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What The Future of Automated Network Operations Looks Like

What The Future of Automated Network Operations Looks Like
June 15, 2021 • Marcus Rebelo, Director of Sales Engineering

Running a network operations center has never been simple, yet the scale and complexity that digital transformation has added makes the future of automated network operations look downright dizzying.

As a result of communication service providers (CSPs) adopting next-generation technologies like NFV, SD-WAN, IPv6, 5G, and soon 6G, network engineers get hit with mounting obstacles on a daily basis. That was true even before COVID-19 radically reshaped every aspect of life as we know it, spotlighting the need for lightning-fast, bullet proof networks. With new network traffic patterns and shifting workforces adding pressure, NetOps teams are feeling the heat when it comes to safeguarding business continuity, ensuring security best practices, and delivering the highest caliber services to customers.

So how exactly does the NOC keep up in this ever-more demanding environment?

Enter the Dark NOC as the Future Network Operations

Some service providers point to the future of automated network operations as the "Dark NOC," which is a bit of a misnomer. The Dark NOC does not mean computers are taking over and displacing humans to run network operations. The Dark NOC results from leveraging intelligent network automation and artificial intelligence together to perform mundane, repetitive tasks, effectively freeing up network operators for more critical-thinking tasks.

These new, more rewarding responsibilities involve synthesizing data into thoughtful decisions. So, instead of asking questions like, “how can I troubleshoot this outage, or reduce the number of alarms coming in,” network engineers and operators can take a more innovative approach, asking, “how can I harness the data to improve this process or service.” They can expect more direct collaboration with business stakeholders in the process, carving out a more strategic trajectory in their professional development.

People Are Still Needed in the Future Network Operations Center

It's absolutely imperative to effectively communicate that people are still needed in the future network operations center; they’re just needed for different purposes. The resulting new roles are not only more rewarding, but they also help drive the organization’s continuous evolution along the digital transformation journey.

That’s one reason that repurposing skillsets and upskilling network engineers are fundamental to support the transition to the future of network operations. We’re already seeing network operators, network engineers, and managers shift from their traditional responsibilities to focus more on data-driven customer service, identifying automation candidates, validating automations, and building automation runbooks. These are just a few examples, and there are many different ways service providers are already adapting their workforces to foster these underlying changes.

Interested in a deeper dive on the role of Network Automation and AIOps in the Dark NOC? Check out our eBook, "In Pursuit of the Dark NOC" for tips on building a culture to embrace automation and AI, jumpstarting and scaling network automation ­(with some real-world examples), a blueprint of actionable steps to usher your NOC into the future, and how innovation is powering new services.

Marcus Rebelo

About the Author, Marcus Rebelo:

Marcus Rebelo serves as the director of sales engineering at Resolve, where he works with the Fortune 1000, leading telcos, and global MSPs to design and implement creative IT automation solutions that enable more agile, efficient IT operations. With more than two decades of experience in networking, software, and hardware technologies, Marcus has deep expertise designing and architecting IT solutions that create strong foundations for innovation.

His love of technology started with his first Basic programming course in the early 1980s and since then he has held positions ranging from the service desk to complex service development across a wide variety of organizations including NTT Communications, IPsoft, BMC Software, Wipro, and Hewlett Packard. In his current role at Resolve, he has grown the sales engineering team to a global organization and worked with numerous customers on their journey to automation success. He frequently speaks at industry events on automation, digital transformation, and cybersecurity topics.

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