We’ve examined the impact of human nature on network performance. The other side of the coin has to do, of course, with equipment. Broad industry equipment trends have largely dictated the activities (and the challenges) that engineers and technicians take on. Not to worry, however—there are ways of managing the challenges that come with a rapidly evolving network technology landscape.
Simplify Now, Struggle Later: Why the Trend of Equipment Virtualization Means Trouble for MSPs
With manufacturers looking to increase the share of revenue coming from recurring subscription fees, software and service fees, business models within the hardware industry have shifted. To enforce the use of their specific tools or management services, network equipment manufacturers may deliberately limit what commands and information can be accessed remotely, forcing technicians and network engineers to manage multiple platforms in tandem to achieve a comprehensive view of the network and making it much more challenging for them to address equipment issues without physically going on-site.
This trend of abstraction gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic, when organizations were forced to seek out streamlined plug-and-play solutions that were remotely configurable.
For small and medium businesses with more limited resources—or enterprise organizations ruthlessly focused on enhancing the scalability and agility of their IT operations—this trend is a boon.
For the technicians and engineers responsible for network management, however, increased abstraction portends more wasted resources, increased downtime, increased mean time to repair (MTTR), reduced network performance—and greater dissatisfaction for the high-level resources forced to travel out to remote sites. In fact, 91% of organizations say they occasionally send network engineers or technicians out to sites to resolve issues, with 42% saying that they do this for the majority of outages and downtime.1
How Integrations and Diagnostics can Help MSPs Navigate Equipment Challenges
One way to manage the challenges associated with abstracted devices and proprietary protocols is by having a network management platform that comes strapped with comprehensive integrations. There are three areas where integration can help streamline workflows:
- Incident management and ticketing.
- Circuit providers.
In the case of manufacturer integrations, traditional protocols have required MSPs to have network-level access to equipment for setup, configuration and troubleshooting. For a larger MSP managing multiple customers, each of which might have equipment from multiple manufacturers, this adds considerable bloat to engineers’ and technicians’ workloads. With manufacturer integrations, however, MSPs can gain immediate visibility into equipment across all their customers with a simple password or API key, allowing network engineers to take a more standardized approach towards device management, compatibility, integration, and device onboarding.
Integrations with incident management and ticketing systems help streamline workflows and reduce administrative burden for NOCs. Every technician is familiar with the tedium of manually entering incident details into one or more ticketing systems, but with an integrated solution, tickets can be automatically created and populated inside of the management system, with enough detailed information to facilitate rapid resolution without manual entry. Capturing more accurate information around network events in the ticketing system allows teams to track the entire incident lifecycle more easily and provides improved upstream and downstream visibility, all behind a single pane of glass. Integrations with circuit providers unlock similar benefits—an integrated platform eliminates the need for manual intervention by automatically generating a ticket and notifying the circuit provider of any circuit issues.
These reductions in administrative overhead are especially helpful for frontline staff like service desk personnel and tier one support, who handle a high volume of tickets and aim for quick resolutions. Tier two and tier three engineers are empowered to focus on the NOC’s core objective: proactively optimizing network performance and identifying potential issues before they can impact the business.
Looking Towards Proactive Network Optimization with a Purpose-Built Platform and Partner
Proactive optimization is especially crucial in the context of cellular networks. As 5G technology improves and the cost of data decreases, a growing number of enterprises are moving away from traditional hardline connections and adopting wireless communications as their primary connectivity solution. Cellular networks are taking up a greater share of the WAN provider market; a 2022 industry report found that the use of 4G and 5G cellular links is expected to grow the fastest, with a projected increase of 68%.2 This, however, comes with a greater need for remediation when compared to less complex hardline connections.
To optimize complex connectivity needs, MSPs need to go beyond simple monitoring and leverage the advanced capabilities that come with a sophisticated connectivity business intelligence platform. At Trextel, we built our proprietary platform IntelliTrex with business intelligence that combines and streamlines network data, and also provides valuable insights by providing visibility to performance trends. That means having all the data you collect, the tools you use, the integrations you need—sorted, managed, and interpreted for you in a single place.
We’ve been doing this a long time, and we’re incredibly familiar with the challenges facing MSPs today; you can download our industry report to learn more. But if you need to see to believe, reach out to us, request a demo to see IntelliTrex in action, and let’s talk about how we can help you achieve your (and your clients’) goals.