Can Your MNS Provider Offer the Context Specific to Your Business?
Traditionally, enterprises hosted their applications in the data center and corralled their workforce into offices. Now with the return-to-work initiatives, most workplace situations are a hybrid of the two models.
The way applications are delivered has also changed. Today of course there is the increased consumption of cloud-based services. While some mission-critical applications remain hosted within the organization, others are primarily hosted in the cloud. Notably, this consumption of cloud and non-cloud applications is typically serviced by different entities. As a result, enterprises now have a diversified set of providers to monitor, manage, and deal with.
The one thing that has not changed is the needs of the customers and end users. When anything goes wrong, the call comes into the corporate helpdesk. From the user’s perspective, they just want to be able to use the application or service that is slow or unavailable.
The questions that arise from the helpdesk perspective are:
- Is it a problem with the application?
- Is it a problem with the network?
And, to flip that situation on its side, what if there is an issue in the service delivery infrastructure? The questions that then arise are:
- Which applications and business services are compromised?
- Which communities of users or locations are now affected?
The Role of The MNS Provider
Infrastructure & Operations owners often outsource to managed network service (MNS) providers to manage the network infrastructure. This frees up enterprise resources to focus on the business, while ensuring you have the staff, tooling, and expertise needed to maximize the availability of the network infrastructure.
When performance issues arise, how can an MNS provider, which is by definition outside of the organization, offer the context to help you answer the kinds of questions that come up?
It all comes down to taking the time to learn your business. When selecting an MNS provider, make sure that they can offer superior situational awareness coupled with a deeper understanding of your network infrastructure – and how it relates to the business services your end-users and customers rely upon.
To start with, your MNS provider should be able to provide a continuum of visibility across the service delivery supply chain. But to communicate this effectively there arises the need to learn the vernacular specific to the unique nature of each network, enterprise application, and infrastructure ecosystem.
The “service vernacular” is a mindset that begins with the onboarding of the customer environment. Then it is further embodied through the service assurance systems the MNS provider uses, as well as the manner in which the customer environment is monitored.
At these phases, your MNS provider should be able to communicate awareness and observability in terms of the delivery of the service from your operations center, helpdesk, or network operations center (NOC).
Business Impact Monitoring
Business impact monitoring (BIM) is another key capability regarding context. Your MNS provider should be able to account for business contextualization of your IT infrastructure.
BIM orchestrates the reliance on technology to support a business function. Then, it articulates it within dependency models that reside at the service assurance layer.
This articulation can be quite elaborate and go beyond simple parent-child relationships. It can include models that express complex service scenarios, for example “N+1”, “minimum set of”, “reduced capacity”, “single points of failure”, and “business risk without degradation”. These models provide a broader context to truly understand the state of a service.
With BIM input, your enterprise can create service viability views in the same way in which your enterprise or specific business units account for service availability. MNS providers with BIM capabilities enable enterprises to rapidly understand the downstream impacts of network infrastructure issues on mission-critical business services.
This context is invaluable when it comes to prioritization of remediation efforts. An understanding of the actual applications and the number of users affected enables enterprise IT and MNS providers to focus on the most material of the problems at hand.
This enables them to tackle the right set of problems in the most optimal sequence to efficiently restore the affected business services.