Cisco survey says IT professionals are eager to embrace artificial intelligence and machine learning

A new survey by Cisco finds that IT leaders are looking for greater use of AI and machine learning to help manage their networks. (Cisco)

With increasingly complex applications and services, IT professionals are looking to machine learning and artificial intelligence to help align their business needs.

In a survey of over 2,000 IT leaders and network strategists, Cisco found maximizing businesses' value to be IT’s top priority, which indicates a desire to drive greater innovation and closer alignment to business strategies.

In addition to investing in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), Cisco's survey also found that IT professionals are moving their networks towards intent-based networking. Cisco introduced intent-based networking with the launch of its DNA Center in 2017, and has since integrated it across the company's portfolio.

"IT teams today are running vast, complex networks that are providing massive amounts of data. But using that data to improve the network and accelerate the business requires new tools. That's why IT teams are embracing intent-based networking, AI and machine learning —because the business demands it," said Scott Harrell, SVP and GM, Cisco Enterprise Networking, in a statement. "AI will help IT break the cycle of maintaining the status quo. By embracing predictive analytics and AI-based operations, IT teams will pivot from reacting to technology needs to driving new business innovation."

According to the survey, IT leaders expect 5G, IoT and AI-enabled operations, threat detection and remediation to have the biggest impact on their network strategy and design over the next five years.

Almost 40% of the survey responses named maximizing IT’s business value as their top priority, higher than simplifying operations, optimizing employee productivity and minimizing security events. In order to achieve this, IT leaders and strategists said investing in AI technologies was crucial. Almost 50% of network strategists believe increasing the use of analytics and AI will help build the ideal network.

The use of intent-based networking will also help IT professionals tap into the benefits of software-defined networking (SDN.) In the survey, 41% claimed to have  least one instance of SDN in at least one of their network domains.

Only 4% of the respondents believed their networks have moved beyond software-defined networking and are intent-based today, but 35% said they believed their networks will be fully intent-based in two years’ time.

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During Cisco Live this past summer, Cisco announced new AI and machine ML capabilities to help IT teams work at machine speed and scale their work through personalized network insights.