Network automation will allow for greater agility in network services, increased operational efficiency and improved network availability. However due to inconsistent data sources and differing processes among operators it is difficult to put exact numbers on the possible end-to-end benefits. At Analysys Mason, we interviewed operators on their network automation strategies and results, collecting more than 60 data points. These insights were analysed and used to model the potential benefits for a large regional operator. This blog is the first of three that we are publishing on the topic of automation, which can be read in conjunction with the webinar and published report where the research and ideas mentioned are explored in greater detail.
Operators can expect up to a 65% cost avoidance after implementing automation across all operations categories
Our model estimates that a large, regional operator can achieve a total cost avoidance of up to a 65% at the domain controller layer across the service fulfilment, network lifecycle management and network and service assurance processes.
Figure 1: Final cost avoidance expected from network automation, by process category
Service fulfilment comprises the lifecycle management of IP services (e.g., E-LAN, Layer 3 VPN services) at the domain controller throughout the provisioning and deletion of services, as well as any modifications during the services’ lifetime. Quality service fulfilment is essential to maintaining good customer relations, but many operators are limited in the speed and accuracy of the experience they can provide due to an overreliance on human labour for the routine processes. Not only can operators enhance the speed and standard of their customer’s service, but we also expect network automation can achieve a cost avoidance by up to 86% to service fulfilment.
Network lifecycle management covers the provisioning, configuration, and maintenance at the domain controller of network equipment, primarily edge routers. Network automation of these processes will significantly reduce the current manual workloads, particularly the provisioning of the equipment. Meanwhile, our study found that many operators have already automated the extremely regular backup functions. Here our model indicates cost avoidance potential of 65%, a major gain for the management and operation of operators’ networks.
Network and service assurance includes processes to identify and correlate faults and alarms to a common network issue, and the efforts required to identify and resolve the main cause for a service outage or performance degradation, including truck rolls. Automation will significantly reduce the time required for manual correlation of tickets contributing to benefits to the mean time to repair. We expect that operators can see a cost avoidance across network and service assurance processes of up to 50%.
We analysed cost avoidance, including operational costs such as labour costs, equipment audits and truck rolls, to be the primary benefit for operators. However, it is important to reframe the conversation around the considerable advantages it offers, chiefly those of error reduction and improvement to business agility, leading to the potential for employees to be redeployed on higher value tasks.
This blog has focused on the cost avoidance that may be achieved through the automation of network operations. Our full report
also explores how automation may also improve the time to revenue (TTR), mean time to repair (MTTR) and the total volume of errors, as business problems that operators may look to automation to address.
In his role as Chief Analyst, Larry co-ordinates Analysys Mason’s work on leading-edge topics in TMT. He also leads network and software research. For the past 20 years, he has delivered analysis and forecasts of the rapidly changing role of software in telecoms, and more recently, cloud. Before working in telecoms research, Larry held technology management roles at telecoms operators and vendors
Andrew is a consultant based in Analysys Mason’s London office. As a technology, media, and telecom (TMT) consultant, Andrew has worked with a wide range of clients worldwide, including network operators, vendors and industry bodies. His work focuses on using market analysis, sizing, forecasting and competitive benchmarking to inform clients’ planning and strategy. His project experience has ranged from 5G and the internet of things to virtualisation, cloud technologies and machine learning. Much of Andrew’s work has used original, international research, including expert interviews and consumer and enterprise surveys.