Rajesh Pathak, country manager, India & SAARC, Accedian

To become truly digital-centric, enterprises need to evaluate if they have the right tools and mechanisms to understand and manage network performance and deliver a satisfying end-user experience. The Covid-19 onslaught was so rapid that only a few organisations got the opportunity to fully prepare themselves. Across geographies, the disruption severely impacted the supply and demand equilibrium. For many sectors, the growth story came to a crunching stop. Many enterprises had to implement remote working models for all their employees almost overnight. The abrupt interruption changed business dynamics, making digital the primary channel for every interaction. To cope with the exponential surge in data traffic and make their IT infrastructure accessible remotely, enterprises tasked their chief information officers (CIOs) with ramping up network capacity and deploying solutions to enable remote worker productivity and further improve network performance. However, many of them continue to ponder if their network is ready for a digital transformation. Even today, very few global enterprises have the digital maturity to support flexible and seamless remote access. Many are still struggling due to inadequate legacy IT and security infrastructure that cannot agilely adapt to new demands.

Adapt and transform

Today’s enterprise networks are rife with complexity, thanks to investments in multiple cloud systems and software-defined networking alongside traditional on premises infrastructure. Through DevOps and other methodologies, enterprise apps are being revamped and moved to these public and private clouds. The entire cloud infrastructure of an organisation is connected through the fabric of the same enterprise network, which must be accessible 24×7. Any disruption can impact the performance of applications and lead to a poor experience for remote working employees and customers. To manage all of this, first and foremost, an organisation needs network control and visibility gap analysis tools that can provide vital information about network performance and critical visibility and security gaps. These sit alongside other network monitoring tools to empower IT operations to provide immediate resolution and unlock seamless connectivity for all users.

Solving the CIO’s disruption dilemma

Efficient network management tools also enable tech leaders to secure their high latency network infrastructure and keep a sharp eye on wide-area network optimisation requirements. These technologies can play a pivotal role in strengthening an organisation’s business resiliency and helping it navigate the effects of Covid-19. These tools also allow enterprises to move seamlessly from legacy networks to next gen, cloud-native tech platforms. This will become increasingly critical as 5G adoption grows. By deploying AI-enabled automated network monitoring solutions, deep insights can be obtained to optimise network performance and end-user quality of experience (QoE). These tools can help to give businesses 360-degree visibility of network bandwidth and traffic flow, and resolve QoE issues promptly – often before end-users even notice them. The remote working ecosystem involves a massive amount of bandwidth-hungry document sharing, web-conferencing and other modes of online collaboration. Business continuity is hampered if there is a delay in information sharing between different stakeholders. For CIOs, it becomes all the more critical to implement solutions that can flag any problems with network performance due to latency in remote access networks.

Critical considerations

Managing network infrastructure is a perpetual challenge for organisations of all sizes. It is a continuous headache for IT teams to track key performance indicators in real time, which is where advanced visibility solutions can help. Stand-alone application and network performance monitoring solutions will alone never be enough probably to handle data security. It is all about complementarity – getting that view into 100 per cent of transactions, being able to see lateral movement, eastwest traffic, etc., while also having secure firewalls, end-point solutions and other security tools in place. Finally, all implementation decisions should include the organisation’s future growth plans in terms of employees, expansion and the number of devices that might need to be supported. Flexible pricing modules and vendor experience should also be considered when choosing the right partner and solution.

The road ahead

The impact of the Covid-19 is likely to persist for a long time, or even change the way we work for good. Technology leaders are busy strengthening their network capabilities and deploying IT solutions to help their businesses stay agile and innovative, with the ability to create new revenue streams and deliver a differentiated experience to their clients. In the future, businesses are expected to continue supporting large-scale remote working. And with 5G deployments under way, there will likely be a massive surge of internet of things, machine learning-driven analytics, and robotic process automation-related implementation in the digital enterprise ecosystem. Such a diverse, intelligent and automated digital environment will pave the way for innovation and real-time collaboration. However, analytics-driven monitoring solutions are an essential prerequisite to providing an exceptional experience to everyone on their networks.