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The Fourth Principle of AI by Design: Simplicity and Accessibility

A tool’s success often rests on one question: Is it easy to use? In this final installment of our series on the AI by Design framework, we’ll discuss how SolarWinds applies best practices in simplicity and accessibility to develop artificial intelligence-driven solutions that provide a deeply intuitive user experience. Let’s take a closer look.

Keeping Out Complexity

IT infrastructures seem to grow more convoluted by the day. All SolarWinds tools are designed to ease the burden of managing these environments on IT professionals, and our AI-driven solutions are no different. Throughout this series, we’ve seen that the processes underlying AI models are deeply complex. For these powerful systems to operate as effective tools, the complexity must be removed from the user experience. Only then will tech pros embrace this new technology with confidence. One way we facilitate easier interaction with our AI-driven solutions is to make them compatible with processes that the user is already familiar with.

Same Context, New Insights

The SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2024 surveyed hundreds of IT professionals, and the findings indicate plenty of optimism around AI integration in the industry. Still, the excitement will be short-lived if AI requires workers to learn new technical skills to leverage its benefits. Tech pros are accustomed to certain protocols and interfaces; diverting them to a different workflow can be overwhelming, especially when they are already grappling with complicated tasks. Regardless of its capabilities, users are unlikely to adopt a new tool if it calls for regular context switching or consistently forces users out of their comfort zone. For our AI systems to truly serve our customers, their intelligence shouldn’t operate as a separate entity that demands time and effort to interpret. Instead, SolarWinds AI solutions thread accurate insights into the interfaces our IT pros already use, augmenting existing workflows rather than devising brand-new ones. Our Anomaly-Based Alerts feature builds on the current alerting experience in our Hybrid Cloud Observability product, while the GenAI-powered Agent Assistance capability for SolarWinds® Service Desk extends the existing Agent experience.

Intelligence and Clarity

How do these AI-driven insights look in practice? AI systems are capable of delivering vast and multifaceted sets of information. However, given the demands of their roles, users don’t have time to constantly examine and double-check detailed content. Our large language models (LLMs) do the thinking in the background. They observe the IT issue, study past ticket data, and generate an appropriate response phrased for optimum clarity. We avoid technical jargon, filter out unnecessary background information, and only present critical, context-specific insights: “This is the ticket. We have seen these issues in the past. This is how we think you should proceed .”

Turning Down the Noise

No matter how clear and context-specific our AI responses are, providing too many can prove disastrous. Alert fatigue is a major challenge for today’s IT professionals . A constant flow of notifications can lead to missed issues, increasing the risk of system failures and security breaches. We’ve designed our AI to cut through the noise, not add to the racket. An alert triggers only if the alert condition is accurate and the metric data indicates an anomaly. This reduces the number of times an alert triggers. We link the results from the AI service directly to the alert itself, helping minimize alert blocks. Through smarter processes of linking and consolidation, our AI systems are designed to ensure you get the right information at the right time.

Power Made Simple

It’s important to remember that powerful technology isn’t necessarily user-friendly by default. Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize how tech professionals manage IT environments, but without thoughtful design around user experience, it risks adding stress rather than easing it. At SolarWinds, our goal is to turn complex, powerful processes into easy-to-use allies in the fight against infrastructural complexity. The principle of simplicity and accessibility works alongside other AI by Design principles to provide an ethical and sustainable framework for artificial intelligence. We’ve got the tools. Now, let’s get to work.

Read the full SolarWinds AI by Design series
Image of blog author Krishna Sai
Krishna Sai
Krishna Sai is the SVP of Technology & Engineering at SolarWinds. He has over two decades of experience in scaling & leading global teams, innovating…
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