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Prepare for zero-touch: 3 network automation benefits

The rise of digital services in the telco industry is rapidly changing the way services are being offered to meet customer demand in a faster and more flexible way. Digital leaders like Amazon, Netflix and Google are often perceived by consumers as innovators because they use technology to simplify their offer and improve customer interaction. Today, we expect minimal effort, one-click digital experiences and fast delivery, including from our service providers. But why not leapfrog and truly look to the future: zero-touch networks. Zero-touch pre-empts consumer needs, using automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict what we need before we do.

Tablet with Ericsson interface
Ana Freitas 

Solution Marketing OSS

Network automation is related to simplification of existing processes, enhancing staff capabilities and making use of tools that increase efficiency and facilitate activities that are part of daily operations of a service provider network. Here are 3 network automation benefits that will get you on track towards zero-touch.

 

Network automation leads to faster time to customer

 Simplification of processes and automation of manual tasks, such as configuration, activation, maintenance and troubleshooting, improves network efficiency. Not only does it reduce the time it takes to perform an activity, but it lowers the risk of errors in the system and increases the reliability of the network as a result. Automation brings consistency and repetition of processes, shortening the time required to conclude an activity. By drastically reducing provisioning time, service providers can achieve significantly faster service delivery.

 

Network automation assures quality of service

Another key benefit of automation is enhanced network resilience. New services that demand ultra-high capacity or ultra-low latency will require real-time network adaptation when faced with faults or unexpected situations. In these cases, the network can be optimized with automated activities, such as dynamic configuration, auto-scaling and auto-healing. These activities provide the flexibility needed in the network to keep up service quality and keep customers happy.

 

Network automation calls for organizational changes

Changes are not only technology related. The increase of automated tasks means that responsibilities will need to be redefined. Structural and organizational changes are proven to be more challenging than the technology itself.  McKinsey states that “without the right mind-set, all other parts of the agile operating system can be in place, and yet companies will see few benefits”. Creating horizontal structures helps eliminate silos associated to different operational support systems that took place over the time. DevOps is a collaboration between development and operations staff through the life cycle of a service. Implementing DevOps is a way to create an agile team and optimize tasks by identifying and fixing errors faster.

 

The automation journey - a step-wise approach

As 5G progresses, emerging technologies like AI, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and edge computing will gain momentum with new service offerings. But these offerings can only happen with network automation. Eventually, networks won’t be manageable by humans alone due to network densification and the date complexity that comes with these 5G-based offerings. Automation and human capabilities must work together to enable network efficiency and enhance resilience in preparation for 5G, IoT and seamless user experiences.

Implementing automation into a network doesn’t have to be disruptive or complicated, but it is key if service providers are to keep up with 5G, IoT and zero-touch implementation. Automation can be implemented in a step-wise approach with benefits being added to each step. Service providers usually start their automation journey by scaling virtualization, which is followed by addressing their legacy system. Start paving the way to zero-touch networks now. Find out more below on how to get started.

Get more insights on network automation from the MIT Tech Review article:

Download article

 

Find out about the zero-touch customer experience through the Ericsson Consumer Lab report.

Download report

 

Read more about the automation journey and benefits added to each step.

Learn more about how Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration can help you automate your network operations.

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