Enterprise APIs Streamline Network Operations

Enterprise digital transformation initiatives are driving the need for more agile, efficient, and automated network operations. As organizations migrate and adopt hybrid/multi-cloud environments, the complexity of managing network services increases significantly. A lack of standardized automation between enterprise systems and service provider networks creates friction, inefficiencies, and hinders visibility and control.Enterprise Network Automation ChallengeEnterprises face numerous challenges in automating the lifecycle management of their network services and operations across multiple service providers. A primary obstacle is the reliance on proprietary APIs and manual processes for service fulfillment and assurance activities. This leads to lengthy delays and inefficiencies in provisioning new services or making changes, ultimately impacting business agility.Compounding the issue is the lack of end-to-end visibility of network services and operations. Enterprises struggle to gain a unified view of service quality, performance metrics, and real-time status updates across the network. This visibility gap makes it difficult to proactively monitor service levels, quickly identify and resolve incidents, and ensure SLA compliance across the entire network.What’s more, as business needs evolve rapidly in today’s fast-paced digital landscape, enterprises face significant challenges in efficiently modifying and managing their network services in a timely manner. The manual processes and disparate systems employed by service providers often result in delays that affect an enterprise’s ability to support new applications, workloads, or business initiatives.Integrating enterprise systems with service provider networks and operations is another hurdle. Disparate data models, interfaces, and processes create significant complexity and increase operational overhead. Service providers often employ proprietary technologies and architectures, making it challenging for enterprises to establish seamless interoperability and automation between their internal systems and the provider networks they rely on.These integration complexities not only hamper operational efficiency but also impact digital transformation efforts. As enterprises strive to adopt cloud-native architectures, the lack of standardized automation between their systems and service provider networks creates friction, slowing down innovation cycles and the delivery of new digital services and experiences. For large multinational enterprises working with multiple service providers around the globe to access services, this is exacerbated. Proprietary APIs need to be customized for each service provider, impacting development time, cost, scale, etc. However, standardized APIs can be built once and implemented with many partners and services, minimizing additional cost and effort.Collectively, these challenges slow an enterprise’s ability to respond quickly to market dynamics, enhance customer experiences, and drive innovation. In an increasingly competitive digital landscape, where network connectivity is a critical foundation for business success, addressing these automation hurdles is crucial for enterprises to thrive and maintain a competitive edge.MEF’s Enterprise Business and Operational API SolutionTo address these challenges, MEF has pioneered a comprehensive portfolio of enterprise business and operational Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) APIs. This powerful suite enables seamless automation between enterprises and their service providers.MEF’s enterprise API portfolio features a wide range of business and operational APIs that automate various business and operational functions spanning the entire service lifecycle, from fulfillment and performance monitoring to assurance and incident management. These include address validation, site query, product catalog, product order, trouble ticketing, and billing and settlement, as well as service function testing, service performance monitoring, and fault management. With the ability to span the entire lifecycle of processes, these APIs provide enterprises with a comprehensive set of automation tools.Key benefits include:Improved visibility and control over network services and operationsIncreased agility in rapidly provisioning, modifying, and managing servicesSeamless integration of enterprise systems with service provider networksSupport for a diverse range of services, including Ethernet, IP, cloud connectivity, edge compute, and security.The initial use cases focus on enabling enterprises to automate the buying and management of network services, cloud connectivity, edge compute, cybersecurity offerings, and incident reporting for rapid response to service changes and security threats. This enables enterprises to gain tremendous observability and control over their operations, even during cybersecurity threats or maintenance events.MEF’s business and operational APIs have gained significant traction among service providers worldwide. Over 155 service providers are in various stages of adoption, with 35 already in production, automating business and operational functions with their service provider partners. This growing ecosystem can now leverage the same APIs to extend automation to enterprises for retail services.The Path ForwardAs enterprises continue their digital transformation journeys, MEF is committed to enhancing its enterprise automation capabilities. Its roadmap for automation in the enterprise includes optimizing business and operational capabilities for mobility and developer/application use cases with an emphasis on lightweight, intent-driven automation processes for interacting with service provider networks.For enterprise network managers grappling with the challenges of automating network operations in today’s dynamic digital landscape, MEF’s enterprise business and operational LSO API portfolio offers a compelling solution. By embracing standards-based, interoperable automation, enterprises can gain greater control, flexibility, and visibility over their network services, laying a solid foundation for innovation and future growth.To learn more about MEF’s enterprise API portfolio and its broader efforts in accelerating automated NaaS adoption, explore the comprehensive resources available, including whitepapers, state of the industry reports, and upcoming events.(Editor’s note: This article is part of our regular series of articles from the industry experts at MEF.)Pascal Menezes, CTO at MEF, is a seasoned expert with a laser focus on cutting-edge technologies. His areas of expertise encompass SD-WAN, SASE, cloud-scale architectures, real-time media networks, SDN, NFV, and LSO. With a decade at Microsoft Skype for Business Global Carrier Group and a track record of success in five startups, Pascal has earned global thought leadership awards, presented at renowned events, and contributed to industry standards in the IETF, MEF, and Broadband Forum (MPLS), holds 30+ patents. Pascal hosts MEF’s Executives at the Edge podcast.See his collection of Network Computing articles here.