In Cisco’s 2020 Global Networking Trends Report, their CTO of Customer Experience, Rich Plane, outlines his predictions for the future of network operations. He suggests that in five years’ time, network operations teams are going to be ‘much more effective at doing what their organisations need them to do’, due to five key factors:
- End-to-end assurance – network operations teams will have the insight and tools they need to do predictive problem detection and root cause analysis between any client or device and any business service
- Bridging business and IT – network operations teams will focus less on the daily maintenance tasks (which it’s estimated currently take 55% of their day), and more on how the network can best meet the business’ needs more broadly.
- NetOps and SecOps operate from a single source of truth – by integrating and consolidating tools and support, he suggests that teams will have far more streamlined workflows and access to information.
- NetOps extend monitoring to the cloud – as multicloud business services become the norm, NetOps teams will extend visibility and predictive monitoring across WAN and public networks.
- Model-based change management – where more advanced NetOps processes such as ‘what-if’ analyses of any changes being made on the network will extend beyond the data centre and become more widespread. This means self-driving, self-healing workflows and some workflows will be automated so that the network can take remedial or lifestyle management actions without human operator intervention.
So what do these innovations mean for your business – and your network support team – and how can you ensure you’re prepared?
Talking to a partner like Interactive can provide guidance on how your network can be a foundation for innovation, and which steps you need to take in order to build a truly future-ready platform. By working closely with you to understand your current business state and your future goals, we can prepare a step-by-step plan for ensuring your network is optimised for the next phase. This could involve consolidating your existing support infrastructure, or making some key changes to the overall management of your network in order to drive efficiency.
Changes such as these will enable you to:
1. More readily adopt new technology
Once you have the right infrastructure and support in place, you can then more easily explore and incorporate new technologies like cloud-based applications, automation and machine learning. And in fact, when asked which technologies would have the biggest impact on networking over the next 5 years, 25% of IT leaders said network automation.[I]
2. Empower and enable your people
Importantly, as Rich Plane also suggests, having a robust and secure network can also help you empower your network support staff to focus on more strategic and high-value initiatives rather than the day-to-day administrative tasks that can so easily consume their time and energy.
Equally, supporting your staff to work remotely, in a secure manner that still gives them the performance and safety of being on a corporate network is critical. Enabling productivity wherever your staff wishes to work requires a network that is built, from the edge in, with security and performance in mind.
3. Be more agile and flexible
A modern, robust network can also ensure that your business can adapt to future events, or changes in the market, in a more agile and flexible manner. As your staff work remotely, so too are your clients looking to receive additional services, benefits, and interactions through online platforms. Your network can help you deliver innovation, higher-quality and more effective services to your customers.
4. Cut waste and save costs
By consolidating your network support and reducing reliance upon multiple vendors, you can also potentially reduce spend and free up funds which you can then leverage in other areas to accelerate innovation where your business needs it most.