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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Network connectivity has underpinned our personal and professional lives for many years, but organizations are now more aware than ever before of its fundamental importance.
The network connectivity tools and services we use have transformed so much that they are almost unrecognizable from a decade ago.
So, what has stayed the same? Well, we’re still impatient and irritated when we can’t do our work because the network is slow or the connection is jittery. It’s a waste of resources when our employees or customers spend time on the phone to resolve network issues, and a poorly performing network can be just the beginning of a long list of headaches.
It’s all about the users
Whether you're running a large single-campus network or a multisite-campus network, you must focus on the most important stakeholders: the users. While they’re connected to the network their experience at every touchpoint is what matters most. They are the top priority when you’re implementing upgrades or add-ons – and, most importantly, when you’re digitally transforming your network.
Enterprises have multiple personas connecting to their networks – executives, administrative, finance and sales teams – and all expect a seamless experience. Then there are the connections to devices, like printers. The move to sophisticated smart buildings, hybrid workplaces and the growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as temperature sensors have only added pressure and volume to the network.
Every network connection has unique requirements in terms of capacity, performance, security and availability, and must be consistently managed if you’re to be a first-class networking citizen.
Software-defined gets results, fast
The best network transformation projects keep the users front and center. New ways of modernizing your network infrastructure allow you to deliver high-speed and ubiquitous connectivity for all users and devices connected to the network.
To enable this, the new standard is software-defined infrastructure that supports change at a speed that works for your organization.
This approach is based on implementing a network that:
- Provides wired and wireless connectivity seamlessly
- Applies persona-based policies irrespective of the source of the connection
- Implements consistent higher-grade controls that maintain and improve your security posture
Users expect more, but not all networks deliver
Location-based services help to create more immersive experiences for users, for example, through wayfinding, where users are guided through a physical environment, or by improving service delivery based on users’ proximity to a product or service point. They can also create a continuous feedback loop to monitor levels of network assurance.
Wayfinding software integrated into a modern campus network uses algorithms to map routes between points of interest in an interactive way. But real-time navigation demands sophisticated network connectivity.
Network operations are key to optimizing performance
Many NTT clients are now reimagining how central, platform-based services can deliver what’s needed so they can gain the most benefit from their efforts to modernize their network technology.
Process-driven network operations bring maturity and repeatability, leading to an immediate improvement in network visibility, reporting and operational measurements.
Organizations see an even higher return on investment when these operations are supported by automation and AIOps techniques, which provide speed, accuracy and machine-augmented decision-making that significantly improves network operations.
The bottom line is that network transformation is about building a more available and resilient and better-performing network to improve the overall user experience.
To innovate in networking hardware and software, and to build modern operational models driven by artificial intelligence, we partner with Cisco to digitally transform our clients’ enterprise networks and strengthen every aspect of their user experience.
Our partnership of more than 30 years helps us to address some of the most challenging aspects of users’ network experience. We combine Cisco's market share and technology leadership with our network services expertise and our investment in research and development, innovation and training to create a compelling offering.
Our advice? Focus on your network user experience. Combine your managed campus network's best digital transformation strategies with industry best practice. And enlist the help of leaders in the field to ensure the best business outcomes.
Read more about our Managed Campus Networks service.
Gary Middleton is Vice President: Networking Go-to-Market at NTT.