Telecom Newsroom interview with Rich Martin, Senior Technical Marketing Engineer for Itential
Rich Martin is Senior Technical Marketing Engineer for Itential, a company providing powerful network automation software to companies worldwide, from Fortune 500 telecommunications and financial services companies to enterprises of all sizes. Itential helps customers achieve new competitive advantages and accelerate digital transformation initiatives through simplifying and accelerating network automation. The Itential Automation Platform is a low-code, scalable, and feature-rich network automation solution that enables NetOps & IT teams to seamlessly connect to any IT system and network technology for end-to-end network automation across physical, virtual, and cloud networks.
Rich has worked with several networking vendors as both a Pre-Sales Systems Engineer and Systems Engineering Manager, starting his career with a background in software development and Linux. He has a passion for automation in the networking domain, and at Itential he helps networking teams get started quickly and move forward successfully on their network automation journey.
Telecom Newsroom recently sat down with Rich to talk about Itential’s differentiators, what they’re excited to share at the ONUG Digital Live Fall event and more.
Telecom Newsroom, Question (TNR-Q): Can you tell us a bit more about what Itential does?
Rich Martin, Itential, Answer (RM-A): Itential is focused on advancing digital transformation through network automation and integration. Our software removes barriers and obstacles so that enterprise networks can reach their full potential and not settle for manual, legacy processes.
TNR-Q: What is the one thing that differentiates Itential within the industry?
RM-A: Itential’s Automation Platform is the only true multi-domain, vendor-agnostic solution for automating across physical, virtual, and cloud-native networks. By accelerating our customers’ ability to realize the business benefits of automation, Itential’s innovative approach changes the game for what is possible with automation. This is supported through our rapid integration capabilities with any IT system and network or cloud technology, low-code environment for ease of use, ability to leverage existing assets in scripts, Ansible or Terraform, as well as our support for multi-domain and multi-vendor networks.
TNR-Q: What products or services are you most excited to share with the enterprise community at the ONUG Digital Live Fall event?
RM-A: Itential is most excited to share our expertise and products that are helping organizations along their automation journey as they navigate how to manage their old and new technologies. Our products make it extremely easy for organizations to migrate to the cloud through our API-first approach to automation, enabling the best possible integration with modern infrastructure solutions. Our unique approach allows organizations to quickly build powerful and time-saving automations in a low-code environment, simplifying automation across different IT domains and systems to manage physical, virtual, and cloud networks.
TNR-Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing enterprise networks today?
RM-A: One of the biggest challenges our enterprise customers are facing today is figuring out how they bridge the gap between their legacy and new technologies. In order to keep up with the speed of business and rate of changes, organizations don’t have the time or skillset to rip and replace their current tools. Nor is it reasonable to re-train network engineers to be programmers and vice versa. They need to find a way to leverage their existing efforts, while also incorporating new technologies.
To combat this common challenge, Itential’s Automation Gateway provides the easiest and quickest way to consolidate existing automation efforts and modernize them with the rest of an organization’s infrastructure. Whether it’s working with Python or shell scripts, Ansible Playbooks, Modules, and Roles or Terraform Modules, Automation Gateway can provide API interfaces to all current automation efforts and make them securely available in one central location. Automation Gateway is also a low-code solution so network engineers and programmers can both participate without having to learn a new skill set.
Leveraging Itential’s Automation Gateway, enterprise networks can stop being the bottleneck holding back digital transformation efforts.
TNR-Q: What is Itential’s position on hybrid multi-cloud deployments for the Enterprise?
RM-A: This is an expansion that has been occurring for years now, but it has recently been accelerated by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic. Network teams are struggling because their responsibility has expanded into the cloud along with on-prem technology. Cloud brings a new set of network services and a new way of management that is foreign to the way they manage on-prem infrastructure. Network teams need a new way to manage and automate on-prem and cloud infrastructure together, along with the IT systems that are required to manage modern frameworks.
Because of the striking differences between on-prem and cloud infrastructure, the Itential Automation Platform was designed with an API-first approach. By using native APIs, Itential can integrate with any modern on-prem network solution or cloud service provider platform, as well as IT systems and services to provide end-to-end automation, regardless if it is on-prem or in the cloud.
TNR-Q: How do you define digital transformation and what is Itential doing to help enterprise businesses adapt more effectively?
RM-A: Digital transformation is the movement of fundamentally changing how your business operates in order to deliver more value to customers as their demands increase in the digital era. To make this change, businesses are onboarding more and more new technologies but tend to ignore the very thing that supports it – the network. At Itential, we’re focused on showing enterprises how they can rethink the way they traditionally manage networks and provide the ability to easily manage across a diversity of domains such as Cloud, SD-WAN, Data Center, Wireless, and Network Applications. This ensures that the network is no longer holding back digital transformation.
TNR-Q: What is the one thing that enterprise companies need to be aware of as they embrace hybrid multi-cloud computing?
RM-A: Native cloud networking services, while similar in function to physical network infrastructure, are completely different in terms of how enterprise companies provision, manage, and troubleshoot. This will cause networking teams to really struggle as more of their responsibility moves into the cloud. This is why Itential believes that any proper platform should take an API-first approach to automation in order to enable the best possible integration with modern infrastructure solutions.
The Itential Automation Platform uses native APIs to integrate with cloud services, network controllers and orchestrators, and IT systems that empower network teams to quickly build automations across any of these domains and systems in a low-code environment.
TNR-Q: Based on your experience and industry knowledge, what are you seeing enterprise businesses doing with technology that is a ‘waste of time?’
RM-A: One of the biggest opportunities Itential sees enterprise businesses missing is not focusing on the full end-to-end automation of network use cases. Typically, most organizations focus on automating only the execution instead of looking at automating the full end-to-end process beginning at ticket creation and ending at ticket closure. The reality is that teams are focusing on automating only about 10% of the entire process and are only reducing their manual effort minimally, when they could be making a much larger impact by finding ways to automate everything before and after the execution to include 100% of the process.
Since our inception, Itential has been actively assisting our customers on their network automation journey. We remain focused on enabling them to easily expand each of their use cases past the execution to automating 100% of their use case processes. This new approach to automation has driven amazing results for our customers.
TNR-Q: Thank you for chatting with us. To learn more about Itential, please visit www.itential.com.