How software-defined IT is answering today’s experience economy’

The digital world is continually evolving. Disruptive technology trends in the workplace, like BYOD, have now become megatrends, with employees bringing in non-company IT into the organisation and demanding to be connected to all applications on the network.

In turn, businesses have to change their IT infrastructure and software to accommodate this growing phenomenon.

David Willis, vice president and analyst at Gartner, states: “With the wide range of capabilities brought by mobile devices, and the myriad of ways in which business processes are being reinvented as a result, we are entering a time of tremendous change. The market for mobile devices is booming and the basic device used in business compared to those used by consumers is converging. Simultaneously, advances in network performance allow the personal device to be married to powerful software that resides in the cloud.”

The rise of personal, smart device technology, mobile applications and superfast broadband has meant users are now looking at their mobile devices 150 times a day on average.

Users expect seamless and effortless technology – from high bandwidth broadband in order to download content in seconds to easily connecting to Wi-Fi at home and the workplace at the click of a button.

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The boundaries between what is deemed ‘workplace’ technology and ‘home’ technology are breaking down and users expect the same positive experience whether at home, in the office or at an event.

Those businesses that fail to gain insight into their network and provide a smarter, faster and more agile network to keep pace with user demand, will risk losing revenue associated with positive user experience.

The cost of a bad experience

A poor experience can be catastrophic to any business from causing reputational damage to loss of revenue. The rise of social media has not helped as a simple tweet or blog discussing customer dissatisfaction can now reach the millions.

For example, in 2007, Jeff Jarvis, a US blogger, famously reached millions with his open letter of complaint to Dell – and it’s still making its way around the internet today.

Experience has become monetised and our digital world has transformed into an ‘experience economy’ where every poor-experience second can be metered at a cost to the business.

On the flipside, according to NewVoiceMedia, following a positive customer experience, 69% of customers would recommend a company to others and 70% would secure their loyalty to the brand.

Managing user experience and expectations with IT is considered one of the greatest challenges for businesses today. However, businesses that are getting it right will be presented with the perfect opportunity to turn customers into brand ambassadors that help generate revenue.

Changing the CIO mind-set

Meeting and exceeding user expectations in today’s experience economy must become a top priority for CIOs.

According to IDC, this year CIOs will require an entirely different set of IT skills and roles in the advent of mobile, social and big data, including management of innovation, information intelligence, customer experience and digital business. The firm suggests that CIOs can adapt and transform their enterprises during the next four years to help evolve and set a new standard for the next-generation of CIOs.

>See also: UK’s first ‘software-defined anything’ event announced for May 15

In a similar vein, CIOs will need to go beyond network hardware as simply the “connectivity highway” to focusing on how the network has become the brains of the business, providing the best performance for optimum customer experience.

Through the assessment of IT infrastructure, businesses can help to solve challenges by supplying the right set of technologies to meet customer demand. A simple, fast and smart software-defined architecture powered by a high performance network will be key.

High performing technology to handle user demand

The increase in both mobile device and applications has become a greater challenge for IT departments, as most lack the visibility and tools at the application layer to effectively monitor, prioritise or control data traffic.

Many businesses often require their IT department to use multiple and siloed network management systems to handle the entire network. This can result in a fragmented and disconnected management process which can lead to IT failures and a negative experience for the user. Additionally, this approach can be costly and place a strain on critical IT resources.

In order to gain stronger visibility into the network, businesses can look to a solution that will unify multiple network management systems into a single pane of glass to provide ease-of-use and increased simplicity in managing the network.

For example, by analysing the network, hospitals can optimise and measure life critical applications to deliver better patient care and ensure IT resources are allocated efficiently and adequately.

With better clarity into the applications being used via the network, IT could proactively monitor application performance and response times, and ensure point-of-care applications are optimised, before clinicians enter complaints.

Furthermore, by adding increased support within the network – using a combination of high performance hardware with software-defined architecture managed through a centralised management solution – businesses can ensure customers deliver positive and consistent experiences to users in their environment. This leads to better use of IT resources, increased ROI and business agility, and ultimately an enhanced user experience.

By using a software-defined architecture solution that will combine network visibility, analytics and policy, over high performance wired and wireless infrastructures, businesses can retain user or customer advocacy and loyalty. These network solutions are designed to deliver the requisite intelligence, performance and operational simplicity to handle demanding enterprise environments.

Through this new software-defined architecture approach businesses can generate a positive experience economy that in turn could strengthen revenue streams that will help businesses continue to thrive and remain competitive in the new experience economy.


Sourced from Steve Johnson, head of UK and Ireland, Extreme Networks

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...