The study, undertaken for global networking company Ciena by ACG Research, found that network automation investments are expected to grow by approximately 30% between now and 2021, with 75% of respondents expecting to achieve full or significant network automation in the next five years.
The top motivations cited for increasing automation include faster service delivery, improved customer satisfaction, the ability to support more complex and innovative services, and increased business agility.
And, respondents revealed that the top concerns and gaps they must address to ensure the success of their network transformations are security, intelligence/analytics, and a skilled workforce that not only understands traditional telecom networks but new IT and software innovations, as well.
- All regions ranked analytics and security as top requirements when asked what elements are needed to increase automation, but there were some differences of opinion on other requirements. For example, 68% of operators in Central and Latin America named the ability to access network performance data as one of the top three important elements while 55% of respondents in the European region and 40% of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region pointed to open, programmable infrastructure as being in the top three.
- Overall, 60% of respondents across the globe indicate openness and interoperability as being “very important” for their automation solution and 82% plan to use open source software from vendors or a mix of sour.
- When asked what superhero they want their future network to be associated with, respondents’ top three answers were: The Hulk, Spider-Man, and Black Widow. When asked why, the top responses included strength, speed and intelligence.
“We all realise that network automation is happening, but we really wanted to delve deeper into service provider and large enterprise experiences, expectations and challenges with automation. One of the key survey findings that stood out to me was the need for trained, skilled personnel in the area of programmable networks and automation,” said Tim Doiron, principal analyst, Intelligent Networking, ACG Research.
“Operators expect their vendor partners to be able to help them with not only products and services but also with bridging the skills gap between telecom and IT as they execute their automation journey.”
Joe Cumello, vice-president and head of Global Marketing, Ciena, said, “A new theme has started to emerge in our conversations with customers around the globe. Automation, programmability, and intelligence have become critical keystones of future networks.
“With the pace of growth in capacity, devices, and mobility moving exceedingly fast, adaptive networks, which combine these attributes, will allow organisations to not only survive, but thrive in the face of increasing complexity and unpredictable growth to support the services and applications of tomorrow.”