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Cisco: Automation won’t kill off the IT team - but network complexity might

(Image credit: Image Credit: Flex)

IT departments need to act to fix a “world of complexity” that is causing difficulties for professionals the world over, a leading expert has warned.

Speaking at the recent IP Expo event in London, Gordon Thomson, ‎Cisco Systems managing director of enterprise networks, warned that as companies grow, so does their IT infrastructure, meaning that many IT departments are facing new challenges that they may never have even considered before.

“We are caught in a world of complexity,” he told an audience during his keynote address, “and the reality is that the network isn't going to become any less complex - unless we do something about it.”

In particular, Thomson noted that the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) means that IT managers now often have to look after hundreds of devices per person, meaning they became massively overstretched and more prone to errors.

This creates that perfect situation for new technologies such as AI and network automation to enter the IT department and help managers and administrators alike, giving them a much clearer view of the ecosystem they are looking after.

"Everyone worries that automation is going to kill off the job of the IT engineer,” Thomson said, “but it's not! We're going to expect the engineer to do far more than they do today, and automation will keep the business running."

In order to facilitate this, Cisco has a strategy of bringing services and silos together in a platform that makes the user experience better, and the back-end easier to manage, Thomson says.

He urged companies to define their strategic battlegrounds from a business perspective, identifying where their resources connect, particularly where “apps and data collide”

Noting how and where all your business’ resources, people and data come together, and how they can collaborate, could be the key to cutting through unnecessary complexity, Thomson said, allowing companies to “break through the glass ceiling of automation”.

"The onus is on build networks for the new automated world.” Thomson concluded, “The reality...isn't something that's available tomorrow, but today."

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.