Making your net-work in 2016

| March 31, 2016

With 2016 well and truly underway, mid-sized businesses around the country have stopped strategising and started executing.

While IT has certainly cemented its place at the planning table, the challenge for IT managers today is to find the balance between addressing their own operational priorities with those new projects for each department.

The valuable contributions made by IT have become increasingly obvious in recent years. As IT consumers we’re working from multiples devices, at various locations and times, and we’re consuming a range of content. This is made possible by the services your IT team provides.

Yet, have you realised how during times of peak demand that IT slows down, or in some instances fails?

For instance, when too many people try to simultaneously access the network it can take much longer than normal, hindering productivity and slowing the pace of your business.

To ensure the capabilities enabled by IT teams are not overlooked or tainted by poor user experience – and to encourage other parts of your organisation to better understand IT has its own operational priorities – the leaders of today’s mid-sized businesses need to see technology as an enabling service instead of something simply consumed.

In this spirit, technical discussions should be encouraged between departments and the IT team around how existing infrastructure can be used to get the most out of existing solutions and subsequently deliver a seamless and enjoyable experience.

To get technical for a moment, this can be achieved through network technologies such as Application Delivery Controllers (ADC), which provide businesses with better visibility as to how applications are performing, an ability to scale capacity in response to your business demands, better protect your sensitive information and optimise the application performance.
  

The technology also allows IT teams to get real-time and historical analysis of all user and network traffic, including metrics for round-trip times, bandwidth, as well as datacenter and Wide Area Network (WAN) latency. Combined, this allows the average mid-sized business to better manage their network, satisfy user demands, which improves the overall performance.

What this means for the business groups, such as sales, is that they have a better end-user experience when using business critical tools. Namely, they can now use any device – at home or in the office – and not have these factors affect the speed, power and performance of the applications helping them sell.

Fundamentally, mid-sized businesses must keep on top of IT, especially when it comes to managing the various devices being used within the workplace, and how the office network is accessed.

In addition to providing a great user experience for internal applications, ADC solutions also simplify the access to cloud hosted apps like Office 365 by allowing users to “bring their own identiy”, thereby reducing the number of passwords they need to remember. Single sign-on technology boosts productivity as employees do not need to waste minutes remembering passwords or individually signing into applications manually.  It also improves security because with fewer passwords to remember, your password policy can be stronger.

As mid-sized companies make technology decisions to cater to their expected growth, IT infrastructure and networks must sit as a priority alongside hardware and applications.

For example, organisations invest large sums of money into new laptops, operating systems or business-grade software to help employees work better. While the immediate benefits are clear, long term, businesses (of all sizes) inevitably realise the same problems arise. This results in ongoing dissatisfaction with device longevity and performance reliability, issues relating to security and speed, as well as the capability and resilience of applications running on the network.

By approaching existing back-end infrastructure in new ways, like using ADCs, IT teams not only underpin the growth of their business, but also put themselves in a better position to meet their own objectives in 2016.

Moreover, IT can gain a better visibility into the cost efficiency of an organisation’s telecommunication budget, which in turn can help reduce monthly WAN costs and reliability resulting in improved productivity and profitability.

As medium-scale enterprises head into the second half of the financial year, it’s important to reflect and assess how all aspects of the business are performing, and whether they are meeting their full potential.

Year in year out, projects and teams change to adapt to the new world of work, and it’s critical the IT team continues to do likewise to ensure it enables business to meet all its objectives.

 

Phil Caleno
Phil Caleno is the NetScaler senior manager for Citrix Systems across Australia and New Zealand. Based in Sydney, Phil is responsible for helping provide businesses with application acceleration, load balancing and web security technologies to accelerate the performance and improve the security of their web-based applications. Before joining Citrix, Caleno was systems engineering manager at BlueCoat Systems, technical director and principal consultant at F5 Networks, and management consultant at IBM/PwC.