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IDC 2023 Network Automation Report: Why DDI is an Obvious Starting Point

Network Automation enhances efficiency & cost. The new IDC report explains business drivers, recommendations, and why DDI is key for maximizing benefits.

May 30, 2023 | Written by: Surinder Paul | , ,

Idc 2023 Network Automation Report

Enterprises are adopting new strategies to create value, achieve cost savings, and improve efficiency in the face of an uncertain economic outlook.

Network automation has emerged as a top strategy to provide IT teams with the flexibility and agility required to adapt to changing business needs, deliver business goals, and accelerate digital transformation. However, full automation of network processes is a gradual process that requires starting small then iterating with broader initiatives to increase maturity level.

IDC’s 2023 Global Network Automation survey report reveals that DDI with built-in NSoT (Network Source of Truth) and Open APIs is a key success factor to Network Automation, serving as a true Network Automation Hub that pulls and pushes actionable data through automated workflows. Whatever their network automation maturity, organizations using DDI realize far greater benefits than those that do not.

Main Drivers for Network Automation

In a fast-moving environment, IT teams struggle to keep pace with technologies and ever-changing business needs. Understanding the state of the network and automating networking life-cycle tasks removes the burden of repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up networking teams by streamlining workflows, reducing human interventions and delays. As a result, network automation becomes a top strategy to gain business agility, increase productivity, and successfully adapt to digital business transformation. The IDC 2023 Network Automation report reveals that network automation is critical to deliver business goals. Main additional drivers to network automation include business model transformation and growth, customer experience, operating cost reduction, business productivity, and resilience.

But Network Automation Faces Both Organizational & Technical Challenges

Network automation is no easy feat and enterprises face various organizational and technical challenges that make it difficult to implement. As detailed in the report, enterprises often lack the necessary skills to undertake network automation (42%) while the impossibility to automate tasks is also mentioned (35%). But the main inhibitors reside on the technical side with 47% of respondents raising tool integration challenges when implementing network automation, complemented by difficulty to automate legacy networking systems (39%), and lack of a trusted network data repository (36%). More specifically, without a Network Source of Truth (NSoT), network data remains siloed and fragmented across the organization and hinders organizations from managing the life cycle of network objects and devices easily and efficiently.

Nevertheless, organizations can overcome these challenges by training employees on automation technologies and practices, and getting C-Level sponsorship to help break down silos and give sense to it. In addition, adopting new processes and technologies like APIs, plugins, NSoT or DDI is very important. Lastly, fostering cross-team collaboration and agile practices will also be crucial.

However, the key to overcoming the perceived technical challenges is to actually start automating. Organizations that are just planning to automate have greater concerns than those further ahead and already in their automation journey.

Three Key Recommendations From the Report

The good news is that it’s not necessary for enterprises to wait or spend significant time defining their network automation strategy. They can easily implement network automation now, by following these three key insightful learnings from the IDC report:

1. Start small with initial low-hanging fruit initiatives: enterprises can start their automation journey small, with ad hoc or limited initiatives that do not impact production processes and organizations. These include network maintenance, observability and monitoring, or troubleshooting. Initial low-hanging fruit can have a significant impact and build the foundation for new initiatives across network domains, such as network security, compliance, provisioning, and deployment. Organizations will quickly see the initial gains in terms of outage and cost reduction, as well as productivity and security improvements. Adopting a stepped approach and road map will enable them to steadily grow their maturity.

2. Adopt APIs and NSoT as foundational building blocks: More than 80% of enterprises acknowledge the importance of Network Source of Truth in their automation strategy and 48% of organizations plan to use an NSoT in the next two years. Consolidating all sources of truth into an open, accurate, and always up-to-date repository enables consistency and better control across the network to ensure that it behaves and performs as intended. Organizations also recognize APIs as essential to connecting their IT system tools and ecosystem, delivering contextual and actionable data back and forth.

3. Leverage DDI as a key success factor: 74% of organizations will use DDI over the next two years.

66% of organizations with network automation plans say DDI is their main tool in their network automation strategy for the next two years, ahead of internally developed scripts (63%) and SDN/SD-WAN controllers (53%). Leverage of IPAM, DHCP, and DNS services is pivotal for implementing network automation. As the foundation of all networking resources (including IP addresses, subnets, and domain names) and an open solution, DDI offers an essential NSoT to enable full-stack end-to-end network automation. Importantly, DDI serves as a true Network Automation Hub that pulls and pushes actionable data through automated workflows.

Benefits Align With Business Drivers and are Amplified by DDI

As organizations transform digitally, network automation will become increasingly critical to their success. The IDC report confirms that no matter where an organization is in its network automation journey, the benefits are numerous. In the report, companies highlight they have seen: (i) Faster service deployments (95%) and IT agility improvements (94%), which can help them achieve their business transformation goals.

(ii) Reduced operating costs (93%) and improved network capacity planning (81%) for better cost control.

(iii) Improved MTTR (94%), fewer human errors (94%), and reduced network outages (83%), bringing improved operational efficiency, security, and compliance. It’s clear that by implementing network automation, organizations can ultimately create a more modern, resilient, and reliable infrastructure. But most importantly, for those enterprises using DDI, benefits brought by network automation are further amplified up to 62% thanks to DDI.

As stated by Jean-Yves Bisiaux, EfficientIP CTO, “Network automation is now a no-brainer and is being embraced by a growing number of enterprises as an enabler of their business transformation. So, the question is no longer why but how to make it happen. This is where DDI with built-in NSoT and open APIs capability brings a significant advantage as a true Network Automation Hub to use efficiently at every stage of network automation tasks and activities.”

In conclusion, network automation is becoming a crucial component of enterprises’ strategies for driving cost savings and operational efficiency, and for creating value. Whatever an organization’s position on the network automation maturity index, DDI provides a significant advantage in terms of operational efficiency, cost reduction, IT team productivity and agility, security, compliance, and network resilience. As summarized by Bruno Teton, Associate VP at IDC, “Network automation without DDI makes no sense.”

Want to find your position in the Network Automation maturity index, discover a successful Network Automation journey road map, and learn how to efficiently leverage DDI in your network strategy? Read the full report.

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