By any measure, a smoothly operating data network is a business essential; the typical unplanned network outage, which lasts an average of 95 minutes, now costs upwards of $740,000 — and more than 80% of that cost is due to business disruption, forsaken revenue, and loss of end-user productivity.
Yet every enterprise’s data network is different. So what does it take to get your unique network services requirements right?
Beginning with strategy
Of course, you’ll need an assortment of technical capabilities — hardware, software, and/or services — to bring your network up to snuff.
But before any of that, you need to think strategically. Organizations that operate reliable, responsive, cost-effective data networks focus on a couple of strategic goals: they regard IT and the network as a strategic asset and they continuously work to improve network agility.
Firms that are less successful in their networking efforts tend to lose sight of these goals of network agility and the network as a strategic asset. Instead, they’re stuck on tactical issues like reducing costs while their IT teams are perpetually in catch-up mode and out of time.
Tendencies that pay off
These tendencies make a real bottom-line difference. One recent study compared outcomes of those strategically focused on network technology matters (the top tier) with the tactically-focused bottom tier. The study shows the top tier is:
- Twice as likely to meet service-level agreements (SLAs) and have somewhat to extremely satisfied users; and
- Ten times as likely to remediate security incidents “extremely quickly” (especially significant given that cybercrime is now the second-leading cause of unplanned network outages and rising faster than any other cause ).
5 strategic network services moves to make now
Here are five strategic best practices that can help you both manage your network and deploy the next-generation initiatives on which your enterprise’s ongoing competitiveness depends:
- 1. Use risk analysis to prioritize. This means you should first conduct a risk analysis and take the results seriously.
- 2. Automate basic tasks — ASAP. The more you can automate elementary tasks like provisioning new users, the more your network agility improves.
- 3. Eliminate silos. Commit to cooperation between network and application teams as well as integration and connectivity in your siloed technology infrastructure.
- 4. Face operational and staffing realities. Don’t overtax your IT people to control costs; bring in the services and expertise needed to meet your strategic goals.
- 5. Recognize when you need help. An experienced, trustworthy technology advisor with deep, vendor-neutral networking expertise can help get your network services — and your business — where it needs to go.