AIOps lessons learned: Be careful when selecting a vendor
The concept of AIops is simple: Infuse artificial intelligence(AI) into IT to make operations speedier and more efficient. In theory, AIops at its best should lead to an autonomous IT environment in which functions can run themselves with little or no human intervention. In practicality, the path to this nirvana state is anything but straightforward and raises several questions. Where should you start? How do you measure the value? Is AI ready to scale across production environments? Do I need new tools?
Although there is no easy button for AIops, it’s certainly worth exploring because IT operations have grown significantly more complex, particularly over the past couple of years as IT staff have been sent home to do their jobs. Businesses are becoming increasingly dynamic, mobile, cloud-centric, and distributed, which is creating a massive gap between budgets and the role of IT. AIOps can help close that gap.
Research firm ZK Research, in partnership with Masergy, conducted an AIops study to shed light on where the industry is and to provide some insights as to how to answer some of these questions, enabling businesses to move forward with AIops. The study was a total sample size of 510 enterprise-class companies across a wide range of industries.
The study focused primarily on the intersection of AIops with network operations, given the number of significant market transitions happening in the network and the fact that networks touch all parts of an IT system. Software-defined WANs (SD-WAN), secure access service edge (SASE), remote and hybrid work, 5G, and other trends make managing the network extremely challenging using legacy operations. The goal of the survey was to find out whether networking was ripe for AIops.
Here are some of the key findings of the survey.
Adoption rates offer warning to IT pros: AI analytics don’t equal automation
Don’t be fooled by AI-based analytics. Many IT leaders think that because they’ve implemented AIops, they are on the path to full automation. However, that isn’t always true. The study findings indicate that it’s highly possible buyers are getting caught in this misconception.
A whopping 64% of IT leaders said they are currently using AIops, compared to 37% who are simply evaluating or exploring the technology. Anecdotal research indicates the 64% number is too high because ZK Research was expecting about 50%. While it may seem that this is contradicting the survey data, it underscores that there is a misunderstanding of what AIops actually is. ZK Research said that over-reporting adoption is often the case with emerging tech.
In the early days of the cloud, businesses using a basic hosted service were claiming to use the cloud. This is a step on the way to the cloud, but this is not a cloud implementation. A more recent example is SD-WAN. Early in the buying cycle, businesses that had adopted broadband for corporate connectivity considered this to be SD-WAN, but it isn’t.
The data presents a good news/bad news scenario for the industry. It’s certainly a positive that such a high percentage of companies are interested in AIops, but it’s a negative that many will go through some growing pains as IT pros better understand which vendors are using AI and which others are using the term for marketing.
It’s critical that evaluators of AIops systems understand what they are using and if the AIops toolset they’re evaluating can improve a user’s autonomy. AIOps is not a network management tool with a few recommendations, nor is it a security dashboard with a clever color scheme or a basic rules-based engine that requires constant updating.
One way to tell is to look at what is powering the engine. AIOps should be built on machine learning and behavioral and predictive analytics that do more than point to problems, generating tickets for IT staff. AIOps should offer verified solutions and help IT teams carry out necessary modifications. AIOps engines should come front-loaded with network management and security intelligence, but more importantly, they should be observing real-time data 24/7 to learn from existing environments.
Companies and threat landscapes are always evolving, so AIops should move with them, getting smarter over time. Ask the vendor about the product’s problem-solving accuracy rate today compared to a year ago. Other good questions to ask are: How long it will take to learn your environment, and how often do the models need to be retrained? Buyers need to be diligent when selecting an AIops tool.
IT operational efficiency is a good starting point
One of the first questions asked in the survey was: “What are the primary reasons for your interest in AIops tools?” because this would provide some insight into common use cases. The top responses were stack-ranked in this order:
- Gain IT operational efficiency/productivity
- Faster security threat response
- Faster security threat identification
- Improve network reliability
- Improve network/application performance
This data shows that companies are using AIops platforms for basic blocking and tackling first before using them for more advanced tasks. This is the right approach because the network needs to be secure and optimized before companies can look to advanced capabilities, such as intent-based networking.
AIOps is for network and security
One of the pleasant surprises from the study was the coming together of network and security. Typically, large enterprises keep a walled garden between the two teams. After years of talking about bringing these teams together, it’s good that businesses are finally looking for a single tool that can be used by both groups.
This trend was highlighted by the question, “What are the top criteria by which you will select an AIops provider?” The top response was “AIops features,” which include analytics, predictions, recommendations, and integration. This supports the above data points that the technology is used to improve IT operations. The second-highest response was ”Ability to address network and security.” In fact, the study found that 55% of those already using AIops leverage it across both IT domains.
Think twice before taking a DIY approach
The survey asked: “What deployment model will you choose for AIops?” Topping the list was in-house management at 47%, followed by comanagement at 32%, and fully managed services at 21%. Given it’s so early in the AIops cycle, ZK Research expected a do-it-yourself preference, which is common with new technology. A word of caution: Getting AI models trained and retrained to work in a production environment is not trivial.
In this case, ZK Research recommends seeking a managed service provider to at least assist in ensuring that the data sets are good. In data sciences, there’s an axiom that states, “Good data leads to good insights,” but bad data can lead to bad insights. Managed services can help ensure the best results quickly.
AIOps is no longer the stuff of science fiction. The technology is real and works today. Businesses that are considering AIops should learn from the study and use it to solve the basics first before endeavoring to shift to more advanced capabilities. Furthermore, choose your vendor carefully and challenge the company to provide metrics and data on the performance of the product. Finally, if your company isn’t filled with data scientists – and most are not – then seek a managed services partner that can help.
Contact us today and consult with one of our SD-WAN experts.
Call us now to arrange a consultation (866) 588-5885.
Or arrange for a consultation through our request form.
Three Considerations for Creating a Future-Ready Enterprise
Learn about what business leaders should do to create a technology-forward, future-ready enterprise.
Delivering On The Digital-First Promise: How To Meet Heightened Demand With Less Risk
The best digital strategies foster an IT ecosystem where checks and balances allow emerging technologies to synthesize with security and the network.
AI Can Automate Your Network: Buyer’s Guide from ZK Research
Want to use AI to automate your network? These three tips from ZK Research serve as a buyer’s guide for AIOps success.
Sorting Out the Differences in SSE, SASE and SD-WAN
Running a network, connecting users to information, and defending enterprise data have all been becoming interdependent workloads. This article will help buyers sort out what they need and who offers the best solutions in each category.
Think of SASE as a Framework — Not a Checklist
A checklist approach to SASE can be problematic. Instead, tailor your perfect SASE solution to solve your biggest business problems — here’s how.
Masergy Acquisition helps Comcast Business be Named a 2022 Market Leader for Managed SD-WAN Services and SDN Transformation Services by ISG
Solution advancements as well as the increased capabilities gained from Masergy make Comcast Business an SD-WAN 'Leader'.
New 2022 SASE Market Trends Study Shows Solutions Exceed Expectations in Remote Work Connectivity and Security
Distributed workforce trends and digital services accelerate SASE investments, according to CIO research sponsored by Masergy and Fortinet.
CIO Survey Says SASE Solutions are Exceeding Expectations
New research from CIO reveals which SASE features early adopters prioritize and where benefits payout beyond initial predictions.
Masergy, Fortinet, and Ingram Micro Trailblazing SD-WAN for Resellers with New Managed Services Sales Route
Offering enables resellers to easily scale their businesses, meeting growing demand for network and security services supporting hybrid work.
The Transformation Trifecta at the Heart of the Hybrid Work Revolution
How sustainable is your hybrid work strategy? It's time to unite the disciplines of connectivity, cybersecurity and collaboration.
Masergy Wins “Editor’s Choice MSSP of the Year” Global InfoSec Award During RSA Conference 2022
As a leading managed security services provider, Masergy earns one of Cyber Defense Magazine’s most prestigious awards. Here’s why.
Getting Software‑Defined Network as a Service (SD‑NaaS) Right
Explore modern SD-NaaS, understanding benefits, drawbacks, ways to get started, and considerations when selecting your provider.
The Comcast Business Story – An Overview
Comcast Business and Masergy have joined forces - We are your one provider for all your secure networking needs.
SEVEN leaders from Comcast Business and Masergy recognized on CRN’s 2022 Women of the Channel List!
New Distribution Route Makes SD-WAN Services Frictionless for Resellers
Can you hear me OK? How to keep video conferencing from dragging down your network
A more reliable network service is non-negotiable when relying on video conferencing for hybrid work. Here’s what IT leaders should consider.
Making the Business Case for SASE
Want to make SASE a no-brainer? Explore the essential elements for justifying your investment, and leveraging your existing initiatives to get started.
Masergy Awarded 2022 TMCnet Remote Work Pioneer Award
Masergy succeeds in making remote work actually work well for IT teams in the long run.
Masergy Awarded 2022 INTERNET TELEPHONY SD-WAN Product of the Year Award
Masergy’s SD-WAN demonstrates the innovation, vision, and execution to deliver software-based networking tools driving upward market trajectory.
Masergy Acquisition Helps Comcast Business Achieve #2 Position in 2021 U.S. Carrier Managed SD-WAN Services Leaderboard
As the fastest growing SD-WAN company, Comcast Business takes second position, thanks to organic growth and Masergy.
Masergy Wins Fortinet’s MSSP Partner of the Year Award
The award recognizes Masergy's exemplifying innovation, growth, and strategic business alignment with Fortinet.
Masergy Named as a Visionary in 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Network Services, Global for Sixth Consecutive Year
Masergy today announced it has been named a Visionary in Gartner, Inc.’s March 2022 Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global, report.
Improve your hybrid workplace video experience: Proven approaches for multi-cloud application performance management
Companies need guaranteed performance between their enterprise network and the UC provider’s service network. Here's how to ensure it.
Meeting the moment for hybrid work cybersecurity
A growing number of cyberattacks and the explosion of hybrid work have pushed security resources to the brink, exposing the need for more managed services backed by machine learning.