Topics in this article
Deliver better user experience (UX), consolidate visibility, accelerate traffic and unify network management
With more employees working from home, and digital services becoming an ever-bigger part of business operations, assuring an excellent user experience (UX) is now of strategic importance.
The distributed workplace looks set to stay. Our 2020 Intelligent Workplace Report found that 54% of companies intend to stay with distributed working rather than returning to office life as normal.i
But many IT operations teams still struggle to deliver a great UX, especially to home workers. What’s surprising is the extent and severity of the issue. Our partner, Riverbed, found that 42% of people using SaaS applications on a daily basis consistently suffer poor performance.ii And it’s becoming clear that these issues are happening outside of what IT can see. In more than a third of cases (39%), users experience a problem before network operations are even aware of it.iii
The issue of poor visibility has actually been getting worse in recent years. Just over half (51%) of enterprises report that getting visibility into network performance has become more difficult over the last two yearsiv, and this is being exacerbated even further as more organizations move to the cloud.
The NTT 2020 Intelligent Workplace Report suggests that the distributed workplace is here to stay.
The challenges facing IT teams
When it comes to ensuring application performance and UX, IT are faced with a difficult task:
- Lack of visibility – the complexity of modern networks coupled with more users working from home (or from different branch offices) makes it hard to see how well networks and applications are performing.
- Fragmented network management tools – to get visibility, numerous different monitoring tools are often used, which only adds to the complexity.
- Inconsistent operator interfaces – each network, cloud, application and platform have a different control console to navigate.
- Disjointed service operations – the fragmented nature of infrastructure, and the number of suppliers involved, make identifying and fixing issues too slow.
- Insufficient use of optimization and acceleration technologies – these could improve UX without a big overhaul of the network.
- The underlying network is not architected for cloud – this is the big, long-term issue that takes a planned and phased transformation to fix.
The three things you can do to address these challenges
1. Focus on user experience
Leverage network and application performance management solutions to proactively monitor, accelerate, and optimize performance across your entire infrastructure. SaaS acceleration solutions can improve the responsiveness of cloud collaboration platforms by 8-10 times v. They mitigate physical latency limits, reduce bandwidth costs, enable you to quickly diagnose and resolve faults, and give you a single view of all your connections.
2. Accelerate application performance
Apply an intelligent SD-WAN management overlay to your existing network to give you actionable insight into network performance, and use data-, app-, and transport-streamlining to improve it. This can reduce latency issues for home workers, allowing you to prioritize the traffic of mission-critical applications, and avoid the purchase of additional bandwidth.
3. Get unified operational control
An intelligent SD-WAN overlay will enable you to understand and manage UX, maximize user adoption, and ensure the success of digital transformation initiatives. It’ll enable you to rapidly diagnose issues and solve problems, ensure optimal network and application performance, and improve IT team productivity.
Where to start
The way to achieve these goals is to introduce a managed SD-WAN overlay service on top of your existing network to optimize and accelerate your WAN.
To help you start your network transformation journey, in partnership with Riverbed, we have developed a quick, online self-assessment tool where you can assess your organization’s ability to deliver good user experience. It’ll help you think through your organizational challenges and provide you with a personalized report to support your network transformation vi.
i Intelligent Workplace Report
iiESG Insights, the Impact of Poor SaaS Performance on Globally Distributed Enterprises, March 2019
iiiEMA, Network Management Megatrends, 2018
ivDigital Enterprise Journal, March 2020
vDigital Enterprise Journal “19 key areas shaping IT performance markets in 2020” — Apr 22, 2020
viRiverbed SaaS Accelerator data