The promise of a network that can detect problems on its own, lets IT management system know, debugs and isolates the problem, seeks permission to rectify it, and then actually goes out and does it, must feel like utopia! Surely, this is the stuff of the future! But, that is exactly what Accenture has done!
I know you are intrigued, and so was I. On hearing about such a solution at Cisco Live in Orlando last June, I went over to Accenture’s booth to check it out for myself.
Yes, they are automating network changes through ITSM
Here is the problem they focused on at the event. As the performance of the network as a whole depends on its weakest link, it is essential to ensure that each device is fully optimized, and running the latest “golden” version of software. However, having every network device run up-to-date version of software to achieve overall optimized performance is rarely if ever achieved, because image changes across all the devices is a never-ending and very time-consuming stream of tasks, and there is usually not enough time and people.
And fixing issues almost without manual intervention
Accenture has created an application that utilizes APIs made available by Cisco’s DNA Center open platform to make ITSM ticket based image management request and resolution an automated process. Accenture’s application combines the network data available through DNA Center APIs and its integrated IT process workflows with ServiceNow’s IT service management platform to provide the automation.
Here’s how it works:
The process starts when DNA Center detects that a device is non-compliant with its required level of software. Using its event notification mechanism, DNA Center reports this fact to Accenture’s application which in turn opens a ticket in ServiceNow
ServiceNow creates a new change request with all the contextual information on the device. Once the operator reviews and approves the change, and when the designated maintenance window arrives, ServiceNow uses Accenture’s application to instruct DNA Center to reconfirm the status of the device and to start an upgrade readiness check
If the check comes up positive, ServiceNow instructs DNA Center, through Accenture’s middleware, to begin upgrading the device with the designated image
After upgrading the device, DNA Center reports the status to ServiceNow, which marks the change request complete
Watch Accenture’s Charles Nebolsky, Managing Director, and Mutaher Azad, Infrastructure Manager, take you through the solution.
Network operators can now decrease their workloads by assigning ITSM ticket response and resolution manage tasks to an automated process. Accenture is highlighting image management in their demo but clearly, they can extend this automation to several different oft-repeated tasks. Automation saves time and money.
In the bigger picture, Accenture is demonstrating a trend towards automation that DNA Center open platform makes possible. Its communication link to ServiceNow automates the ticket process from its opening to close. The solution requires minimal human intervention.
ITSM ticket management automation via DNA Center open platform, when viewed as a solutions architecture, enables a wide variety of task identification and resolution to be machine driven. Accenture predicts that eventually machine driven operations will result in time savings of up to 90%. Charles Nebolsky says, “We are very excited about the DNA Center and its ability to dramatically augment how people work with technology. It is a mass multiplier in how they service clients and make technology more adaptable to what is going on in the world of cloud and digital. We talk about the overall concept as being the “Digital Network Platform” that takes technology from hardware components into an abstracted software layer that integrates end-to-end to provide policy, security, performance, and automation.”
By providing open APIs for network control, Cisco DNA Center has opened up new opportunities for partners to create new services around ITSM ticket management automation that has significant and direct impact for customer network operations. Read this white paper from IDC to see how you can leverage network as an open platform and create new revenue opportunities.
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