How many times have you been asked to improve efficiency, do more with less, or work with fewer staff than needed due to talent shortages or resource constraints? Throughout my decades-long IT career, the network has been the backbone of the business – yet our teams are always expected to do more with less and to be bulletproof while we’re doing it. And somehow, we always rise to the challenge.
Economic indicators have been a mixed bag lately. Optimists are searching for their ray of hope, while others are predicting financial woes. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but from our perspective, we know we won’t be getting a considerable budget increase next year, and most of the people I talk to are being asked to find ways to save.
In part one of this series, “Making Operations More Agile and Efficient With a Digital Twin,” we discussed how a digital twin can improve operations and specific security features to keep the network safe. Although, for some readers, this may be an introduction to the concept of a network digital twin, the idea of adding a new piece of technology to your stack while being asked to trim the budget may seem counter-intuitive. However, it could be your best move.
The most labor-intensive part of network operations is collecting current data. We all “know” our network and understand it functionally. Still, almost none of us have an always current view of our entire topology, exactly which L2-L4 devices we have, their configuration, their OS, and the features in use. The reason is not that we’re lazy or that the information is unhelpful. We just can’t keep this level of detail current and accessible. Even when you invest in building a network map, it’s out of date the second it’s completed because the network is constantly being changed.
How much of the workday does your team spend chasing down information? Then, once they get the information, how many people does it take to remedy the situation? In today’s Net Ops department, there are fewer “networking” experts than ever; they’ve been replaced by routing experts, switching experts, firewall experts, etc. While this deep functional expertise is required to keep today’s complex networks functioning, it also means troubleshooting has become an expensive team endeavor.
What if the most inexperienced person on your team could diagnose a problem by performing a simple search and forward the issue with current network status information to the correct team for remediation? A problem that would have taken several highly certified (and expensive) engineers hours to research and remediate is resolved in minutes by the least expensive person on the team.
Understanding topology is another use case large enterprises grapple with. Not just the overall network topology but also task-specific networks. One company we work with would routinely assign two expensive engineers to verify the integrity of a task-specific network. They would manually log into the network devices and review configurations for a half or full day. Using Forward Enterprise, the same review can be completed in less than five minutes without the risk of anything being overlooked.
Most enterprises are the product of organic growth over years, acquisitions, and mergers. They appear to be one unified company on paper, but in practice, the networks are segregated and poorly documented. Imagine trying to troubleshoot in that environment; many people reading this don’t have to imagine – you are living it. Forward Enterprise can streamline this process and produce savings in the form of an accurate inventory, ensuring you only pay for support on devices in service, and savings from decommissioning devices that no longer meet network standards and replacing them with more cost-effective modern technologies.
To see a demonstration of how one of our customers benefited from using Forward Enterprise to unite networks during a merger, watch our Cloud Field Day session.
For a personal conversation on how Forward Networks can help your IT department be more efficient and effective, request a demo.