In this blog, we share three steps you can take now to elevate network automation and enable Experience-First Networking and three reasons why it’s a game changer for you and your customers.
Experience-First Networking: The story so far.
I’ve been in telecommunications for over 30 years, almost all of them with service providers. And while a lot has changed in that time, delivering better customer experiences has always been the core objective by which we as an industry have measured progress. And customer experience is actually more critical than ever before. Meanwhile, communications service providers’ (CSPs) business growth is increasingly driven by enterprise revenue streams with more stringent SLAs and tied to ever-more sophisticated services, elevating the importance and urgency of delivering flawless customer experiences.
Communications service providers (CSPs) have risen to the challenge, deploying the very best minds in networking, AI, ML, cloud computing, software development, customer management, data center infrastructure, silicon,… the list goes on. We at Juniper, alongside our peers across the industry, have collaborated through standards bodies to ensure seamless device compatibility anywhere in the world, and every day building out denser, faster, more programmable networks.
But we, as an industry, can’t stand still. As our networks become more advanced, we create more value for the customer, enabling more advanced scenarios, with automation playing an increasingly central role. That drives more innovation in networks, which creates more value, and the cycle continues.
And it’s working: In 2020, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 60% of the global population has internet access, doubling in less than ten years, while the average consumer consistently enjoys more than 30% faster connection speeds year over year. Meanwhile, the range of enterprise customer use cases that CSPs support is increasingly diverse, sophisticated and lucrative. Here are just a few examples:
- Remote education and data-intensive research networks are relied upon by 4 million users at GARR
- AI-driven connected healthcare systems are helping Atlantic Health Systems manage 2 million patients
- AI-driven energy and utilities help Powerco manage 34,000+ km of critical electricity and gas infrastructure
- Protecting mission-critical government services enabled South Dublin County Council to serve 270,000 people and 7,000 businesses
Another interesting example is mobility, where seamless connectivity is critical to every part of the value chain, from manufacturing to sales, operations, infotainment services, charging infrastructure, remote diagnostics and driver assistance.
Experience-First Networking: Why the future is bright.
Looking at these success stories and emerging verticals, there’s more reason than ever to be optimistic that we, as an industry, can deliver customers more value than ever before. But we must get automation right first. Otherwise, we risk being locked out of new digitalized verticals, uncontrollable growth in CAPEX and OPEX and delivering comparatively lower value to our customers.
It’s this mission that is at the heart of Juniper’s vision for Experience-First Networking.
At Juniper, our vision is to enable Experience-First Networking for our customers through accelerated adoption of advanced networking capabilities and use cases for faster, more secure, more reliable networks. It’s powered by three core pillars, as in this diagram, and this blog focuses on that central pillar: proactive automation and self-driving networks.
This is on the frontline for CSPs today because the networks they manage have become so programmable. It’s not unusual for our large CSP customers to see thousands of network reconfigurations every day. That would be simply impossible with manual operations alone.
Automation is essential to continuing and accelerating the new phase of growth for CSPs because it’s critical to customer experience differentiation and SLA-backed connectivity service delivery. Here are three steps CSPs can take to raise the level of automation in their networks quickly and efficiently:
- Make it simple, not complex
- Deploy outcomes, not products
- Understand the customer, not just the network
1) Make it simple, not complex:
We already have the technology building blocks today to deliver flawless connectivity and customer experiences. We can connect people from opposite sides of the planet together in an instant in a completely immersive virtual reality powered by bandwidth and latency that makes the network itself almost imperceptible. That also makes us essential to transformative disruptions across many industry verticals, like automotive, manufacturing and healthcare.
What end-users don’t see is the complexity of the work we do in the background to make this possible, and it’s this complexity that holds us back. A recent Heavy Reading survey shows that CSPs urgently want to realize more advanced network automation but also highlights the complexity of implementation as a common blocker to successful realization of network automation.
In other words, to solve the problem of complexity in network operations, don’t embark on a yet more complex network automation project. Make it simple to deploy, manage and operate:
- Deploy your autonomous network with end-to-end use cases that build on the lessons learned and best-practices of the world’s most advanced networks, like latency-based routing, congestion avoidance and automated path diversity.
- Make it simple to use and persona-specific with a consistent, intuitive user interface, doing away with complex CLI-based operations. Guided workflows, pre-built dashboards and at-a-glance color-coded views will all empower more of your people to get involved in network automation.
- Make it simple to integrate and expose your automation capabilities to other parts of the value chain, so you can create and monetize more value throughout the ecosystem.
- Avoid complex systems operations and maintenance by leveraging cloud-native, and even cloud-delivered solutions, like Juniper Paragon Automation, so you can get started much faster while reducing TCO by 40%.
2) Deploy outcomes, not products:
It’s tempting to frame network automation requirements in terms of functionalities, like path computation, network analytics, provisioning or domain orchestration. And while these are often table-stakes for success, the real measure of progress is the proportion of end-to-end business processes organizations take from manual to fully autonomous.
We mentioned some of the use cases that we’ve developed earlier in this blog, and you can find more details about these and other use cases here. You can even try out these use cases right now from the cloud – no installation required.
Expect more and more advanced autonomous networking use cases from Juniper Networks in the months ahead, especially as AI builds momentum and pushes the boundaries of possibility.
3) Understand the customer, not just the network:
Last but not least: you can’t act on what you can’t see. More than 60% of service problems go undetected or are discovered from customer complaints, because the capability to monitor customer experience is lacking. The importance of addressing this can’t be understated.
While streaming telemetry is critical to understanding how your services are performing, it’s increasingly insufficient for monitoring and optimizing your customers’ perceived experience. Not all parts of the service chain are under your control anymore: some are in the cloud, some are on the customers’ premises and some are in other CSPs’ networks. On top of that, the services themselves are more complex than before. The network could be humming along nicely, but all it takes for a complete service outage is one misbehaving authentication server: you could be relaxing in a sea of green lights, completely unaware that thousands of customers are about to dial the complaint hotline in perfect unison.
Paragon Active Assurance eliminates blind-spots, giving CSPs 100% visibility into customer experience, end-to-end and across the whole service chain, even in parts that they don’t control.
Join us at DTW 2023 in Copenhagen, where we’ll be showcasing how we help our customers realize this level of automation:
- I’ll be discussing this topic in a panel discussion: ‘How to get to the autonomous network’ on day one of the event.
- Juniper will be leading a Catalyst Showcase, demonstrating the value of automated Active Assurance in mission-critical networks with a Juniper-led Catalyst: “Experience-Guaranteed Connectivity” alongside Verizon, BT, Togg, Oracle and Etiya.
- You can book a meeting with Juniper’s automation experts and executives for an in-depth discussion about our vision, blueprint, solutions and use cases.
Click here to find out more or book a meeting; and watch out for another blog from Juniper summarizing our key take-aways from DTW, shortly after the event.