|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.
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Nov. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EST
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
Nov. 30, 2015 03:30 PM EST
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 30, 2015 03:15 PM EST Reads: 242
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 30, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 492
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 366
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 430
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 434
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 30, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 537
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 30, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 342
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 30, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 462
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:30 AM EST Reads: 354
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 30, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 291
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 506
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 30, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 565
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 30, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 469
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 30, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 384
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 30, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 389
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 30, 2015 05:30 AM EST Reads: 496
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 Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 30, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 609
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Nov. 30, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 350