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Amidst the rising global uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses see a silver lining only when they turn to the adoption of digital transformation at a faster rate. As more consumers opt for digital services, the need for a businesses’ digital backend to be resilient and continuously available is critical to success. Today, enterprises rely on high-end network automation tools to empower their digital ecosystem with the networking ecosystem needed for optimal performance.

It is expected that the global market size for network automation tools will grow to a staggering USD 8.9 billion by 2025.

The benefits of having a network automation tool are several. Once deployed, a network automation tool relieves the IT team from having to continuously monitor requests from application teams or other stakeholders for provisioning server space or update configurations, balance bandwidth, and much more. Application owners and developers are also empowered with better network control over their app ecosystem with no delays, thereby allowing them to deploy apps or updates faster to the market. Last but not the least, automating network management eliminates a large bureaucratic manual layer for business leaders that improves efficiency and reduces costs significantly as no extra manpower is needed.

While there is no question on the need to have a network automation tool, the biggest challenge for enterprises in this regard is to pick the right one. Being a critical component of their evolving digital landscape, enterprises must make the right investment decision to leverage returns faster.

Here are four tips to select the right network automation tool for your business:

Goal Matching

As an enterprise, it is important to have a clear and transparent vision of how your digital ambitions are intending to progress. This will empower your IT team to prepare a bucket list of transitions and new capabilities they need with respect to managing the networking infrastructure of your organization. This allows you to pick a network automation tool that has a clear match with the intended goals slated in the bucket list. You can decide whether to invest in an end-to-end network automation tool or a tool that supports specific operations such as operational backup, automated provisioning, network discovery, security policy enforcement, etc. You can cross-check with the sales or marketing collateral available for each vendor to see which has the closest match for your needs. This allows enterprises to plan a more cost-effective implementation of network automation based on their business size as well.

Accommodate Operational Maturity of Your Existing Resources

Before you start the search for a network automation tool, it is important to assess the operational maturity within the organization pertaining to networking infrastructure. Your staff as well as the computing infrastructure in place may first have to transition into a more agile entity that welcomes change when automation finally kicks in. Staff needs training on best practices and process changes needed to support new digital innovations that are spearheaded by the organization. While selecting a network automation tool, it is important to pick one that has clear and transparent training and documentation available that can be used to equip staff to handle the transition. One that has a clear roadmap that outlays how the platform needs to be embedded in different departments, the level of training needed for different stakeholders, documented support guides, and a reputation for robust support, will be a more apt choice.

Integration Intelligence

The simplicity of a network automation tool lies in how effectively it can integrate into an existing technology landscape ruled by different digital applications. A complex web of applications having different choices for configurations, bandwidths, provisioning of computing resources, and security policies will now be depending on the tool for their operation. So, while evaluating the platform, look for specifics on how the platform is equipped with pre-built automation processes, intelligent configuration identification, and smart provisioning. This will ensure that the tool integrates well with all business systems and help you determine the right networking environment based on current configurations and workloads.

Compliance Assurance

Digital services deployed for customer usage need uninterrupted availability as well as adherence to strict compliance norms of security and data privacy. Your enterprise network is the key channel for data transmission and every file or web data packet moves around your digital system through this channel. It is therefore mandatory that the network automation tool that you select can enforce compliance standards set by the organization with respect to items such as secure ports, database access provisions, file server credential verification, firewall availability configurations, and much more. The instrument must have the flexibility to accommodate periodic audits and report violations as well as threats to respective stakeholders to prevent any intrusion or security compromise.

To succeed in the digital economy, it is imperative that businesses have a digital infrastructure that can autonomously accommodate new innovations faster. A network automation tool is a key component of this digital infrastructure and selecting the right one allows enterprises to quickly leverage its benefits.

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