A new Forrester report provides food for thought for organizations that are constantly trying to determine the health of their communications systems.
In a new study, Forrester Research surveyed 252 IT and communications infrastructure support professional to determine the extent to which the quality and availability of communications services are impacting customer and employee experience.
Forrester asked how reactive or proactive they are in managing outages, and to what extent they are implementing monitoring, analytics, and other support tools.
The report provides food for thought for IT organizations that are engaged in the everyday battle to determine how healthy their communications infrastructures are. It drills down on how they address regular alerts but also bigger problems such as outages that can cause disruptions in service availability—and therefore impact revenue-generating business services.
A Reliable IT Infrastructure Drives Revenue
The study determined that IT organizations understand that a good communications ecosystem is critical to the overall success of the business. And, diving deeper, respondents see communications capabilities as key drivers of growing revenue, improving customer experience, digital transformation, and improving employee engagement and productivity (Figure 1).
Many IT organizations are looking for ways to improve the wellness of their communications systems. But Forrester also identified a significant disconnect between organizations knowing they need to implement advanced infrastructure monitoring capabilities and actually implementing them. When asked how far along they are in implementing or planning systems management initiatives, the study found that only about one-third had already put something in place and another one-third are planning to implement in the next 12 months. More than 40% of the organizations surveyed indicated they are not putting those critical monitoring capabilities in place today (Figure 2.)
It is clear that IT teams can get ahead of the growing number of communications system incidents with automated analytic capabilities. Ninety-seven percent of IT organizations say communication capabilities are important to overall business success. Additionally, firms who have already moved in a proactive direction are also far more confident in the ability of their communications infrastructure to live up to their customers’ expectations.
IT organizations that have put in place systems management solutions are proactively creating a foundation of wellness for their businesses, leading to improved service quality, improved customer experience, and increased availability.
The report concludes that, as with human wellness, paying close attention to alarms and events, gathering data, and understanding how everyday actions are correlated, can unearth deeper issues that will lead to a healthier ecosystem.
As you set off on your own IT infrastructure wellness journey, consider Managed Services platforms that provide advanced monitoring tools, performance analytics, and automated remediation. To get started, Forrester recommends the following steps:
Assess the current state of your communications applications and infrastructure.
It is more feasible than ever to monitor your infrastructure from top to bottom. Today’s technologies drill all the way down to the granular levels where you can perform event correlation or determine the root cause of outages and other performance issues. Software-based unified communications technologies (which unify voice, data, and video management) have delivered a new level of sophistication. Quality of Service solutions for UC now encompass converged network infrastructure, unified communications software applications, corporate WAN, and cloud services.
Ensure that your organizational structure is aligned to support communications capabilities.
This may sound easy, but it’s not. Most IT organizations are still built to support legacy telecommunications or IP applications, but not both. This means blending your teams together to share expertise and skills for areas such as core networking, collaboration applications, and facilities management.
Align training, skills assessment, and common tools for best practice.
The key to success in driving disparate team alignment is to establish common processes, skill development, and a common foundation for making decisions when monitoring and diagnosing communications problems and outages. Use of a common, proactive monitoring system that enables hierarchical event correlation, automated event validation, automated analysis, and automated remediation will speed problem solving and lay the groundwork for better long-term management and planning of network resources.
Integrate external customer and internal employee feedback.
Easy-to-use survey tools that gather worker and customer feedback are now available that can help you pinpoint areas for improvement. This feedback can also provide outcome data for the training of machine learning analysis of network traffic.
As the study concludes, when people can connect and communicate seamlessly in a healthy ecosystem, collaboration, innovation, and business success will thrive.
Robert Waters is the senior marketing manager at Optanix, responsible for generating awareness and demand for the company’s IT operations platform and managed service. Prior to Optanix, Robert worked at PAETEC and led marketing for its Allworx, Iperia and PINNACLE subsidiaries.