Your network is a goldmine of business intelligenceBlog
By Lars Kølendorf, Senior Director, Solutions, EMEA, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company; and Lawrence van Deusen, Group Networking Practice Director, Wired and Wireless, Dimension Data
Network insight is creating new value
Network insight is giving us new ways to monetise infrastructure. It’s driving the creation of new forms of value in the workplace and in customer engagement, increasing productivity and revenue.
People are using real time insight from the network to create differentiated and personalised experiences that improve customer engagement in sectors as diverse as retail, hospitality, and sport – giving rise to a whole new era in value creation: the experience economy.
By adopting a more unified approach to architecture and analytics, and understanding how every element of the infrastructure is contibuting to application performance, it’s becoming possible to deliver differentiating user experiences in real time.
Tapping into the experience economy takes two main things: technology and services. Combining the kind of unified, intelligent networking technology that Aruba offer with transformational managed services of the sort Dimension Data provide can give enterprises significant competitive advantage. Let’s look at a few examples.
A more engaging workplace experience – powered by network intelligence
Imagine working in a smart building that knows who you are when you walk in, and lets you register and gain access using a slick, consumer-style app.
A workplace that guides you to your meeting room and when you get there, turns the occupied sign on, rasies the lights, and automatically logs you into the video conference that’s about to start. It adjusts the temperature according to how many people are in the room, and when you’re finished, it turns the lights off and signals that the room is free again.
This saves energy, increases employee engagement, and gives you a competitive edge when it comes to attracting and retaining Millennial talent who are coming to expect this kind of workplace experience. It’s also a key factor in optimising office space and cutting down real estate costs.
Workplace restaurants can reduce waste and optimise staff levels because network insight can tell them the exact number of people likely to be in the office on a Friday lunchtime in high summer. Facilities managers can direct cleaning services to areas of the building that have expereinced heavy use and skip parts nobody’s been in, saving staff time and materials costs.
Network insight drives differentiated customer experiences
Now imagine a hotel with the same sort of automated digital check in and wayfinding to your room, but you unlock the door with your phone. You can do this on Aruba’s networks, because both the phone and the door are on a single unified wired-and-wireless network.
Inside the room, the network can automatically adjust the height of the desk and the firmess of the mattress to your liking. It can also stream your individual Netflix account to your in-room TV, just like at home – a powerful differentiating experience for a hotel chain to offer.
Now imagine you go to the ball game. You have an eticket on your phone but you don’t even have to scan it to get in. The wayfinding app shows you to your seat. If you want a burger, you can order it to your seat, or find the shortest queue. You can watch instant action replays on your phone and connect with other fans, in the stadium or online, over social media.
Being able to offer differentiating experiences like these helps stadium operators compete with the alternative of watching the game at home. They need to create a exciting experience to tempt the fans to their venue and generate new streams of revenue when they’re there.
What kind of network do you need to be able to do this?
You need a network that knows what’s on it. Take a digital display in a store. The network needs to know what brand and model of TV the display is using so it can take account of any known security vulnerabilities it may have. The network also needs to be made from enterprise grade components, regardless of the organisation’s size, to guarantee high service levels.
The whole wired and wireless access network needs to be software definable to improve user experience and produce business and operational insight. It’s advisable to use unified wired and wireless networks to give a seamless user experience between mobile devices and any infrastructure that’s still on wired connections.
Aruba’s unified networks have a central policy manager governing both wired and wireless elements, so that policy can be enforced consistently, improving both user experience and security. This enables the same configuration, or micro-policy, to be assigned dynamically to wired and wireless components, in what’s called dynamic segmentation.
Of course, first you need to define those policies, taking care to adhere to data governance regulation, but also to strike the right balance between ease of user access and enforcement of appropriate security controls. To help get this right, and achieve their desired business outcomes from the technology, many companies turn to the services of an experienced systems integrator and managed services provider like Dimension Data.
Managed services are essential to getting value from network insight
Managed services are critical to realising the value latent in network analytics. Today’s managed services not only run, but redesign and transform, technology services to enable organisations to monetise business intelligence from their networks.
To deliver value from insight, services need to be delivered from managed service platforms that have certain essential features. They must use open APIs to make integration easier and have a microservices architecture with re-usable components to accelerate and de-risk deployments.
The service platform needs to manage the wired and wireless elements of the access network together. It needs to include operational analytics so it can predict issues, pre-empt incidents, and accelerate recovery times. It also needs to employ machine learning so it can continuously recommend opportunities for further automation.
In service management platforms like this, experience and expertise are in code, rather than in people’s heads. Building such a platform takes a huge investment, beyond the reach of most organisations to do themselves. This is why so many turn to companies like Dimension Data, and simply tap into theirs on a consumption basis, making it much easier to extract maximum business value from Aruba’s intelligent networks.