Whether you hold a pessimistic view of the economy’s recovery or see encouraging signs of improvement, one thing is for certain: all savvy CIOs must balance common network requirements with the ability to facilitate key growth drivers such as extending new revenue streams and reaching emerging markets.
Therefore, as you think about the remainder of the year (and beyond), are you close to meeting your New Year’s network management and business resolutions? If not, there is still time. Here are five goals that CIOs around the world should still be striving to meet this year:
Goal No. 1: Conduct a thorough network assessment
Outside of contract negotiations, when was the last time you did an informal audit of your network topology to determine whether your company has the right mix of technology and services? Have you assessed if you are receiving the consultative performance you need from your vendors across the globe? Chances are you’re using multiple service providers and, if you are a global enterprise, you’re likely spanning several geographies with a host of technologies.
You may have a mix of Layer 1, Layer 2, virtual private LAN service (VPLS) and IP/Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) solutions for your different business needs. While you may have realized improved TCO by entering into short-term, multicarrier agreements, the long-term consequence can be a complex Web of network providers-with little interoperability and high vendor relationship maintenance. What’s more, if you have a network outage, are you notified immediately? Are you able to easily and quickly isolate the problem?
Your resolution: To take stock of your network solutions and vendors to determine if you need to consolidate. Turn to a single managed service provider (MSP) or move to a hybrid model. Ensure that you are reaping the benefits of improved customer service and have access to the right technology assets and expertise around the globe.
Harness the Ethernet Explosion
Goal No. 2: Harness the Ethernet explosion
Despite tough economic conditions, global demand for Ethernet services continues to grow across industry verticals. In fact, it’s been predicted that the global service market will grow to $40 billion in 2014, for a compound annual growth rate of 17 percent. Ethernet is fast becoming a high-performance, lower-cost-per-bit alternative to legacy data services such as asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and frame relay. Application drivers run the gamut including video, high-bandwidth file transfer, medical imaging, voice over IP (VOIP) access, storage, disaster recovery and virtualization.
Your resolution: To evaluate the ubiquity and availability of Ethernet services given increasing application demands. Ensure that you work with network operators that have a global Ethernet VPLS network infrastructure with strong Network to Network Interfaces (NNIs) in place, with industry-leading service-level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee the performance you need to extend your business.
Goal No. 3: Go global the right way
Many companies have global expansion plans or already have a global workforce that they must service. With worldwide operations across developed and developing countries, there are differing business drivers and departmental requirements often coupled with connectivity challenges (especially in emerging markets such as India and China). You need to future-proof your network so that your organization can quickly scale as the competitive landscape changes and as your business grows. One size does not fit all.
Your resolution: To peel back the onion and ensure that your overarching network solution also maps to individual site requirements. Ensure that you work with a trusted network provider that can reach not only the major business centers around the world but emerging markets as well. Your solution providers should be flexible and able to address current bandwidth needs by geography as well as sites, and can scale to accommodate business growth and geographic expansion.
Bank on Reliability
Goal No. 4: Bank on reliability
Data services are mission-critical for organizations. The slightest of service interruptions can cost some businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars. Work with your service providers to make certain you have the right level of availability, security and network visibility for effective performance monitoring. Another option is to explore the advantages of service delivery provisioning or a fully-managed network service.
Your resolution: To ensure that end-to-end SLAs are put in place to incentivize service assurance. If you have a fully managed network, expect service transparency through 24/7 customer portals, as well as quality service and support from local experts that are stationed around the globe.
Goal No. 5: To improve user productivity
IT departments are constantly being challenged to introduce new solutions to bolster productivity from a variety of service providers that need to be monitored and managed across multiple regions and time zones. On average, an IT department is required to run and support between 20 to 100 applications on their networks, adding four to five additional applications per year to drive productivity-not a small undertaking.
Your resolution: To work with the business to identify the applications (along with the bandwidth and latency requirements) that will most likely drive productivity and collaboration across the organization. Equally important is to buy only what you need (usage-based billing); don’t be forced to purchase large-bandwidth intervals unless dictated by your needs. Avoid being inundated with superfluous and bandwidth-intensive applications that won’t significantly impact the bottom line.
Ted Raffetto is President of the Americas region of Reliance Globalcom. Ted has over 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. Prior to leading the Americas region of Reliance Globalcom, Ted spent more than 20 years serving in a number of executive management positions at Verizon (formerly Bell Atlantic), including CEO of the data solutions group, group president of business services, and president of global accounts. Most recently, Ted was a member of Vanco’s board of directors and served as chairman from 2001 until 2003. Ted was CEO of Vanco U.S. from 2003 to 2005, after which he returned to a primary board position in 2006. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Law from Lafayette College and a Master’s degree in Marketing from Monmouth University. Ted also attended executive management and leadership programs at Wharton. He can be reached at [email protected].