When dealing with complex entities such as computer networks, one has to handle a lot of data: both configurational and operational. Hence the need to conceptualize the storage of data in a structured way. Data models have come about to address this problem.
When large sets of data gets stored in a structured and well-understood way, it becomes easy to access and manipulate such data. One can even conceive of algorithms and programs to deal with such data.
If the devices on the network are able to be provisioned and monitored using such structured and modeled data, one can conceive of having algorithms for managing the network.