The work-from-home phenomenon is here to stay. Many existing staff prefer to work remotely and when they need new hires, organisations can add headcount from anywhere in the world. This has led companies in every sector to look again at the effectiveness of their tech stack.
In Southeast Asia, just 15% of respondents to a survey by EY said they would prefer to work from the office full-time. Working remotely full-time and having hybrid work arrangements scored 29% and 23% respectively.
When your workforce is so widely distributed, there is a much greater need for seamless network availability with more endpoints than ever, to say nothing of the increased bandwidth necessary, now that so much interaction is done via video conferencing.
It is no surprise that many organisations are considering a switch to a new network monitoring system.
For IT teams, network monitoring is now a more important responsibility than ever. They need to support a more widely spread user base, who are using more and more applications and stretching the ability of the network to handle a load that is becoming heavier than its design parameters.
It is critical that they can understand the network status in real-time and proactively resolve issues before they impact end-users.
For IT leaders, network monitoring is the very least they need. However, there are additional things to consider when it comes to switching systems, including of course the technical nuts and bolts. First, let's look at operational considerations.
How cost-effective is the new solution?
It is obvious that each component of an organization's tech stack should be as easy on the bottom line as possible. However, after new tools are implemented and subscriptions are running, it can be easy to forget about maintenance and evaluation on the real cost of any given tool.
There are many ways costs can fluctuate and mount up – for IT teams, and specifically for network monitoring admins, the worst offenders are typically unnecessary runtime and inefficient workflow processes.
For example, deploying the right network monitoring solutions lets organisations get ahead of application end-of-life (EOL) deadlines and unnecessary runtime. This can ultimately save costs across a whole range of applications used by the entire organisation.
Also, for IT admins, modernised solutions deliver more streamlined workflows, increasing productivity and efficiency. Important considerations for a new network monitoring system include device-based licensing and solutions that provide real-time, easy access and visibility into application use, needed updates, and upcoming EOL deadlines.
The fundamental capabilities must embrace ease-of-use, automation and integration capabilities, and real-time reporting. These are key to ensuring a more streamlined, efficient workflow — as well as aligning the team with other departments.
Does it meet end-user demand for an enhanced digital experience?
Ease-of-use network monitoring itself has become much more than simply tracking application runtime and end-of-life management.
In today’s remote environment, the network monitoring team needs to optimise its efficiencies, so customisation in platform visualisation and interactive reporting capabilities are benefits to look for in a new system. Beyond that, the role of network monitoring has expanded to encompass the entire digital experience.
It's no longer enough to know simply whether the infrastructure or application is up or down — IT teams need to be able to track the user’s whole experience.
For example, the team must be able to track the remote end-user's experience in-depth, including site lag and slow load times. The ability to monitor the network and the way users are experiencing it will soon be basic requirements for network monitoring solutions.
Change management policies must be implemented
Change is never easy. Whether it’s a switch to a new network monitoring system in response to an event or simply making an upgrade, the transition can often feel like an overwhelming emergency for IT teams.
With the extra stress put on these teams to ensure everything is working smoothly in today's remote world, IT leaders are sure to 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 reduce the stress on IT teams, IT leaders should follow leadership best practices and huddle with their teams to discuss how to get the most out of the new system.
It's easy to get immersed in the details in tech, but organisations today rightly put the emphasis on communication and transparency, across all industries and all departments.
It's important to involve the whole 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 elements of the stack that they need to ensure the new tool is used to its full potential.
Preparing to move servers, applications, and other workflow tools to a new system is a blank slate – the perfect opportunity for IT leaders to take a step back and ensure optimal agility and resilience in the future.