The Business Impact of Network Automation
Amongst enterprises, networking technology has historically relied on manual processes and as a result, fallen behind compared to other IT segments with respect to automation and orchestration. Since manual processes can’t scale along with the growth and complexity of today’s networks, organizations have failed to take advantage of the business impacts (on both a financial and strategic level) that network automation can provide.
The sourcing, deployment, and management of today’s applications have evolved rapidly and are dramatically different from the best practices often, or even five years ago. With the adoption of DevOps, enterprises now expect continuous integration and delivery in increasingly shorter and shorter timeframes. Manual network processes have both a negative business and IT impact as it requires unacceptable time requirements for networks adds, moves, and changes.
While there have been multiple attempts at network automation solutions from vendors, most have not taken root in the market primarily due to implementation and maintenance complexities. Additionally, organizations that have taken on home-grown DIY automation initiatives have experienced subpar outcomes due to the volume of technical debt incurred by creating and maintaining the platform instead of adding value to IT and the business itself.
It is imperative that IT Networking catch up and keep pace with the changes and speed with which applications are created, deployed and managed. However, attempts to bridge the network IT skills gap by requiring staff to become programmers doesn’t make business sense (time and cost of training to value). Similarly, enterprise-wide DIY network automation projects require network teams to take significant resources away from strategies and initiatives that actually increase the value-add a company can offer its customers. The market bears out this need as a 2019 survey from 451 Research indicated that the top goal of their network technology was improving overall application/workload performance.
That same survey also indicated that a majority of respondents agree with the statement, “Day-to-day IT operations and maintenance take up too much of the IT department’s time, leaving not enough time to focus on new IT-enabled business initiatives and projects.”
For the most part, IT departments have largely organized themselves around manual processes and procedures that, in the best case, are slow but efficient and effective at managing change, and at worst, are disruptive hurdles that severely slow IT down. By substantiating these manual methods, IT is holding up value creation within the organization and forcing business units to acquire the software and services they need. Successful enterprises will look to automation platforms that allow IT to focus on building workflow automations quickly while allowing application architects to develop applications on the platform.
Achieve Real Benefits with Network Automation
Executed correctly, network automation can provide financial benefits including OPEX and interval reduction by reducing manual hours of labor and eliminate or condense the number of steps required to achieve networking goals and can have significant impacts on workload, such as reducing time to complete network changes or requests by over 90% and reducing error rates by over 98%. From a risk perspective, network automation can provide financial impact through efficiencies in staying on top of upgrades, compliance and a reportable state of network assets. For example, our customers have reported saving over $192,000 annually by saving over 2,000+ hours in automating software upgrades alone. Finally, from a digital transformation standpoint, a network automation platform can yield business impact by enhancing network velocity that is application-centric – by automating the end to end process including operational systems such as change management and unitize standard network activities.
Ultimately, network automation allows IT to reduce the time required to manage the network and adapt to new demands in a dynamic environment, which allows network admins to focus on work that adds value to the business such as enhancing application delivery, optimizing application traffic, and designing robust and reliable networks.
To learn more about how the Itential Automation Platform easily automates network-related management activities, check out a number of top network automation use cases that our customers have been able to see immediate business impact from.