Devices and data and clouds, oh my! Posted on April 4, 2017 by Tim Burke How many times lately have you been reminded that customer experience is “king”? Studies on this topic abound, with several pointing to the importance of customers’ multi-channel and mobile experiences. Delivering effective self-service capabilities matters a lot, too, since by 2020 only 15% of a typical customer’s interaction with an enterprise will involve a human being. The secret to a positive customer experience: network performance If you haven’t given much thought to customer experience, now would be a very good time to start. You’ll quickly realize that the locus of it all is digital network performance. Even if your network footprint is small and increasingly relies on cloud-based services, you cannot afford to neglect how it performs for your customers. And if your network remains traditional – box-by-box deployments and manual provisioning, monitoring, and troubleshooting – you’re probably already in a struggle to keep up as the onslaught of devices, data, clouds, and new ways of doing business accelerates, threatening to cripple your network performance and leave your business behind. A four-part transformation in network architecture So, while the bad news is that traditional approaches to enterprise networking will no longer cut it, the good news is that new network architectures not only improve network performance, they also veil networking complexities, not unlike the ways the World Wide Web masks the complexities of the internet to make it widely usable. This network transformation involves: Open, software-driven, and programmable network architectures with end-to-end visibility, which are supplanting their closed, hardware-centric forebears; Proactive, policy-based automation in place of manual, repetitive command-line-interface-centric management; Network-embedded, context-based security that stretches from the enterprise edge to the cloud instead of perimeter-based, reactive security; and Business-focused real-time analytics to succeed IT-centric analytics. Getting smarter all the time Together, the components of this new kind of network architecture deliver the network monitoring, management, performance, insights, intelligence, and security you need to create successful customer experiences at digital speed. You’ll be able, for instance, to analyze “front of house” network data that reveals customers’ locations and behaviors to learn how they interact with your venues – your store, your website, your call center – and how that’s reflected on your bottom line. “Back of house,” your network devices will be able to track usage – of data, energy, bandwidth. These devices will be able to detect and automatically remediate malfunctioning production systems, be it in your datacenter, your warehouse, or your pipeline. In my next few posts, I’ll delve into the technologies driving these new network architectures, many of which are already familiar – virtualization, automation, analytics, all those clouds – and lay out how they can be combined and integrated to keep your enterprise network performing to your customers’ satisfaction.