Cisco’s newest 2020 Global Networking Trends Report reflects a shift in the networking technology toward Intent-Based Networking (IBN). A web-based survey was conducted for over 505 IT leaders and 1,566 network strategists from 13 countries. They were quizzed about the current status of their networks and their development aspirations over the next 2 years. And IBN emerged as the trend to look out for.

Maximizing the business value is said to be the top priority for 40% of respondents. To get there, their IT teams need to arm themselves with incisive data extracted with the right tools.

Scott Harrell, SVP and GM, Cisco Enterprise Networking, favored the fact that IT teams are embracing intent-based networking, AI, and machine learning, because these technologies are in demand for enterprises.

Cisco was one of the first vendors to invest in IBN efforts in July 2017 and has been actively introducing these features across the entire networking portfolio. Cisco’s survey suggests that businesses are moving to IBN, which is fundamentally the second phase of SDN. Around 41% of respondents claimed to have at least one instance of SDN in at least one of their network domains.

SDN offers a guided path to design, build, and operate networks from a single dashboard. Cisco claims that IBN has been built to pick up from where SDN left off. They have also added additional capabilities, providing a rational feedback loop, which indicates why something is not working and also provides information as to why the issue occurred.

While SDN has been instrumental in the changing network demand patterns and essentially laid the foundation for IT infrastructure evolution, IBN solutions provide a closed feedback loop. This lends intelligence to the data provided by the network and the infrastructure.

Based on Cisco’s Digital Network Readiness model, currently, only 28% of respondents have reached the SDN or IBN level. And 78% expect their networks to move beyond SDN or IBN technologies within the next 2 years.

That being said, Prashanth Shenoy, the Vice President of Marketing at Cisco, candidly admitted his surprise at the findings. He seems to be in the wait and watch mode for the next 2 years to see how stakeholders warm up to these technologies.