You might not always think of the network as a source of implicit funding, but when it comes to digital transformation projects, consider taking a closer look.

It’s no surprise that digital transformation remains top of mind for CEOs. As a recent Gartner CEO survey reported, 42 percent of CEOs are now taking a digital-first approach to business change, or taking digital to the core of their enterprise model. According to the survey, those initiatives are likely to be self-funded rather than supported by existing budgets. Seeing as the next few years will be critical for businesses to embrace digital transformation – or risk having to spend even more later to catch up – now is the time to look for ways to squeeze more productivity from existing budgets. This is where network performance management (NPM) can help.

Here are five ways to use NPM to boost productivity and drive incremental cost savings that can be allocated to fund digital transformation projects.

  1. Make sure you have complete visibility across your entire network, including on premise and cloud environments as well as remote sites across the globe. Don’t be fooled. Potential network issues are often hidden due to a variety of factors such as legacy technology, shadow IT, and various software-defined solutions running on the network. However, with complete visibility and continuous monitoring and validating of network configurations and policies, network engineers and IT operations can proactively identify and address potential issues before they impede business.
  2.  Run before-and-after scenarios on network performance. Establishing baselines around historical performance of application use on the network, especially after an incident, sets you up to better understand the real costs of the network and its impact on end user productivity or end-customer experience.
  3. Embrace software-defined networks (SDN). When it comes to SDN, one area in particular – SD-WAN – can drive significant cost savings. Yet don’t lose sight of the fact that many organizations will continue to rely on some legacy connectivity technologies (such as MPLS) within their SD-WAN environments. To get the most from existing and new technology investments, be sure you have unified network performance management across legacy as well as the architecture, deployment, and management of SD-WANs. This is especially critical if you’re monitoring different SD-WAN solutions such as IWAN or Viptela or Meraki.
  4. Use network data analytics to get a better prepare for the future. With deeper insights into the performance of applications and devices as well as user behavior, you can uncover ways to save time and resources. For example, analytics can give better insight to improve bandwidth provisioning as well as identify network issues such as poor VoIP performance. These are just two examples of areas where improved network performance can result in higher productivity and cost savings.
  5. Take advantage of machine learning. When applied to network performance, machine learning allows you to train the network to continuously learn application behavior, automate routine tasks, and proactively notify you of important changes. By allowing machine learning to take over lower-level tactics, you free up resources to focus on supporting your strategic digital transformation projects.

It’s no secret that digital transformation is redefining the networking landscape. Yet being able to seize the opportunities it presents will remain elusive to those businesses that don’t embrace or prepare for the sweeping changes it brings. NPM is one way to improve network performance and accelerate digital transformation. To learn more about this topic, keep up with the LiveAction blog, or visit Cisco’s Digital Transformation blog.



Darren Kimura

Executive Chairman