3 Considerations When Switching Network Monitoring Systems
September 30, 2021

Mark Towler
Progress

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As remote work persists, and organizations take advantage of hire-from-anywhere models — in addition to facing other challenges like extreme weather events — companies across industries are continuing to re-evaluate the effectiveness of their tech stack. Today's increasingly distributed workforce has put a much greater emphasis on network availability across more endpoints as well as increased the bandwidth required for voice and video. For many, this has posed the question of whether to switch to a new network monitoring system.

For IT leaders, network monitoring is now more crucial than ever. IT teams need the ability to support a more disparate user base who put a greater load on the network and rely upon even more applications. The ability to understand real-time network status and proactively resolve network issues before they impact end users is paramount. For IT leaders, network monitoring is table stakes. However, there are new things to consider when it comes to switching systems — including, yes, the technical nuts and bolts, but first, let's look at operational considerations.

First, Evaluate the Solution's Impact on the Organization's Bottom Line

First and foremost, all tools that make up an organization's tech stack should be as easy on the bottom line as possible. However, once tools are implemented and subscriptions are running, it can be easy to forget about maintenance and evaluation on just how much any given tool costs. And cost increases and fluctuations can come in multiple forms. For IT teams, and network monitoring admins specifically, the main culprits are typically unnecessary runtime and inefficient workflow processes.

First, the right network monitoring solutions enable organizations to get ahead of application end-of-life (EOL) and unnecessary runtime, for example, which can ultimately result in cost savings across a breadth of applications the organization utilizes as a whole.

Additionally, for IT admins, modernized solutions increase productivity and efficiency via more streamlined workflows. When considering a new network monitoring system, IT leaders should consider device-based licensing and solutions that provide real-time, easy access and visibility into application use, needed updates, and upcoming EOL deadlines. When it comes to table stakes capabilities, ease-of-use, automation and integration capabilities, and real-time reporting is key to ensure a more streamlined, efficient workflow — and to ensure the team is aligned with other departments.

Consider the Digital Experience

In today's remote environment, ease-of-use network monitoring itself is much more than tracking application runtime and end-of-life management. In terms of optimizing efficiencies for the network monitoring team, customization when it comes to platform visualization and interactive reporting capabilities are benefits when setting up a new system. However, there is an overall expansion of the role of network monitoring to encompass the entire digital experience.

It's no longer enough to know whether the infrastructure or application is up or down — IT teams need to be able to track the experience of those using that infrastructure. Today's fully remote world now requires the ability to track the end-user's experience in depth, including site lag and slow load times, for example. Being able to monitor the network and the way users are experiencing that network are going to be requirements for network monitoring solutions in the very near future.

Implement Change Management Policies

Whether an organization is switching their network monitoring system in response to an event or simply making an upgrade, it can often feel like a hair-on-fire transition for IT teams. Change is never easy — and with the additional stress put on these teams to ensure everything is working smoothly in today's remote world, IT leaders will find themselves faced with questions like "how fast can we make this transition?" and "does the new system do everything we need?"

To streamline the process and ease stress for IT teams, now is the time for IT leaders to lean on leadership best practices and have discussions with their teams around how to get the most out of the new system. It's easy to get in the weeds in tech, but communication and transparency are currently at the forefront for organizations — across all industries and all departments.

It's important to involve the full team in conversations around new capabilities, what's not available anymore, and how to leverage the new system to access what's needed in the most efficient way possible. For team members, it's important to ask about new features that should be implemented and how the solution integrates and amplifies other tools they need to ensure the use of the new tool to its full potential.

As IT leaders look at a blank slate and prepare to move servers, applications, and other workflow tools to a new system, it's imperative to take a step back to ensure optimal agility and resiliency in the future.

Mark Towler is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Progress
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