Enterprise Transformation

The case for automation beyond imagination

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The need for service providers to virtualize their networks has never been more urgent.

Every year, the business reality becomes clearer: a network built on hardware alone simply can’t scale at a competitive cost.

For years, however, service providers have only taken small steps to address this pressing issue through short-term deployments and limited proof-of-concepts. They’ve moved network functions and some services to software, but they have yet to begin the task of virtualizing and cloudifying their networks, which would allow them to scale individual services quickly and cost-effectively through automation, speed time to market, and drive ‘cloud-scale’ innovation.

It’s a daunting task, but a doable one. Now is the time for service providers to begin aiming beyond the science projects of yesterday and to embrace the hard but ultimately rewarding work required today. They need to begin working toward an era of automation beyond imagination.

I’m talking about a kind of automation beyond what’s easy or convenient to achieve with threshold and task automation. It’s automation enabled with artificial intelligence (AI) that carries operations and innovation not just forward, but into the future.

Service providers that fully embrace network function virtualization (NFV) through AI and automation can empower operational staff to speed up problem resolution and learning. They can reduce the time to market for new features and updates. They can reduce complexity by standardizing operational lifecycles and tools. And they can do all this while lowering costs and increasing innovation.

We know all this is possible because, to some extent, we’ve seen it happen before. The IT community faced a similar transformation challenge years ago, and though they had more time to do it, they got it done and are now developing new ways to innovate and operate with AI and automation. More complex networks mixed with IT can leverage this knowledge and advance faster, driving innovation further.

Today, service providers don’t have the same luxury of time. But they have the business imperative and they have the tools to start with today’s physical networks and expand into hybrid networks as NFV is added. The only obstacle is the gap in imagination.

Want to reinvent your network? Learn more about what IBM can do for you at Think, the first-of-its kind business and technology event in Las Vegas. I’ll be speaking about how to use AI and automation to operate and virtualize with Ciaran Ryan, the director of Offering Management, IBM Cloud.  We look forward to you joining us there!

Telco Global Solution Exec - Network Transformation

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