Today's modern network must be as agile to deploy and change as the other technologies it supports. Because digital transformation cannot occur without a strong network to support it, today's business demands a network that can quickly adjust to the requirements that enable the implementation of new services, processes, and models. As the network evolves into a more dynamic environment due to the introduction of new concepts such as virtualization and software-defined everything, it becomes imperative that its operation is automated as much as possible. The global network automation market is projected to reach $48.39 billion by 2027. And 60% of data center infrastructure teams will have relevant automation and cloud skills, up from 30% in 2022, according to Gartner. In addition, 2023 will see AI/ML start to play an increasing role in network automation, albeit in limited use cases. The results of the “Global Tech Outlook” survey, by Red Hat, which heard more than 1,700 IT leaders working in companies with revenues over US$ 100 million, points out network automation (30%), security automation (35%) and cloud services automation (33%), as priorities among the actions to combat digital storms. Source: Red Hat The maturation of network automation is directly linked to understanding the needs and experience of end users. But automation progress is not equal across the network paradigm. In the data centre, a more controlled environment when compared to the WAN or LAN, adoption is more advanced. The edge (LAN and WAN), on the other hand, is a more chaotic environment because changes are triggered by factors that are not entirely under IT's control – i.e. constantly changing human and device behaviour patterns. There is a great need to leverage AI and machine learning models to detect changes as soon as they occur and respond to those that appear persistent, even if for a short period of time. Benefits If properly conducted, automation helps with everything from change control to security and operational management. It can be applied to verify proper network operation, assist in the troubleshooting process, and even facilitate configuration changes. In practice, by adopting it, organizations can rethink the way they traditionally manage their networks in order to optimize operations, reduce costs and simplify and/or increase agility to support new levels of innovation. An IDC study has revealed that organisations have reduced network costs by 33% by properly implementing automation solutions. In addition, automation reduces human error—the most common cause of network performance degradation and downtime – by making automated networks more reliable. In practice, the sooner your organization starts network automation, the sooner you will realize the benefits. Do you know how to start automating your network? The first step to adoption is to define how automation can be applied to facilitate daily workflows. It sounds like a challenging task, but you can start with small implementations and make incremental changes at your own pace. Focus on solving tactical problems that your team faces every day. Learn from those efforts and re-evaluate your approach as needed. Develop a success criteria and specific goals for your organization as you move forward. A phased approach will avoid isolating teams and processes. Remember that automation is more than a tool. It's a strategy, a journey, and a culture. Then provide network-specific automation training that teaches new concepts in a familiar environment. Once armed with some basic skills on various platforms, network administrators can start having fun with automation. WWT recently released a report stating that network automation is becoming the dominant approach to configuring, managing and watching connectivity infrastructure. And it is requiring IT teams to master new tools.