Network management is no simple task for financial institutions. In-house IT professionals must devote a significant amount of time and resources to completing redundant and repetitive operations, particularly when handling mission-critical nightly processing for multiple branches.
Automation gives banks an invaluable opportunity to get ahead of those heavy processing demands. According to a recently released Global Market Insights report, within the banking sector alone, automation technology increases the productivity of business IT operations by 60 percent.
Destiny Bertucci, head geek (her actual title) at IT monitoring and management tools provider SolarWinds, says automation brings with it a new way of thinking about networks.
“In network automation, the network engineer is no longer simply fixing issues, but focusing on how to enhance and allow the network to grow for future needs,” she said in an interview with HealthTech.
Strategic thinking like that helps make financial institutions less vulnerable to the fresh, new competitors disrupting the banking space, if organizations are willing to make the change.
How to Get Started with Network Automation
Despite the many benefits of automation, financial institutions are not yet taking advantage of the technology: According to 2016 study from Juniper Networks and Wakefield Research, nearly one-third of IT decision-makers in finance gave their organization a grade of C or worse for their deployment of network automation solutions.
You can help your bank or financial institution improve its approach to automation by following Juniper’s six-step implementation guide:
- Make a strong business case: Beyond noting efficiency gains, you should address benefits such as increased agility, accelerated time to value and reduced downtime resulting from human error. Cost savings are also a strong incentive for deploying automation: A Juniper and IDC study that found that automating network operations helped organizations cut networking costs by 33 percent.
- Identify which business processes can most benefit: Set yourself up for early success and provide proof of value by determining which repeatable processes could be improved through automation.
- Map your chosen business processes to IT operations and network infrastructure: When working through this stage of automation, consider the complexity of the changes you’ll need to make. Is there a risk of downtime? How will your organization’s BYOD policies or network capacity impact the change?
- Design a plan for getting started: Whether you decide to set up a read-only activity or test automated processes in a virtual sandbox, it’s best to keep things simple during the initial rollout. Achieving success up front will help you build credibility with management, securing buy-in for future automation efforts.
- Emphasize the human element: As you plan and implement automation technologies, remember to communicate the financial and productivity benefits to network administrators, executive leaders and end users.
- Use the right tools to maximize the value of automation: Opting for a simpler architecture makes it easier to provision devices on the network and manage the network through a single pane of glass. Orchestration and change management tools will also be helpful.
Although regulatory requirements should also remain top-of-mind during this planning process, decision-makers shouldn’t let compliance concerns stand in the way of IT modernization. “Network automation brings too many benefits to the financial services organization for it to be ignored or delayed any longer,” the Juniper guide states.