Delivering a good user experience has always been important; and recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a surge in home and remote working making it strategically essential. Additionally, the move to Cloud, the increased usage of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms, and the growth in video traffic have all placed increasing pressure on corporate networks.
Many organizations in Kenya and in the region face numerous challenges in delivering a great user experience, largely centered around network visibility, network flexibility, and application performance management. Yet it’s possible to overcome this by applying a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) management overlay on an existing network and by using integrated visibility and network performance management technologies.
Lack of visibility is a widespread challenge which underlies the vast majority of network and enterprise application performance issues. And it’s been getting harder over the last few years due to the growth of Cloud. This challenge is driving many organisations to resort to buying more network monitoring tools.
While such an approach is understandable, it places an unnecessary management overhead on network operation teams who end up spending a lot of their time extracting diagnostic data from multiple tools and sending it to vendors or service providers to resolve.
However, what these organisations need to address the visibility challenge is not buy more tools but rather, invest in intelligent integrated monitoring that gives them actionable real-time insights to reduce resolution time and ideally avoid incidents entirely.
An agile organization needs an agile network
Many corporate networks were designed before the cloud age – their architecture forces data traffic through a central data center, which can cause latency issues when using SaaS services.
Hybrid networks offer a wider choice of connections for different types of traffic, enabling network managers to reduce congestion on the corporate WAN and improve user experience while reducing data transport and bandwidth costs.
An SD-WAN management layer can provide a central source of actionable insight into network and application performance. This will eliminate finger-pointing between vendors, speed up fault resolution, and improve the service experience for all users. Furthermore, organizations can improve data flows across their network, between data centers, clouds, and users with solutions like WAN Optimization.
Better network visibility de-risks digital transformation
Business transformation always entails some risk. When you’re placing an organization’s core business processes into new digital systems you need to be confident that they’ll work well.
By leveraging the visibility, flexibility, and control afforded by SD-WAN, combined with network optimization and acceleration technologies, it’s possible to ensure reliable application performance both during and after a transformation.
This approach will also give transformation leaders the insight they need to measure achievements against objectives and gather richer data for future business cases. Not to mention the quick wins realised from driving higher employee productivity, business agility and reduced IT costs.
The writer is the Managing Director, Dimension Data East and West Africa