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What's automation's role in network provisioning resources?

IT is embracing network automation, but complications with integration disrupt the process. Using automation for provisioning resources can improve efficiency, but reduce the need for IT personnel.

Believe the hype: Automation will bring profound changes to IT. Harnessing software to handle the consistent processes...

associated with delivering IT to the end customer is a logical use of the rapidly improving technology.

IT automation implemented through software allows for repetitive or predictable jobs to be carried out in a standardized way according to policy. Automation will improve network provisioning resources by eliminating both unnecessary costs and the risk of human error associated with redundant tasks.

But some complications still exist. While IT automation in infrastructure management tools and services is progressing at an impressive rate, glitches persist, and some areas require further development.

Getting a good handle on processes is key

One of the biggest issues associated with IT automation is the impact on corporate culture and personnel.

IT organizations often don't have a good enough handle on their IT processes and the interdependencies of those activities to effectively implement automation. This is particularly true of organizations in the middle of major transformative projects or organizational changes that require incremental process changes that are not well-defined.

IT automation can also reduce the level of control that technology professionals have over subtasks and overarching processes. This can be problematic if a business is undergoing a disruptive IT project where both technology tasks and personnel roles are in flux.

Integration with existing tools -- a common problem across IT infrastructure management -- can be a kludgy and difficult undertaking. Too often, enterprises lack the internal expertise necessary to take on integration efforts successfully, resulting in lost cycles and cost overruns.

Integrating automation and corporate culture in network provisioning resources

One of the biggest issues associated with IT automation is the impact on corporate culture and personnel. The reduction of manual intervention can lead to fewer interactions with end users. In high-touch organizations, this can potentially result in lower end-user satisfaction -- at least initially. However, if the automation produces better results, satisfaction is likely to improve.

Ultimately, the biggest concern for IT is if provisioning resources and other tasks can be automated, the requirement for manpower will be greatly reduced. Some estimates state as many as 80% of current IT processes can be automated. This puts a large percentage of current IT personnel at risk of termination.

To avoid this, it's crucial that IT departments understand their organizations' plans with respect to automation, as well as keep track of what other enterprises are doing. IT professionals need to keep their skills current and look at reskilling efforts in areas such as cybersecurity, where many open positions remain.

This was last published in February 2018

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