The Value of Automating Your Network

by Metsi | March 18, 2022

March 18, 2022

Metsi Networking Practice Lead Albert Short breaks down the value of network automation, and how businesses can reap its benefits with a clear planning, implementation and culture-centred approach.

Network automation has moved from the fresh and shiny hyped innovation to the backbone of the modern organisation. Today, it is fundamental to providing organisations with the foundations they need to enable mesh networking, high-speed and low-latency network functionality, infrastructure modernisation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the self-healing, self-analysing network needed for absolute scale and agility.

It is, as PwC points out, part of the hyperconnected network trend that’s transforming interactions between humans and autonomous systems thanks to its ubiquity, speed and intelligent capability.

Intelligence-driven solutions

Network automation can shift the traditional network dialogue away from complications, limited connectivity, complex security and problem-solving by embedding intelligence into the system. The self-healing, self-analysing network uses information and data to continuously adapt to what the business requires and to overcome problems automatically. This immediately changes the value of the network – from a tool that connects, to a differentiator that can potentially allow the business to refine its infrastructure and technology approaches. McKinsey believes that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are key to optimising end-to-end business processes, helping with complex prediction problems and decision making.

network automation

Fully realising the potential of network automation asks that the business follow clear steps to achieve this value in a measurable and sustainable way:

    1. Identify network automation goals. This means digging deep into existing network infrastructure, complexity and limitations to identify the issues or bottlenecks that may be impacting network efficiency. This will define the roadmap that will help the business to design a network that alleviates these problems, overcomes legacy issues, and introduces streamlined deployment practices.
  1. Establish clear transition goals and focus on culture. There is significant research that points to culture as the reason why transformation and technology investments fail. For network automation tools and capabilities to truly thrive within the organisation, it is essential that the transition from manual to automation is managed properly and that it is a culture change initiated with people in mind, and with executive support. This will not only ensure that the processes introduced will be accepted and used, but that they’re relevant to the business itself.

  2. Focus on standardisation. Standardising network solutions allows for the business to reduce the risk of configuration drift or the introduction of non-standard deployments that could impact on efficacy and security. The goal is to use the planning undertaken in the step above to ensure that the business avoids investing into snowflake designs or complicated configurations that are difficult to automate, troubleshoot and manage. Real value lies in avoiding the unpredictable by implementing the simple and the effective.

  3. Skills development and communication. Ensure that your teams know how to use the tools that will be implemented within the network with ongoing skills development and training. This is also a good time to remember that you need team buy-in throughout the process, so don’t dump the network and run – include, train and engage.

  4. The tortoise had a point. In the old tale of the rabbit and the tortoise, the latter always won because ultimately, especially in technology, slow and steady wins the race. You can significantly mitigate risk by approaching network automation steadily, thereby avoiding major mistakes and allowing time to modify and enhance process and implementation.

To fully realise the business value of automation, collaborate with a company that has expertise in this area and knows how to deftly navigate the complexities and essential steps that come with shifting your business into modern gear. The Metsi blueprint enables customers to accelerate their journey to digital maturity by aligning to their IT and business goals, taking a service-centric approach to application and platform modernisation, and delivering outcomes that customers want, and expect, from their networks. Metsi has worked with a global list of clients to transform their systems and networks, introducing automation and intelligence that is sustainable and delivers measurable value.

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