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Put the user at the centre of the network

Blog

By Raoul Tecala: Dimension Data Group Networking Senior Practice Director, WAN and Mark-Burton: Riverbed Global Technical Alliance Manager

User experience remains the key factor in determining network architecture advances.

2018 is predicted to be the year that we see massive adoption of Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD WAN) as highlighted in Dimension Data’s 2018 digital business trends. It’s clear that this has, in a very short time, established itself as the global standard for deploying wide area networks (WANs).

This move is not simply the result of organisations looking to take advantage of the latest advances in technology.

Rather, it is being driven by four key factors:

  • The continuing growth of cloud.
  • The drive for ever-greater cost savings.
  • The need for IT departments to be increasingly agile in response to business demands.
  • The need to mitigate the risk posed by, among other factors, the move to cloud services.

These are all related to the demand from the business to ensure that all technology investments support core business outcomes, and to simplify the management of the network.

No matter what changes are made to the network, these should never come at the expense of good application performance. The changes in the application space that are driving the evolution of the modern network include: where applications reside, how users use them, and the delivery mechanism to the user. However, SD-WAN is just one component in the ever-changing network connectivity landscape.

The other key element in the evolution of the modern network is the capacity to deliver visibility into the real-world performance of applications, This visibility provides organisations with the assurance that the day-to-day performance of applications will not be disrupted, even when the network is changing.

Whether you are moving applications to the cloud, getting rid of MPLS links, or switching corporate telephony systems to new IP-based services such as Skype for Business, you need to be able to monitor the performance of applications.

The only way to assess the effectiveness of these types of transformational initiatives is to measure their impact from the user’s point of view. Through this it is then possible to ascertain the return on investment (ROI).

From an IT department’s perspective, it is now possible to report on the business impact of a transformational activity, something which has not been easy in the past.

For an organisation embarking on a digital transformation process, data is at the centre of everything. Application visibility allows companies to report, not just on metrics that are important to the IT department, but rather on metrics that the business cares about. This could mean that instead of detailing the speed of, or usage of a specific network link, it is now possible to report on the responsiveness of an application, and the impact that this has on the number of customers served by a contact centre agent in a given day.

This transformational technology has moved the role of IT beyond simply providing a discussion around technical details, instead ensuring that the end-user and their experience are firmly rooted at the heart of the decision-making process.

Find out more about transforming your WAN, and the advantages of visibility from the perspective of the end user – register for the webinar

 

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