Network automation leads to improved organizational and team performance

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CIOs who prod their organizations to make greater progress in network automation can expect to realize improvements in both organizational performance and team performance, according to Juniper’s 2019 State of Network Automation Report (SoNAR).

As enterprises focus on multi-cloud, rapid application development and deployment, and software-defined infrastructure and services, automation is increasingly a critical element of network management. In fact, 96% of those surveyed for the report indicate they are taking steps toward automation. But most are still in the early stages, and the vast majority of network and security operations continue to be largely manual in spite of decades of progress in automation technology.

It’s probably no surprise that the Juniper survey reveals that automation correlates with high organization performance—most of those who are 40% or more automated say they are exceeding their business goals. But it also indicates that automation improves team performance and contributes to greater employee satisfaction.

Team performance consistently higher

Those organizations that have automated parts or all of their network rate their team performance consistently higher than less automated organizations in the areas of customer or stakeholder satisfaction, operating efficiency, network product or service efficiency, and security product or service quality.

Those that have been automating longer report the greatest achievement on teams meeting their goals. And more than 90% of those that have automated more of their networks agree they reach a high level of productivity, are satisfied with the work they do, have the tools and resources they need, and believe their skills and abilities are being put to good use.

There’s evidence too in the report that IT leaders looking to leap ahead with network automation may want to focus their efforts and resources more deeply across a smaller cross-section of the network as they go about transforming culture, skills, and processes to foster automation. They should take note that the research showed that in some key categories, notably better business goal performance, enterprises focusing their automation efforts on only some places in the network outperformed those automating across the entire network.

Challenges to overcome

The top individual challenges to developing an automation practice that automation beginners and evaluators cite are:

  • Lack of time to learn on the job (59%)
  • Lack of knowledge necessary to access training (52%)
  • Fear of making a mistake in production (50%)
  • Lack of training resources (56%)

Business service level goals

Network automation components and tools allow engineers to focus their energies on building systems that support business service levels rather than device-level operations. Those looking for assistance in helping network engineers develop the necessary skills to drive adoption within their organizations in the evolution of network automation can take advantage of resources at NRE Labs, an open source, in-browser platform and community to support automation education.

Ultimately the goal is to leverage automation of network operations to unlock business opportunities and value. Network automation tools and behavior can correlate to improved business performance, IT outcomes, and success factors for team and individual work. For more insights on benefits, challenges, and results of automation, download the 2019 State of Network Automation Report (SoNAR).

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.