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Pica8 Survey Shows Broad Engagement with IT Automation, with Data Center and Cloud Automation Leading the Way
A new Pica8 survey of 200 North American senior IT managers studies engagement with automation of a variety of IT domains, including the data center, cloud, remote offices and mobility. The survey finds automation to be one of the most important IT initiatives, ahead of AI-Ops, Edge computing and RPA. In fact, 88 percent said IT automation was a somewhat to extremely important initiative in terms of reaching their organization's goals. Yet not all IT domains are equal in terms of automation engagement, progress, drivers, benefits and challenges.

Survey respondents reported that automation was well underway with cloud and data center being the most advanced with 93 and 90 percent saying they have completed automating in those areas. Remote offices lag at 63 percent already being automated.

Common Drivers and Benefits of Automation

Respondents reported several common drivers of IT automation regardless of area with Digital Transformation topping the list in each area. The expected benefits of automating various aspects of IT also vary by the specific area being automated. Faster deployment, improved security, reducing staffing requirements and improved compliance were frequently mentioned.

Automation Challenges

Respondents report that cost was the largest challenge facing their organizations, followed by lack of staff automation experience. With all of the challenges, we were interested in finding out how well organizations were doing with their IT automation initiatives. Ninety-four percent of respondents report doing well in automating areas such as cloud and data center, but only 61 percent report doing well with remote office automation and 49 percent report doing well with mobility automation.

"Remote offices are the lifeblood of most large businesses and organizations, and if they are unavailable for any reason, revenue and operations can stop cold," said Jeff Paine, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Pica8. "Moving forward it's more important than ever that organizations focus on remote office automation as a way to increase security, reduce expensive technical staffing and improve compliance."

Most Commonly Requested IT Automation Features

The most common features respondents report wanting to see in their IT automation platforms varied by area of automation, but automating the data center as well as remote offices was high on the list for IT to ask for "Day Zero" capabilities. Automating cloud is about cost control. And mobility requires BYOD capabilities.

Survey responses show there is no silver bullet when it comes to IT automation. Tools that work well for automating the data center may fall short for cloud or remote office automation.

Pica8 Automation Recommendations: Keeping it Simple is Critical for Campus Networking Operators

The Pica8 IT Automation Survey points to five best practices for companies ready to make their IT automation journey more successful:

  1. Focus on automation solutions designed for enterprise network deployments and workflows, not DevOps workflow-oriented data center tools. These are very much different worlds.
  2. Start with inexpensive, open networking automation tools that simplify remote/campus switch deployment, configuration and maintenance, which is the lion's share of what most enterprises need on a day-to-day basis. For very large enterprises, more complex/expensive tools can always be added later (if needed).
  3. Deploy simpler, GUI-based open networking campus automation tools to allow non-programmers to supplement your scarce and expensive top-tier network engineers, who are in short supply at most companies and organizations.
  4. Challenge your existing networking vendor as to why you are paying - both in terms of cost and complexity - for a one-size-fits-all proprietary automation solution packed with hundreds of advanced features that you will likely never use.
  5. Adopt Linux-based open networking for easy integration with the ever-growing catalog of open source campus automation and management tools on the market
Published Tuesday, January 21, 2020 2:31 PM by David Marshall
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