In the ever-evolving realm of technology, businesses grapple with the challenges of increasingly complex networks, often resulting in escalated operational costs and inefficiencies. Picture a contact centre tethered to outdated communication systems, leading to missed opportunities and disgruntled customers. Much like the great carrier pigeon layoffs in the wake of the royal mail (don’t look that up), making the necessary technological changes can save you a fortune.
Key factors leading to high costs
We’ve moved well beyond simply managing phone lines, where modern networks often consist of diverse infrastructures that may include on-premises servers, cloud services, as well as still including more traditional setups. Managing such a heterogeneous environment can be challenging as each component may have different configurations, protocols, and maintenance requirements.
Diverse infrastructures can lead to complexity in network management, requiring administrators to have a comprehensive understanding of various technologies. Integration between different components may pose compatibility issues, making it crucial to adopt standardised protocols and practices for seamless operation to reduce downtime and overall cost.
Growing Number of Devices and Endpoints
The proliferation of devices and endpoints, including IoT (Internet of Things) devices, smartphones, tablets, and various other gadgets, contributes to increased network traffic and complexity. Managing the security, connectivity, and performance of this vast array of devices poses significant challenges.
IT administrators must contend with issues such as device discovery, onboarding, security compliance, and monitoring for an ever-expanding number of endpoints. Implementing robust endpoint security measures, network access controls, and efficient device management systems are essential to handle the growing volume of devices on modern networks.
Many organisations utilise network equipment and solutions from multiple vendors. Integrating and managing devices from different vendors can be complex, as each may have its own management interfaces, protocols, and standards.
Interoperability challenges may arise in multi-vendor environments, making it necessary to invest in solutions that support industry standards for seamless integration. Network administrators must also stay abreast of updates and changes from various vendors to ensure compatibility and security across the network.
Software Defined Networking (SDN)
SDN is a paradigm that separates the network control plane from the data plane, providing a centralised, programmable approach to network management. While SDN offers flexibility and scalability, its implementation introduces new challenges, such as orchestration, security, and ensuring the compatibility of legacy systems.
Managing SDN requires expertise in software development, network programming, and understanding the specific requirements of the organisation. Integration with existing network infrastructure, security considerations, and ongoing optimisation are crucial aspects of effectively managing SDN environments and avoiding high costs.
Network Redundancy and High Availability
Ensuring high availability and minimising downtime through network redundancy requires investments in redundant hardware, failover mechanisms, and backup systems. The costs associated with building and maintaining a resilient network can be substantial.
Depending heavily on a single vendor for network solutions can limit flexibility and potentially lead to increased costs. Organisations may incur expenses when trying to transition away from a vendor-locked environment to adopt more flexible, vendor-neutral solutions.
These challenges not only have direct financial implications but also impact the overall efficiency, security, and adaptability of modern networks. Organisations that effectively address these challenges with strategic planning and investments are better positioned to build and maintain robust, cost-effective network infrastructures.
But they can’t be solved with a simple band-aid or a one-fits-all solution. Businesses need to be understood at an individual level, with their specific needs addressed. At StableLogic, we specialise in network modernisation projects, with our approach encapsulated in the following.
This involves assessing the current network services to identify areas where costs can be optimised without compromising performance. It may include streamlining operations, renegotiating contracts, or adopting more cost-effective technologies and solutions.
Network cost savings can be achieved through a thorough analysis of current expenditures, identifying inefficiencies, and proposing solutions that provide better value for money. This may involve technology upgrades, consolidation of services, or exploring alternative service providers.
Evaluating existing contracts is crucial for ensuring that the organisation receives competitive pricing and favourable terms. Benchmarking involves comparing current contracts with industry standards and negotiating with vendors to achieve better deals.
Using a global network services database allows for a comprehensive comparison of existing contracts. It helps in identifying areas where costs can be reduced, services improved, or terms renegotiated to align with market trends and industry benchmarks.
Strategy & Roadmapping
Developing a network strategy involves aligning network services with organisational objectives. Roadmapping outlines the planned steps and initiatives for implementing the strategy over time.
The strategy is crafted by understanding business goals, technology requirements, and future scalability needs. Roadmapping involves creating a visual plan that outlines the sequence and timing of activities, ensuring a systematic and organised approach to network modernisation.
Assessing cloud strategy ensures that the organisation's network is prepared to support cloud-based services. This involves evaluating connectivity, security, and performance requirements for seamless integration with cloud infrastructure.
We examine the compatibility of the existing network with cloud platforms. It may involve optimising network architecture, implementing SD-WAN, and ensuring sufficient bandwidth for efficient cloud connectivity.
As networks and security become increasingly intertwined, it's crucial to incorporate security requirements into the overall network strategy. This involves identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, implementing security measures, and ensuring compliance with industry standards.
Network security considerations encompass firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, encryption, and access controls. Integrating security into the network strategy helps in creating a robust defence against cyber threats.
After defining the network strategy, procurement involves selecting service providers through a competitive bidding process. Negotiating pricing and contractual terms with the chosen provider is a key component of this phase.
Network procurement includes issuing Request for Proposals, evaluating vendor responses, conducting vendor assessments, and negotiating contracts. The goal is to secure the best possible services at favourable terms.
Business Case Development
A dynamic business case outlines the financial and operational aspects of the network transformation program. It includes cost estimates, potential savings, return on investment, and key performance indicators.
The business case serves as a roadmap for monitoring the financial and operational success of the network modernisation program. It helps stakeholders understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with the initiative.
Service Operating Model
Service management is critical for ensuring that the network operates effectively. This involves defining processes, roles, and responsibilities for ongoing support and maintenance.
Establishing a service operating model involves creating support structures, implementing monitoring and management tools, and defining escalation procedures. It ensures that the network remains resilient, secure, and meets the evolving needs of the organisation. Ongoing monitoring and adjustments are essential for continuous improvement.
In conclusion, navigating the challenges of modern network management requires a strategic and comprehensive approach. By addressing issues like diverse infrastructures, growing device numbers, and vendor lock-in, organisations can not only reduce operational costs but also enhance efficiency, security, and adaptability. To delve deeper into the realm of network modernisation, watch our webinar on strategic solutions for cost-effective and efficient network transformations. Take the next step towards a streamlined and future-ready network.
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