The Computer Network Should Be a Priority, Not an Afterthought

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By: Larry Loeb |

A technical project in any organization usually starts with a wish list. Stakeholders want a particular result, which they expect to produce a certain benefit. Some process or product will end up better, easier, faster or cheaper — if information shows up when it’s needed, that is.

The computer network is an enterprise’s conduit for the information it needs in order to carry out its various functions. That’s why network design needs to be considered at the start of any project, even if no new network construction is required.

A Computer Network Creates Possibilities

Organizations need to view the network in terms of how it allows information to be accessed and transmitted, not simply what hardware it involves. The functions that become possible through the computer network are what give it value to the enterprise.

These desired capabilities are a critical starting point, and they deserve attention from the outset, not as an afterthought late in the design cycle. When information flow is made a priority in the design process, IT teams can optimize the way data travels across the network.

A life-cycle approach to network design includes the complete set of breakout steps: strategy, assessment, planning, design, implementation and management. What has worked previously for an enterprise may not be working as well as it has in the past, or it may be working differently. For example, you may find you have to consolidate your network before you can reliably bring it to the cloud.

Change Is Inevitable

The cloud is here, and businesses have to deal with the opportunities and problems that come along with this technological shift. Getting networks to shape up for the cloud is just one of those challenges.

Many organizations are ill-prepared to directly deal with the rapid changes that come along with the move to a hybrid cloud. A survey by The Economist found that 67 percent of organizations have experienced cloud implementation problems — and for more than a quarter of them, the difficulty resulted from prolonged inability to integrate network infrastructure with the cloud environment.

Trusted consultants can help you build an agile, integrated network designed to improve the performance of critical business applications. The technologies and factors that are involved in this kind of decision need to be current, not just comfortable. For example, how will it be possible for the network to change and adapt throughout its design life cycle based on the business’s needs? You’ll also need to understand the total cost of ownership of maintaining the network over the course of its lifetime.

As Highlight CEO Richard Thomas astutely notes in a recent post for LinkedIn, without the network, nothing works. Regardless of the project, the design and capabilities of the network should be at the top of your list of priorities.

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