Network Automation: Adding Up the Cost Savings and Benefits

BrandPost By Steve Wexler
Feb 27, 2017

Speed, reliability, efficiency, and flexibility lay the foundation for transformation

To unlock exponential growth and business transformation, companies need to create a network that’s responsive, agile, and easily managed – one that is automated to help companies adapt to shifting business needs.Juniper Report:  Will Your Company Survive The Next Big Disruption? IT As The Great Enabler

As we transition to the all-digital, all-the-time connected world of people, things and processes — driven by cloud, mobility, IoT and analytics — demands on your network are skyrocketing. By 2020 there will be 4.1 billion Internet users, 26.3 billion networked devices and connections, and datacenter traffic will jump 330%. Networks must become more flexible, scalable, interoperable, easier to manage, secure and supportive of applications to enable this transformation, and this makes automation an increasingly attractive option.

IT decision makers (ITDMs) believe automation is the cornerstone strategy to increase network agility and reliability while controlling OpEx and CapEx, i.e. automating the 20% of networking tasks that take up to 80% of the staff’s time. However, while most ITDMs see automation as essential — i.e. only 16% to 30% of daily network administrative tasks have been automated; 80% of businesses experience network errors caused by human mistakes on a regular basis; and non-automated networks average 5-6 errors per month — fewer than 40% say they’ve managed to deploy automation meaningfully. The top budgets barriers to technology updates are security and compliance, employee skill sets, legacy network technology and organization structure.

Network automation is not the only solution to this onrushing digital disruption, but it gives all businesses, big or small, the ways to stay ahead. A network that’s responsive, agile and easily managed — one that is automated — can help companies adapt to shifting business needs. And it can be surprisingly affordable: an average Return on Investment of 349% over five years and payback in as little as six months.

Network Automation Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of network automation is lower operational expense. By eliminating tedious and manual processes through automated and orchestrated infrastructures, you not only extend your network’s capabilities but also achieve a faster ROI.

Automation also reduces errors and builds resiliency. In addition to automating manual tasks to minimize network errors, many solutions automatically respond to network errors without intervention, improving business resiliency and ensuring employees have access to the applications and data they need whenever they need it.

Juniper’s approach to automation is to reduce operational complexity through simplification and abstraction, enabling customers to deploy new network services faster, and improve capacity utilization and network resiliency through deep telemetry. These ‘zero touch’ networks rely on telemetry, automation, machine learning, and programming with declarative intent. For example, our Zero Touch Provisioning (ZPT) allows you to automate Day One provisioning and configuring tasks on our switches and routers, saving time and resources, and eliminating costly errors.

In addition to all the other benefits, the potential savings from network automation are also significant. An IDC study found that companies lowered their networking costs by 33% using network automation solutions from Juniper.

The bottom line is that you need to automate your network to ensure its speed, reliability, efficiency, and flexibility will meet your needs today and tomorrow. Your network is the essential link between you and your customers, your critical applications and your staff and partners. In a digital world, the network is everything, and automation is the capability that will help make it future-proof.

Network Automation: Build or Buy?

Once you’ve decided that you want to automate your network, the next decision is do you do it yourself, outsource, or some combination of both? Answering these questions can help you make your decision:

  • Which network automation technologies are best suited to your needs?   
  • Do you have personnel who have expertise in automation technologies?
  • Do you have sufficient personnel resources to deploy automation technologies?
  • If not, does your vendor offer professional services that can assist your team with automating your network?     
  • What are the risks of automating, and how do you mitigate the risks?      
  • What are the benefits of automating sooner rather than later?   
  • Do you know how to begin automating your network?