Go back

Network Automation:
The Secret Weapon to Address the Great IT Attrition

by Mark Harris Aug 17, 2022

The Impact of Employee Attrition on IT Operations

The Socioeconomic, political, and world health concerns have changed the world forever. This much is obvious. We are no longer waiting for things to get “back to normal”, in fact, we are living in the “new normal”.

One of the major ways things have changed is the very nature of work. Most organizations shifted to remote work in the early stages of the pandemic, with many continuing on this path for the long term.

However, existing employees also took this time to rethink their relationship with employment. While many people were unfortunately laid off during these early days, others took the time to revaluate their own personal situations. Specifically, many experienced employees who had successfully worked in their chosen careers for decades took this surrealistic moment in time to reevaluate their goals and ultimately decided that this would be a good time to scale back their hours or retire from the workforce entirely.

As a result, more experienced workers left their jobs, and many decided to retire at a younger age than usual. And less intuitive for the IT industry, those jobs are either not being filled, or talent can not be found to fill these highly experienced roles.

Complicating matters even more, this attrition is occurring at the exact time when companies are deploying even more complex technologies than ever before to stay connected and grow their businesses. And all these technologies require more management and production control over the critical IT services and the underlying infrastructure. The result is a very significant GAP between the need for network operations and the skilled and experienced resources available to conduct those tasks.

Unfortunately, replacing workers who have significant IT operations experience is easier said than done. Those who left had accumulated great knowledge in their fields and many were counted on to guide their companies, provide actionable recommendations, and enhance the organization with their specialized knowledge. Based on demographics alone, it’s difficult to replace somehow who has decades of experience with a younger employee. This has created a significant operational and production problem for most enterprise businesses.

Solving IT Operations Staffing Issues through Automation

Since the required number of experienced and knowledgeable IT employees cannot be hired by this business, the organization faces constrained growth, higher risk profiles, and higher costs. These issues can be catastrophic and will hurt company productivity (such as in situations where networks go down, work slowly, or don’t function correctly) while also harming employees’ morale and engagement. When teams struggle due to technical or communication issues, team members could lose faith in the organization. If this happens, their work quality may slip, and they might even start searching for new opportunities with other companies. The result is the limited resources that remained become even fewer.

So how can you get in front of this progressive and yet debilitating end? It’s a core challenge to every CIO in 2022 and enterprises have been tasked with finding new and strategic ways to maintain their required high level of technical capability in the absence of a full, experienced IT operations staff.

The most innovative companies are flocking to network automation. Once nascent in nature, network automation is now a mature approach to automate the kinds of tasks that take huge amounts of human operator’s and engineer’s time and replace it with the same capability but executed in an instant by the machine. For instance, most of the triage associated with network failures or application performance reports, along with security access issues can be handled entirely through network automation. Understanding the expected behavior of any hybrid network, and then continuing testing the current network against those expected results identifies many issues before they even affect users or their applications. Allowing the systems to identify issues and then apply diagnostic and triage processes at scale frees up the human resources to work on the most complicated parts of the equation. No longer do these highly valued operators and engineers have to carry out the mundane and obvious.

A typical large enterprise has thousands of tickets each month. NetBrain’s research has shown that 95% of these network issues are repetitive and, therefore, the diagnostics and topology investigations can be automated. This is because the vast majority of these issues have already been fixed at least once in the past. If any similar problem reoccurs in the future, an automated solution can address it quickly to effectively fix the issue with little or no human intervention.

In addition, network automation helps IT operations teams be more proactive and prevent abnormal network conditions and outages before they become issues. In fact, 50% of network problems can be prevented by diagnosing potential issues, like configuration drift, and using automated solutions to resolve them before they become larger problems.

In short, Network Automation can be the industry’s single most powerful response to the Great Attrition. It allows existing resources to be leveraged more fully, experience to be captured and shared, and unplanned downtime and operational costs to be reduced. But make no mistake, DOING NOTHING is not an option. Resisting network automation and simply relying on the brute force approach in place for the last several decades is no longer a viable and fiscally defendable plan. It’s time…

For more information on automating networks and IT operations, and for details on the solutions that will help your business succeed today, please contact NetBrain.