Automation is a key tool in an era where urban manufacturing demands speed and accuracy. This technological shift eliminates manual processes, streamlines operations, and improves agility.
However, it is important to understand that automation does not supplant human workers. It only offloads time-consuming, arduous, or repetitive tasks from their hands.
Network automation frees IT staff to perform other tasks, like developing new technologies and implementing DevOps. It enables them to handle changes and upgrades faster, reduces human error, and improves efficiency. In addition, reducing network complexity and automating routine operations lowers operational costs, including personnel time spent on manual processes.
Streamlined operations improve network uptime, staff productivity, and security compliance while reducing after-hours and weekend calls resulting from IT outages or downtime. Start by creating a list of the most time-consuming and resource-hungry activities, such as those associated with change management and network configuration. Then, choose a tool that best matches your business processes and existing IT technologies and systems.
Zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) automation solutions enable vendors to ship networking devices with pre-configured software that eliminates the need for manual device configuration upon arrival at deployment sites. It significantly cuts deployment time, improves consistency, and enables IT teams to respond quickly to network issues and outages. Similarly, network automation can perform network troubleshooting and remediation automatically based on established rules and policies.
Many network automation tools are out there, ranging from open-source solutions to commercial ones that offer API access to their hardware and software. However, blind adoption of these tools leads to tool sprawl, reduced return on investment, and increased complexity in network management and operations.
Achieving a higher level of network automation maturity helps eliminate these problems and reduce downtime. It also frees IT staff to focus on other projects that provide more value for the business, accelerating service deployments and speeding up the response time to new requirements or services.
Having standardized configuration templates and clear service logic also reduces the chance of human errors that can cause outages. Automating tasks also allows for the elimination of manual work that could be done by non-IT staff, allowing IT teams to scale and support more offsite locations. This increase in productivity stimulates innovation and business benefits while opening up new employment opportunities for the current workforce. It also frees up resources to tackle more complex and risky work, such as troubleshooting and security monitoring.
Network automation aims to make your business run faster and more efficiently. Automating manual tasks allows you to free up IT resources and shift their focus to more specialized projects. As a result, you’ll see an immediate reduction in operational costs.
Furthermore, because automation eliminates the human factor from complex network processes, it reduces the likelihood of errors caused by negligence or oversight. These operational efficiency gains can further lower your operating costs and lead to significant savings in your budget.
However, it’s important to be careful when choosing an automation tool. You should choose a platform well-aligned with your business objectives and existing IT technologies. It should also have a feature set capable of meeting the needs of your NetOps, SecOps, and DevOps teams.
When implemented correctly, network automation can protect against human error and ensure that all necessary changes are made to the configuration of an enterprise’s networks and devices. It can help mitigate the risk of data breaches and other security issues that could seriously affect a business.
In addition, automated systems can detect configuration changes that may put the network at risk and alert technicians or even automatically make changes to correct these errors. This is especially important when considering how often human mistakes are made in the field, particularly when dealing with complex network configurations.
IT teams must understand the benefits of network automation and develop a strategy around it. Otherwise, blind adoption of this technology can lead to tool sprawl and reduce the return on investment for a network automation project. Organizations should thoroughly inventory their network and identify any processes that would benefit from automation. They should also research the available automation tools and choose the best fit for their infrastructures.
Using network automation, manufacturers can achieve faster deployment of new products and services and more responsive management. It helps manufacturers save resources, reduce downtime, and deliver on service level agreements (SLAs).
Network automation is also a great way to free up engineers from manual operating tasks that take up too much of their time. It allows them to work on more strategic projects and enhance the value of their team.
With advanced automation solutions, like AI-driven network analytics and AI-based fault detection and remediation, networks can be configured to self-remediate based on predefined rules and policies. It reduces operational costs and improves performance by eliminating human error.
However, network automation’s many benefits come with a perceived loss of control. Implementing a gradual approach to network automation is important so that teams can build trust and retain some control until they are ready to let go completely. It can be achieved by establishing an approval process in the first stages of network automation and ensuring that every execution is audited and ACL is deployed according to least-privilege principles.