What is the Best Method of Network Management?
At first glance, this question might seem a little naïve considering the average reader of these posts is an IT professional with a decent amount of experience and an inquisitive mindset. So, let’s get straight to the heart of the matter:
- The best method of network management is one that delivers an effective and efficient infrastructure that caters to the business and service-delivery needs of the organization.
To be effective is all about getting the right things done. However, being efficient is about doing these things well. Failing at either will yield lower levels of capability, availability, and performance of your infrastructure.
How to Be Effective
To be effective from a network management perspective means going beyond the basic needs of fault, configuration, monitoring, performance, and security management. In today’s environment, it is about providing the business with a competitive advantage.
Gone are the days of the IT operations function serving as a standalone department, toiling away in the background, keeping business-critical infrastructure running. Today’s IT teams are embedded in every aspect of the business, from communications to customer satisfaction to operations and marketing initiatives. A direct link can be drawn from the supporting IT infrastructure to the desired business outcome.
More than ever, IT teams are the key to understanding the needs of the business and translating these into a technological roadmap that can achieve the company’s strategic goals.
This involves a fundamental shift in the mindset of today’s business leaders. IT operations resources should not be seen as focused on routing trouble tickets to service providers and keeping infrastructure humming. They are more effective when utilized as strategic partners who are defining the digital transformation roadmap to drive the business forward.
How to Be Efficient
To be efficient is all about planning, execution, and performance – functioning in the best possible manner with minimal waste of capital, time and effort. In large part, this comes down to the efficient use of resources: people, processes, and tools.
If you have a large IT organization you can take on a larger responsibility in terms of efficiently managing your network by getting the staffing, training and infrastructure in place. However, most organizations are better off using their resources to figure out how to be effective – and leaving the efficiency to the experts.
That’s where the Managed Network Service (MNS) provider comes in.
Managed Network Services
In previous posts, we have addressed why to partner with an MNS provider and what to look for when doing so. It all comes down to leveraging the expertise of an MNS provider to efficiently deliver the services you need to effectively run your business.
MNS providers today provide a wide array of services. They also have the flexibility to adapt to the unique nature of your situation by engaging with a variety of deployment models – cloud, on-prem, hybrid, and so on. Furthermore, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) establish a reliable and trusted way to define the availability, performance and assurance around the services delivered.
If your organization is large enough, an MNS provider will usually prove to be more economical than providing the equivalent level of service by yourself. With the advent of the cloud and the increase in the everything-as-a-service consumption models, MNS providers can efficiently deliver your needs wherever you are.
How to Be Effective and Efficient
So, given this context, let’s get back to the original question: what is the best method of network management?
That depends on your size, capability, and appetite for addressing the challenges involved. But for most, it’s about using your in-house resources to be effective and partnering with MNS providers to be efficient.
Finding the right balance between being effective and being efficient provides the best way to manage your network. And that balance is uniquely tied to your organizational structure and capabilities.
So, if you really want to manage your network or infrastructure better, look for experienced MNS providers. The most mature MNS providers will spend the bulk of their time actually managing your infrastructure and the remainder thinking about how to do it better.