Implementing automation under the umbrella of digital transformation is seen as a way to boost productivity, so why doesn’t everyone implement a network automation solution?
That’s a good question (pats self on back)… and I think the answer isn’t only technical but also due to perspective.
If your company had a manual process for expense reports or booking travel you’t think the company was outdated. It’s clear that digital transformation of business processes has changed the way we work.
So why don’t we prioritize the automation of network administration in the same way as expense reports?
I believe that in part there’s simply a language barrier that prevents people from seeing network administration in the same light. We don’t think of network automation as digital transformation, when we should.
We digitally transform business processes to be competitive, but we automate network administration to… what? To lower the workload on a small subset of employees? To reduce administration errors? To improve security? To improve response times?
All of those reasons apply just the same to expense reports. I think companies don’t consider managing infrastructure in the same light as managing their business processes and as such the benefits of automation are overlooked.
Network Administration Processes
Think about some of the obvious network administration processes that can be automated:
- Backups (and restores!)
- Collecting a network source of truth
- Keeping devices compliant (with whatever compliance regime you’d like)
- OS Updates
- Vulnerability remediation
These processes aren’t exposed to customers or even to large parts of the organization, so maybe that’s why they’re not considered digital transformation.
However, my definition of digital transformation can clearly define how to use automation to transform network administration. Digital transformation is about transforming interactions with users from “your process” to “their experience.” You transform the expense report process, employees get paid faster with less paperwork, and everyone wins.
That’s no different than transforming the OS update process such that no one has to come in on the weekend. Imagine that? Well, I don’t have to imagine, I was talking to a customer who uses BackBox to do OS updates and as a result gets them done faster with less effort and without any overnight work. That’s the power of digital transformation.
Digital Transformation of Network Administration
In truth, compared to company wide or externally facing business processes, network administration is a small part of the business. This means that digitally transforming it doesn’t have as big an impact on the organization. And mostly the only people who care are the network administrators themselves (they’re both the transformer and the user, so to speak).
But, let’s pretend it had enough of an impact to matter. Existing digital transformation infrastructure (DevOps & integration tools) doesn’t easily solve for automation of device administration.
That’s what BackBox solves… we are a purpose built tool for digitally transforming network administration. And, importantly, network administrators don’t need to learn to code (python or anything).
There’s no scripting required because we use the same CLI and API commands that administrators already use every day. We just automate the execution of those commands.
And because we expose everything in BackBox via an API, it’s like we’re providing an API to the network, should outsiders wish to connect into the network to further extend their transformation efforts. For example, ServiceNow teams might wish to enrich trouble-tickets with network specific information gathered via an API call when a ticket is opened.
I spent years working on digital transformation projects at the application layer, so it’s no surprise that I’m making this connection.
That said, boosting productivity can be hard to measure. But your team will know. And you’ll see the results in employee satisfaction and efficiency.
Empower your team to choose a solution that leverages their existing knowledge and your existing processes to get the best results from your automation initiative.