The impact of intelligent systems on IT teams

Fast track deployment of intelligent systems is well underway, according to Ipswitch. 88% of IT professionals saying their organisation has already invested in one or more intelligent solutions, from bots, through smart business applications, to full-blown expert systems.

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The study also shows that 78% of IT professionals are struggling with assessing the full extent of the challenges and threats of deploying intelligent systems themselves, and managing the impact of broader intelligent technology use across their industries and customer bases.

19% report it being ‘extremely hard’ to assess the threats and challenges, and 59% report it as a ‘challenge’. The independent global study, carried out by analyst firm Freeform Dynamics explores the fast-paced adoption of intelligent machines and business systems (machines and software with decision making and learning capabilities) in the commercial world.

Adoption of intelligent systems is increasingly seen as a key competitive marketplace differentiator, with 35% of IT decision makers already saying the ability to exploit intelligent systems is critical to enabling their business to compete successfully over the next three years.

Three quarters of respondents (75%) are utilising intelligent systems to marshal and manage increasingly complex networks and IT system infrastructures. The research shows that:

  • 20% are using autonomous bots and electronic assistants to help staff or customers interact with systems more naturally – a further 27% plan to do so in the next year
  • Over a quarter (26%) already have IoT initiatives underway – and 29% have deployments on the horizon
  • 28% are utilising expert decision support systems to optimise how professional staff work – 35% will introduce these soon.

Managing the complexity of intelligent systems on the network

Despite the fact that many IT professionals acknowledge the significant commercial and operational benefits of intelligent systems, and the way adoption is trending among partners, competitors and customers, they are concerned about the ability of IT teams to counter the potential risks such technologies pose:

  • Over half (54%) say their current analysis and visualisation capabilities will struggle to keep up with the broader march of intelligent systems
  • 55% say their ability to visualise data in a clear and actionable manner falls short of what they need
  • Almost three quarters (71%) say that making sense of logs and other event data generated is proving extremely demanding.

Over a third (39%) also recognise that, regardless of their firm’s plans to use intelligent systems, the impact of other organisations’ use will be a major consideration for their own infrastructure. For instance:

  • One in five (20%) say that increased activity from third party bots, agents and IoT accessing systems is already making it hard to monitor, track and govern systems and 42% say they believe it is a future risk
  • One fifth (20%) say that increased ‘noise’ on the network is already making it harder to detect malicious activity
  • 17% say that automated or bot traffic creates network quality of service issues
  • 20% also say that automated or bot access to APIs is already causing system or application performance issues.

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Future proofing the network

“The study findings show that out of date monitoring approaches are adding to the risk management burden experienced by IT professionals. Less than a third (28%) of respondents had strong and future proof monitoring, analysis and management tools in place to help manage the impact of intelligent systems, and just a quarter (25%) were confident about the capabilities of their performance monitoring and operational analytics tools. Meanwhile, less than a fifth (18%) said their ability to manage the identities of internet-connected ‘things’ was strong and future proofed,” said Rob Farmer, EMEA Senior Director Partner and Alliances at Ipswitch.

“Today’s IT professionals are struggling to keep up with the fast-paced rate of technological changes and formulating relevant strategies and plans to tackle the impact of intelligent systems is proving a make or break challenge. IT teams should strive to monitor bandwidth usage by application, user and device to determine how much is used by each entity and whether it is for authorised purposes or not. Deploying proactive monitoring and visualisation tools for high priority assets, with threshold alerts for critical resources, is becoming a must for assuring the availability and reliability of mission-critical networks, servers and business applications in the face of an unending wave of new technologies that require increasingly large amounts of high quality bandwidth,” Farmer concluded.