|By Bob Hockman||
|February 13, 2012 06:30 AM EST||
Networks have become a strategic asset, the life blood of organizations. Once considered a "techy thing," networks are now mission-critical for every member of the organization - from the IT manager to the marketing VP to the CEO. An increasing number of companies now recognize the impact network quality has on the customer experience and, in turn, on the bottom line.
Providing a great customer experience, every time, is vital for limiting churn and building loyalty. This has led many organizations to adopt a strong quality assurance program to test and monitor all contact center services. This is particularly important in environments that must support multi-channel and multi-service applications. The complex configurations needed to enable voice, video and data to share network resources puts a tremendous strain on bandwidth and creates problems that can be very difficult to isolate. And the proliferation of mobile devices has added an entirely new set of issues and customer behaviors.
Network testing and quality assurance monitoring is important for creating and maintaining a great customer experience. However, these solutions capture a tremendous amount of information on customers, networks and operations. Managers constantly create reports with a slew of KPIs, including average hold time, peak chat volumes, queue lengths and IVR satisfaction rates, to try to make sense of all the data. While this provides a certain amount of understanding of daily operations, companies can do better. Advanced network analytics that correlate and trend multiple data points and KPIs over multiple dimensions offer real insight that companies can use to gain greater control over expenses, resolve issues more quickly and plan more effectively.
Using Analytics to Troubleshoot
Troubleshooting issues in multi-service networks can be extremely difficult. Typically, technicians will check the health of individual network elements or review a standard set of KPIs when they learn of a problem, but it's rare that an issue stems from a single system and most issues tend to be intermittent. Because issues are hard to isolate, they can even lead to nasty disputes between co-workers. An analytics engine with advanced slicing and dicing capabilities will reveal hidden problems. For example, sporadic voice quality issues could be examined from a variety of angles to determine the root cause. If they are coming from callers in specific area codes, it could indicate a problem with a specific carrier. If they occur after being transferred from a specific voice portal, it could indicate an incorrect setting on a specific server.
Proactively performing this type of network analysis enables companies to predict problems and correct them before they affect customers. When actual failures do occur, multi-dimensional network analytics, coupled with the ability to drill into micro events, significantly reduces time to repair. This can also reduce churn and support costs. To sum it up, the ROI for this type of solution is easily calculated and quickly realized.
Expense control is on everyone's agenda these days and understanding end-to-end network traffic patterns can help. For example, when companies originally transitioned to IP communications, they realized a significant reduction in their phone bills. However, as solutions evolve - due to enhancement, acquisition, global expansion or the incorporation of virtual agents - those routing schemes have become more complex. Many times during this process calls are directed off the network and back again. Standard monitoring solutions will show each of these calls as "complete," giving no indication that a problem occurred or that unnecessary toll charges were incurred. Only a complex analysis of traffic patterns will reveal opportunities to easily cut costs.
Going beyond standard contact center metrics provides greater visibility into individual business unit performance. Rather than reading a report that outlines average call stats, it's far more interesting to understand how long a VIP customer spends talking to a dedicated agent or how often people are requesting certain types of information, such as mortgage rates. Some questions the contact center can gain insight to through analytics include:
- Are these individual groups fully satisfied with self-service options?
- How are different customer segments interacting with the company?
- Do VIPs prefer to make calls where potential customers prefer online chat?
- Are these preferences changing over time?
- How are social media and mobile phones impacting customer behaviors?
When this type of intelligence is correlated, it paints a detailed analysis of network performance, enabling managers to pinpoint infrastructure investments to strategically enhance those experiences.
It also helps marketing and sales departments refine their strategies or develop new business models to capitalize on evolving customer needs.
An Effective Commitment
A strong commitment to quality assurance is the only way to ensure a great customer experience and effectively manage technology in today's evolving, multi-service environments. Getting it right with pre-deployment testing ensures that solutions will work as designed when released to customers. Keeping them right with ongoing monitoring ensures quality and availability. Now network analytics provides an opportunity to do what's right with actionable information for smarter decision making throughout the company.
To be effective, companies need a solution designed to handle "big data." No one wants to hire a team of database analysts and wait three days for an answer. Companies need a network analytics solution that quickly manipulates information and presents it in a meaningful way for specific job functions. Being able to see trends and drill into micro events give troubleshooting technicians an edge. Holistic, end-to-end insight into network performance enables more effective planning, optimization of technology investments and greater control over costs. Executive dashboards and trend reports provide management teams with the intelligence they require to exploit customer needs and find new profit opportunities. With analytics, doing what's right - from the control room to the board room - will give companies a long term advantage in any market.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,395
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 298
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jul. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 447
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Jul. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 265
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,050
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jul. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,156
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,272
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,183
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,762
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,039
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jul. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,029
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 322
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jul. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,901
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
Jul. 26, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,573
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 388
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,957
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 460
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,535
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,486