In this age that boasts intelligent and interconnected networks, unplanned downtime – even for a few minutes – is costly and disruptive and can reverberate throughout the ecosystem. According to research from ITIC, the hourly cost of downtime now exceeds $300,000 for 91% of small, medium, and larger enterprises. That’s a hefty price to pay – but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Proactive monitoring can play a key role here by analyzing the performance of the network by observing specific aspects of it. With proactive monitoring, organizations can maintain complete visibility into the network and spot possible issues before they affect users. It can be used to track down and report problems like jitter, packet loss, and slow application and network response times – and ultimately, it can drive important business goals.
How proactive monitoring can address key business initiatives
There are five important ways that proactive monitoring helps deliver improved business outcomes:
Better services with better benefits: Ensuring uptime and availability leads to better customer satisfaction, less churn, more customers, people paying premiums, and other positive business outcomes. Without proactive monitoring, trying to deliver ultra-low-latency services without having an ultra-low-latency network just won't work. Proactive monitoring allows service providers to optimize their networks by investing strategically into their networks to deliver an ultra-low latency service with extreme high bandwidth and low packet loss.
Reducing redundancies: There's a lot of redundancy in delivering telco services. Ensuring customer connectivity is critical when they’re paying a premium for the privilege.
Added transparency: There is also the value-add service that providers have in being able to charge premiums for these services; being able to show customers real-time performance monitoring in portals is an added layer of trust and customer value. Providers give customers access to see how the service is performing to the service level agreements (SLAs) they've agreed to – how’s that for a novel concept? Letting a customer see how their network is performing offers benefits both from an operational perspective and from a tangible sale perspective.
Productivity: Proactive monitoring also helps improve the mean time to resolution – how fast customers can get their issues resolved. If service providers have applications and services running continuously with the peace of mind that uptime and availability are more certain, there are untold organizational savings from optimization they can have.
Premiums: Proactive monitoring can be used to avoid paying so many premiums. This frees up the organization to consider whether they need two premium services coming in, for example. They can do one and keep an eye on it and retain the other as a backup, saving operational costs across the board. For the end user, the benefit is being able to have that high-quality experience with availability, performance, and uptime.
How to make proactive monitoring work for your organization
Don’t make the mistake of thinking someone else is proactively monitoring for you. Oftentimes when an end-user company is buying a service from the operator, they assume that the operator is doing this. The challenge here is that when the need for the service arises, being able to deploy the service isn’t as easy as picking up the phone and saying, “Please turn the proactive monitoring on.”
Getting insights manually involves checking with departments throughout the organization and trying to collect insights yourself. It involves figuring out how many calls or trouble tickets they've had to open with the operator. It then takes a while to go through the levels of an organization to build each of the insights that resonate with them to gain a full understanding.
It doesn’t have to be complicated and decentralized
In large enterprises, applications aren't managed by the operator; they may have multiple operators involved. For large organizations that may have 20 or 30 branches, those branches may extend across multiple providers, and they're buying connectivity between them.
The first thing that customers might assume when they have a connectivity or performance issue is that it's coming from the provider, but could it actually be the customer’s database in Denmark? Could it be the printer in Canada that was poorly programmed that is constantly doing DNS lookups to a server in Taiwan? So then, IT at enterprises often has the view that it’s either going to be very expensive or very complex – and that causes some companies to not consider proactive monitoring.
It shouldn’t be an oversight
There’s a pervasive myth that proactive monitoring isn’t worth it from a budget perspective – but that’s not reality. Service providers often budget to 1) build, 2) operate, and 3) deploy services, and in the end, there’s no money left to optimize and monitor those services. When proactive monitoring is the last line item on the budget, it’s often squeezed out. Executives looking at the issue may ask, “Well, how many issues have we had?” They might think they can tolerate these issues – but may reconsider if one of them extends across the entire network.
Getting started with proactive monitoring
All of those aforementioned benefits sound pretty good, right? So, how do you know if proactive monitoring is right for your organization? And how do you get started? It’s important to first start by level-setting on whether you’re ready for it by asking these questions.
- Do I have a network that can support the customers and traffic I'm going to put on it?
- From an operator or a network infrastructure perspective, if I’m contracting to provide a specific 1G service to customers from Day One, is it ready to give that specific 1G service?
- Am I ready to provide the operator quality I've agreed to in my customer SLAs?
- Have I conducted the stress tests necessary to ensure the service can withstand any disruptions?
And with the advent of 5G and other next-generation technologies, service providers will not be able to design, deploy, operate, and manage these levels of services unless they have the network infrastructure and services that allow them to work. 5G requires a flawless network with exceptional performance, and end users are paying for that expectation.
Embrace the benefits, reject the myths
There are already incredibly complex situations to manage regarding network coverage. We're at the point where our networks are no longer simply conduits to deliver traffic; they are now integral parts of the overall service purchased. That means proactive monitoring can no longer be an afterthought- but that needs to change. The business benefits that proactive monitoring can bring outweigh any perceived complexities, so use the recommendations above to successfully implement proactive monitoring.
Ramiro Nobre, vice president of global strategy and solutions, Accedian