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Future of Network Operations Is About Business Outcomes

By Errin Mahnken
| | 8 min read


Network team goalposts are shifting from uptime toward business-focused outcomes, requiring proactive action from operators.

Network teams are, by and large, concerned about service uptime. But in 2022, their goalposts are shifting toward business-focused outcomes, requiring proactive action from operators and input from a wide variety of third-party applications, cloud providers, and intelligent network devices with scalability. It is no longer just about network availability to the data center. NetOps must work closely with the rest of IT to guide the organization with data-driven and strategic recommendations on adopting the right technologies and infrastructure to help the business remain competitive moving forward.

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Major Trends on the Horizon

Your digital business begins and ends with your cloud strategy. Gartner® predicts that cloud-native platforms will serve as the foundation for more than 95 percent of new digital initiatives by 2025, up from less than 40 percent in 2021. Cloud-native platforms are better suited for distributed application architectures and microservices, numbering the days of monolithic architectures. Moreover, the cloud can better serve your hybrid workforce with performant cloud-native applications by bringing them closer to the edge.

With their transition to the public cloud, enterprises are also adopting predictive and automated capabilities to manage these expansive cloud-interdependent networks and the critical workloads they transmit. According to IDC, IT executives see artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as a priority. And why not when you consider that such advancements could be game-changers for anomaly detection, app development, or proactive traffic engineering.

Enmeshed Dependencies and Human Error

In our growing world of enmeshed service dependencies, mistakes happen, and blind spots abound. According to Cisco, 70 percent of policy violations are due to human error. And their impact can be devastating, leading to a slowdown of business-critical applications and the potential loss of reputation and revenue if not dealt with in real-time. Worse, these errors can be hidden to network operators without visibility into the broader WAN—that is, until they affect end users.

Blind spots are even more prevalent in the cloud, especially in hybrid WAN, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud environments, leading to tricky troubleshooting that often requires escalating an issue to a cloud service or other third-party provider. In a recent survey of IT executives by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 31% listed a "lack of end-to-end visibility across the technology environment (in cloud and on-premises)" as their top hot-button issue.

Enterprises that lack network-agnostic insights too often select cloud providers without running real-world comparative performance tests. They might select Amazon Web Services (AWS) because it is their primary cloud provider. Or they might choose Microsoft Azure because they are an existing Microsoft customer. In both scenarios, they could miss an opportunity to see if one cloud platform outperforms the others in a particular region or with their company's distinct app stack.

They may also miss the considerable benefits that contextual Internet and network data can provide in reducing errors during change management.

Striving Beyond Budget and Influence

Most organizations rely on IT for decisions related to technology. But when it comes to guidance on broader strategic decisions with line-of-business impact, IT's level of influence may diminish depending on the organization.

Today, platforms abound on the market that leverage analytics, automation, cloud infrastructure, and edge networking technologies and promise to deliver significant operational improvements. The problem is that, in many organizations, workers often do not know what these platforms are or how to use them effectively, especially in the context of a business problem. And not all will work with your existing systems.

As a result, IT needs to proactively partner with business and group leaders to select the right technology for the right initiatives. Your new role is matchmaker. And it could extend from choosing the right cloud provider for the new service region to verifying application delivery is unimpacted by your new AI-assisted changes.

With the Right Data

Proactive IT organizations help the business pivot and create new growth opportunities. They also accelerate digital transformation by identifying and fixing performance issues before users notice them.

With the right data, NetOps can find out how applications are performing across the network, pinpoint performance bottlenecks, fix slowdowns, and optimize WAN traffic. And by baselining current performance, you can establish the value of each improvement or change made to the network and get better insight into what is working—or not—in the environment. Plus, you can identify opportunities to optimize applications, both in the cloud and on-premises.

One of our favorite feedback notes from a ThousandEyes customer acknowledges that our platform’s correlated data enabled him to see a cloud provider outage 15 minutes before it updated its status page that their service was down. “It gave me the time needed to act without having a single trouble call made to our helpdesk,” he wrote. “Fifteen minutes in today's time saved my team hours of work isolating these types of issues previously."

With ThousandEyes cloud and Internet intelligence, you gain access to the collective insights and end-to-end visibility to lead your organization proactively on digital experience. Enterprise Agents give you an inside-out view of how network impairments impact your internal users. Cloud Agents provide an outside-in correlated view that offers granularity into where the problem domain lies. And Internet Insights™ provides the industry's largest collective dataset, giving you a complete picture of Internet conditions.

Staying Ahead

At ThousandEyes, we keep the primary goal of quality digital experiences easy with both active and passive monitoring. Our steady eye helps you understand how your network and applications are performing today versus yesterday or last month to plan better for tomorrow.

By always knowing what is happening in your environment from end to end, you can act quickly and preemptively. It frees up time for you to innovate new applications, new features, and new ways to gain a competitive advantage in the modern cloud ecosystem.

Take a step forward into a more proactive network stance. Sign-up for a free trial of ThousandEyes and start baselining for a more automated and strategic future.

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