of technology that combines machine learning, big data, and other advanced analytics to automate IT management processes. Fundamentally, AIOps correlates and analyzes diverse sets of IT data, identifies patterns, infers insights from those patterns, and presents those insights to IT personnel.

Recently, EMA published “Revolutionizing Network Management with AIOps,” a report that found 90% of the surveyed networking pros believe applying AIOps to network management can lead to better business outcomes for an overall enterprise. Individuals who had gone beyond the research phase to have actual hands-on experience with AIOps were the most enthusiastic about these potential benefits.

In other words, AIOps-driven network management can make a business run better. It can translate into better employee productivity, improved customer experience, and revenue generation. But how exactly does AIOps enable this boost to the business?

The Network Management Benefits of AIOps

 EMA asked survey respondents to identify the potential benefits of AIOps-driven network management that they consider most important to their IT organizations. Network infrastructure and operations pros are most enthusiastic about opportunities for:

  • Network optimization
  • Operational efficiency
  • Improved security/compliance

Network resiliency and cost reduction were secondary opportunities pursued by fewer IT organizations. Networking pros who reported the most success so far with AIOps were the most likely to single out improved security and compliance as a potential benefit.

Optimizing Existing Network Management Toolsets

 EMA asked networking pros if their interest in AIOps is driven by any shortcomings in their existing network management toolsets. Overall, 91% are hoping AIOps can address problems with their tools. The following opportunities were called out most often were by research respondents:

  • Mitigating conflicting or inaccurate data
  • Offsetting a lack of real-time insights
  • Eliminating tool fragmentation by correlating insights across discrete tools

A network architect with a $40 billion pharmaceutical company summarized this opportunity best in a conversation with EMA: “We have so many tools and so many GUIs, and every single tool is doing just one thing. If a vendor had functionality where they could marry their solu­tion with other tools and build AI around that, it would be useful. Vendors should look for ways to consolidate panes of glass with other tools, either through acquisition or ingesting and sharing data.”

However, networking pros shouldn’t expect AIOps to fix all their tool problems. Research respondents who reported the most success with applying AIOps to network management were the most likely to say that their AIOps interest isn’t driven by network management tool problems. This suggests that successful users of AIOps are focused on transforming network engineering and operations, rather than addressing challenges with their network management tools.

Although AIOps is still an emerging area of the IT management world, EMA believes it is already delivering significant value. Networking pros should be looking for opportunities to boost operations with AIOps features. Most network infrastructure vendors and network management vendors offer at least some AIOPs capabilities within their products today. Buyers should be asking their vendors about their AIOPs roadmaps.


Shamus McGillicuddy is the research director for the network management practice at Enterprise Management Associates. He has been covering the networking industry for more than 12 years as an analyst and journalist. Prior to joining EMA, Shamus was the news director for TechTarget's networking publications. He led the news team's coverage of all networking topics, from the infrastructure layer to the management layer. He has published hundreds of articles about the technology and competitive positioning of networking products and vendors. He was a founding editor of TechTarget's website, a leading resource for technical information and news on the software-defined networking industry.

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