APMdigest asked experts from across the IT industry — from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors — for their opinions on the essential tools to support digital transformation. Part 2 covers the network and the cloud.
NETWORK PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT (NPM)
There's no question that numerous tools are needed to support digital transformation, and many play an important role. Network monitoring solutions though are absolutely crucial, because digital transformation by its very nature requires organizations to change their IT infrastructure, whether it's adding new components or removing existing ones. There are always unintended consequences whenever you change networks and systems, particularly today when transformative trends like the cloud, the internet of things and virtualization have taken us far beyond the traditional hub-and-spoke architecture. That's why it's imperative that you have real-time visibility over your entire IT infrastructure as you improve it and add new capabilities. You need to know, and be able to see, how your digital transformation efforts impact your networks and systems, your hardware and software, and the devices that tie into all of it. Most importantly, you want to be the first to know when a problem arises. You wouldn't try to rebuild an engine in the dark and you shouldn't try to do the same with your network. The importance of the visibility that network monitoring makes possible can't be overemphasized.
Systems Engineer, North America, Paessler AG
Your network and IT team can't work on digital transformation initiatives if they're bogged down with trouble tickets. So, one of the most important tools to support these initiatives is an NPM solution that reduces troubleshooting time by combining real-time network monitoring with packet-level analysis. Having both of these capabilities in a single tool can dramatically reduce MTTR by first giving visibility to the IT staff where the problem areas on the network are in real time, and then enabling them with the deeper level packet analysis needed to find and fix the cause. And faster MTTR means more time to devote to Digital Transformation.
Senior Director of Products, Savvius
To a large extent, success with digital transformation is measured by the end user's experience. This includes customers, employees and partners. Before a company looks to add or extend its digital transformation efforts, it should have a solid network performance management platform in place. One that can monitor and analyze traffic and performance across distributed business applications, services and devices, both on premise and in the cloud, as well as mobile devices. It should also support the latest innovations that are enabling digital transformation initiatives including cloud, voice, software-defined infrastructure, and IoT. This way, businesses can ensure the data-intensive applications that connect every interaction are seamless. But when they're not, there's a need for network performance monitoring solutions to spot and troubleshoot issues before they impact the user's experience, which ultimately provides the assurance that their investments in digital transformation will pay off.
John K. Smith
Executive VP and CTO, LiveAction
Networks enable digital transformation, so enterprises need multi-path network monitoring and optimization tools. Many companies leverage the explosion of sensors and data to transform their businesses with use-cases like remote operations, geographically-diverse production, or distributed asset optimization. In all these cases reliable and efficient connectivity for data transfer, control, and collaboration is essential. To transform operations, enterprises need to invest in tools which characterize network capabilities, monitor connectivity degradation, and optimize multiple network paths continuously for critical services.
Director, Product Management, 128 Technology
The widespread digital transformation is requiring businesses to be dynamic and adapt to changes quickly. Organizations must ensure all IT initiatives (existing and new) are aligned to drive business value. This requires bringing in a comprehensive network infrastructure management and automation tool to rethink their approach and strive for agility in addition to stability.
The most critical and vulnerable aspect of your digital transformation are your application services. You can modernize infrastructure all you want. None of it matters if your applications aren't reliably delivered. You need robust application monitoring and analytics — ideally at the network level — to make sure users get the benefit of container-based applications and cloud infrastructure.
Sr. Director of Product, Avi Networks
The most important tool for digital transformation in today's state is using networks to provide the roads and speed limits of tomorrow. NetFlow tools provide IT Pros with visibility to track network usage and prepare for bandwidth increases. This increased visibility allows network administrators to focus on configurations that can shape traffic to increase consistency and optimize application speeds. Leveraging networks will help digital transformation thrive rather than limp along.
Head Geek, SolarWinds
The most important tool needed to support digital transformation is a cloud strategy that focuses on full adoption of a public cloud environment. With its elasticity and scalability, the public cloud allows our developer team to save time by being able to move faster. With this, the ability to scale up and down beyond the footprint of what you have already paid for is extremely valuable and is something that you cannot obtain with a private cloud environment. At Barclaycard, public cloud computing is enabling us to transform from simply being a financial services provider to a tech company as well, while giving our users the best experience possible. The flexibility of the public cloud allows companies large and small to grow without limitations and is an irreplaceable asset for tech-driven businesses on their digital transformation journey.
VP of Software Engineering, Barclaycard
HYBRID SERVICE MANAGEMENT
You can not move, migrate, or calculate costs/risks for a workload without understanding what it is, how it connects, and what the impact is. As a result many executives have reported issues with their digital transformation initiatives. Hybrid Service Management solves the visibility gap. Hybrid Service Management that includes not only discovery of applications and systems across hybrid cloud environments but also maps service dependencies, licenses,and other critical factors. These tools aggregate data across multiple sources to provide a single pane of glass view. Beware of yesterday's configuration management tools as they will not solve today's Hybrid Service Management problems. The key point is they must traverse across legacy environments, on premise, and cloud — across application container from the hardware to virtual machine or container.
Author and Strategist, iSpeak Cloud
When prioritizing tooling needs for digital transformation, the key word is transformation. The best investment would be in an independent operations platform that provides visibility into your hybrid and multi-cloud initiatives. This reduces cost and risk in the early stages of transformation, grows with you as your digital footprint expands, and mitigates against vendor lock-in in the future.
Read The Essential Tools to Support Digital Transformation - Part 3, covering analytics, AI and machine learning.
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