The network environment that agency and departmental IT teams work with has become increasingly difficult and time-consuming to manage in recent years. As the shift to full cloud adoption continues, teams find themselves adding new devices and equipment almost daily, while struggling to maintain multiple legacy systems that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. To say this is a complex situation would be an understatement.
When there is an outage, downtime, or something doesn’t work as expected, the IT team’s regular tasks are put on hold until normal operations can be restored. The critical nature of government work makes this necessary. Sometimes the cause of a breakdown is easily identifiable and can be quickly repaired. That said, fixing problems whose causes aren’t immediately recognizable can become an IT team’s biggest waste of time. Troubleshooting often requires a trial and error approach, and it’s a matter of luck whether the problem is located quickly or hours later.
Every second of downtime increases end-user dissatisfaction and impacts the services provided by departments. With many agencies also struggling with understaffing, due to budgets or labor shortages, there needs to be a better way to understand issues and expedite repairs. It is by embracing artificial intelligence.
Helping employees create value
AI can be applied to network monitoring and management to help teams identify issues that are creating outages or other issues.
Traditionally, teams would be faced with a choice. They could either take a reactive approach to network management, where the team springs into action once a problem arises, or they could dedicate a team member (or more) to regularly monitor and review the alerts to identify potential issues or issues that needed to be resolved. addressed. These choices either meant that the IT team was always on the defensive, or that they were tasked with mundane tasks like monitoring alerts, which prevented talented employees from truly adding value to the team and the environment. ‘company. It was a no-win situation.
Using AI in the agency network environment can take on the undesirable task of monitoring the network environment and deciphering which alerts are important and which can be shelved for another day. AI can help eliminate false alarms, while ensuring valuable employees aren’t cooped up all day watching and reviewing alerts. AI can help ensure that every team member has the opportunity to add value.
As AI technologies are deployed in a network environment, they can understand the correct baseline for operations and know when there is an anomaly with respect to that baseline. Since the AI recognizes what a proper feature is supposed to look like, it can help the team fine-tune and identify issues that are causing it to crash or slow down.
In traditional setups, once a problem has been identified, the IT team begins working on a checklist of potential causes, checking and rechecking until the root cause of the problem is discovered. Naturally, this can either go smoothly or take hours or even days of effort to resolve. With AI in place, when a failure occurs, AI can often immediately identify the culprit, or the most likely candidates, speeding up the discovery process and ultimately the time to repair.
In fact, even in situations where the AI encounters a problem it hasn’t seen or been trained to recognize before, it can act like a human member of the team and work on the potential causes. The checklist is quickly and automatically reviewed, and partial information from multiple sources can be collated along with past experiences to narrow down the culprits. IT teams then receive much more qualified information about the most likely causes, which helps them get back to normal quickly.
Assistance with repairs
Another benefit of using AI within the branch network is to assist in the effective repair of breakdowns or issues that have been identified. While AI can identify a problem faster than a human (and won’t complain about performing mundane tasks like watching alerts all day), it can also help implement fixes.
The AI technology can recommend the actual steps to take to fix a breakdown or fix a problem it has discovered. Although the AI is still a long way from being able to replace a faulty cable or install a new router, it can provide recommended fixes for issues it discovers, which can speed up repair time.
This ability is also linked to the labor shortage that so many agencies face. AI that makes recommendations and essentially provides a repair manual can help less experienced team members learn how to make repairs.
When talent, experience and numbers are at a disadvantage, AI can help fill the gaps and keep IT teams happy and add value, while ensuring that the user experience for agency employees is maintained.
Todd Nicholson is Director of Vertical Marketing at Juniper Networks.
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