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The Benefits of Network Automation

“Network automation offers real growth opportunities across businesses.” – Will your company survive the next big disruptions? IT as the great enabler – June 2016

In a report by Juniper Networks in June 2016, they identified Network Automation as a way of growing your business. More than 90 per cent of respondents at companies using software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions say network automation gives them a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace. Across enterprise and service provider businesses, the benefits of automation are already being realised.

The report goes on to say, “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.”

What is network automation?

Network automation is the process of automating the configuration, management, testing, deployment, and operations of physical and virtual devices within a network. 

Everyday network tasks and functions are performed automatically.

Using a combination of hardware and software-based solutions, large organisations, service providers, and enterprises can implement network automation to control and manage repetitive processes and improve network service availability.

Why are businesses turning to network automation?

As we head into the latest decade, never have we been so connected. In the world of all-digital and all-the-time connected, demands on networks are being pushed to the limit. This all-digital era is being driven by cloud, mobility, Internet of Things (IoT) and analytics.

In order to keep on top of these high network demands, it is imperative for networks to become more flexible, scalable, easier to manage and secure – all in one solution – and this makes automation an attractive option.

Network automation is a way to free up valuable staff time, allowing businesses to be more responsive and to allocate resources where they are most needed. In this age of digital disruption, network automation is no longer about getting ahead of the competition – it’s about keeping up.

Companies that are setting the pace when it comes to innovation – like Amazon, Google and Microsoft – are all using network automation to reduce costs and increase agility. Whilst your business may not have the same scale as these global behemoths, the tools and processes used by the ‘big boys’ are available to businesses large and small.

Barriers to network automation adoption

So, what’s the catch?

Why isn’t every business turning to network automation to save costs and increase agility? Well, sweeping changes to your network remain one of IT’s greatest challenges. It’s always been a time-consuming exercise with the potential for many disruptions to the way businesses work, certainly in the short term. And whilst the cost of implementing a network automation solution has come down, it still represents a substantial initial outlay in order to set up network automation.

In a September 2016 report by Juniper Networks, however, they reported that the five year ROI on network automation was 349% with a 33% reduction in the cost of networking.

Benefits of network automation

It’s clear that there are many benefits to network automation adoption. For many businesses, the lack of agility to adapt to network changes has become a real issue. Network automation not only provides a way to increase network agility, it also offers the opportunity to reduce operational and capital expenditure.

Here are some of the main benefits of network automation:

  • Reduce Costs – let’s start with the big one and often the biggest incentive for businesses to take the leap and make the changes. Automation reduces complexities within your current infrastructures and reduces the number of man-hours required to complete simple tasks.
  • Reduce errors – network automation can help to reduce errors and build resiliency. As well as the automation of manual tasks, many automation solutions also respond to network errors without intervention, improving business resiliency and ensuring staff remain operational.
  • Improve service levels – network automation removes the chance of human error and with this, presents the opportunity to deliver a higher standard of service. Juniper Networks’ Service Now, for example, is a remote, automated troubleshooting client that enables Juniper to detect and proactively resolve any problems with a customer’s network before they become aware of them.
  • Network visibility – the key for many businesses is to have end to end visibility of their network in order to provide details for further analysis. Automation can provide co-related events thereby allowing operation teams to focus on the exact root cause analysis.
  • Improved analytics – network automation allows you to perform more complex network analysis, pulling in data from multiple sources including routers, switches, event logs, config files and mobile devices. This can provide you with deeper insights into performance, utilisation, security and resource allocation.
  • Staff efficiency – by completing simple, manual tasks using network automation, you free up IT staff to work on higher-value tasks and strategic initiatives that can help to drive improved productivity, identify new opportunities and drive business improvements through innovation.
  • Increase business agility and competitive advantage – network automation allows businesses to develop operational models that improve time-to-market. By reducing the time to realise improvements, you create a competitive advantage which ultimately drives your bottom line.

NEC and Juniper Networks

Juniper Networks is a leader in the field of network automation. They have been innovating that field for a number of years and as suggested in their 2016 report, they have been helping businesses to ‘adapt and shift business needs’.

NEC New Zealand has achieved Juniper’s “Service Provider Infrastructure Partner” status with elite specialisation in Advanced Network Infrastructure. NEC offers exceptional value as a partner for customers with the experience and capability to deliver unrivalled excellence in Juniper product procurement, efficient logistics, and help desk support services including network automation solutions.

We have a dedicated Presales Network Consultant with over 20 years’ experience in networking, network architecture, development and firewalls and he will be with you every step of the way, offering solutions which incorporate NEC products to help improve efficiency and deliver additional value.

Speak to us today about Juniper’s Network Automation solutions and see how we can work with you to deliver an automation solution that drives your bottom line and creates efficiencies in your business.

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