Zero touch is not an option at any level

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Zero touch operations for today’s networks and the emerging world of virtualized networks is as much about people and process as it is about technology. Today’s emerging networks are increasingly complex, and they can’t function simply by extending the practices of yesterday’s network operations. More and more, we are finding that clients are challenged to move beyond Day 0 deployment of virtualized networks and that they have to engage their deeper technical skills in the resolution of problems, which is a plan they cannot scale to meet the business demands of networks virtualized with NFV and SDN.

We can’t skill the operations staff fast enough to learn and resolve the networks of tomorrow. We need to engage the power of the machine to augment our technology, our staff and our operational processes.

Enabling a zero touch world requires us to think about how we apply AI and automation to resolve network issues as part of the technology enablement. Today, efforts within specifications, standards and open source groups are working this in a number of ways. Creating a “service automation factory” to build out, test and continuously integrate and engineer networks as they evolve and scale with virtualized networking becomes as critical as enabling the technology itself with self-healing and organizing capabilities.

We also need to apply AI and automation to the operational process using robotics to execute the process of network operations. Much work has been done already applying this type of robotic process automation to other business processes in human resources, finance, and customer care. Now we are seeing this same automation’s ability to be applied at scale to reduce time spent on network problems, tracking and resolution within the network. AI is being applied to guild the process as well to make decisions through learning networks, network problem determination and unique application within a customer network.

When AI and automation applied within the technology and the process are unable to maintain network service levels and problems are then given to the network technical staff, they are now dealing with the most complex problems and ones that may not have been seen before. Whether in the central or field locations, these teams also need to be augmented by AI and automation. In doing so, they can rapidly bring together the information and insight required for the problems being worked, provide solution scenarios and event the interaction with AI and machine learning to determine the solution to network problems in the evolving virtualized networks of today.

Using AI and automation at all three of these levels is required to enable the virtualized network and together will enable the success of the shift needed by the business to move to the hybrid virtualized networks of tomorrow.

If you would like to see how we are using AI and automation to build the network service factory, enable the robotics of network process automation and augment the operations staff, stop by and see IBM at the NFV Zero Touch Congress this week in San Jose. We would be glad to hear your experiences with this and share how we are solving this with customers globally.

Telco Global Solution Exec - Network Transformation

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