By Rick Aguirre

Are you in business today? Yes? Then your sales and a whole lot more —even your entire company — is riding on network excellence.

Network excellence? Cirries is going to talk a lot about the topic of network excellence because it is so central to success in the digital era. In fact, it is central to everything, including keeping your company actually in business.

The basic truth of digital business is connectivity. People, devices, and machines are growing more and more interworked every day. That means the multiple networks that link them all must do an excellent job, whether it’s in operating speed, reliability, or security. Otherwise, bad stuff happens and the network is an unwitting accomplice in the crime.

Let’s start to define the term network excellence by reviewing its only too familiar and widespread opposite. Unless we’ve hidden under a rock for the past 25 years, few of us have not experienced aggravation (or much worse) caused by poor network quality. And, tragically, poor quality networking has contributed to many businesses going under and/or becoming prey for cybercriminals, too.

The Widespread Opposite of Network Excellence

As online shoppers, we’ve visited websites that crash or work so slowly we give up and go elsewhere. As employees, we’ve struggled with critical business apps that perform like they’re mired in molasses or choppy video conferences that bog things down or fail altogether.

As company owners, we’ve wrestled with escalating network operating costs and just keeping the network running nonstop. The time and resources invested in maintain the network are critically important, however. The alternative can be exceedingly costly. A single network outage, depending on the severity, can put an enterprise out of business.

Consider the findings of LogicMonitor’s 2019 IT Outage Impact Study. LogicMonitor surveyed IT executive management in 300 enterprises of 2,500 employees or larger in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Among the study’s key findings, 80 percent of those polled said network performance and availability are important concerns. Over the past three years, 96 percent reported at least one network outage, meaning when services or systems their business relies on suddenly become unavailable.

A brownout occurs when services and systems are still available but slow down. Ninety-five percent of organizations polled had experienced a brownout during the same three-year timeframe. And 53 percent thought it likely that their organizations will experience a brownout or outage so severe it makes headlines and/or causes job losses.

Why Network Excellence is So Important

A dire lack of network excellence comes with a hefty price tag. Tech Research Asia, for example, found that Australian organizations lost an average of 71 hours per employee to poor network connectivity. Recall those poorly performing business apps or video conference snafus. It’s all aggravating and time wasting.

Gartner found that the average cost of network downtime or other problems was $5,600 per minute, or more than US$300,000 per hour. That was half a decade ago. It’s certain that today’s average downtime cost has gone up a long way.

LogicMonitor’s IT executives said frequent network outages or brownouts resulted in up to 16 times higher costs, and required twice the number of team members to trouble-shoot problems and twice as long to solve problems as businesses with better performing, more reliable networks.

Then there are the less calculable costs of lost sales or hits to a company’s reputation. Network quality of service (QoS) is responsible for 40 percent of all customer churn, according to Analysis Mason Inc.

Does any airline want to bump hundreds if not thousands of passengers because its reservation system went dark? It’s happened many times. Let’s not even get into theft of valuable personal data or trade secrets. Beside the embarrassment to the company, data theft could bring about regulatory and/or legal liability. Ouch.

Network Excellence in a Nutshell

By now it’s fairly obvious what network excellence entails. Network excellence provides a quick and smooth online buying experience. The website opens fast and the actual transaction completes reliably and securely. The online store gains a sale with a chance of repeat business.

Network excellence keeps employees productive using fast and properly functioning apps, and in touch with each other efficiently during teleconferences that come off without a hitch. Network excellence keeps the tsunami of data crossing the network and all the attached devices and machines secure.

Network excellence should be the goal of every service provider and every enterprise. And it is by no means a pipe dream. It can happen, with the right technology in place.

Here’s another essential truth about today’s multimedia-data-voice networks. Those who do not know their networks cannot possibly achieve network excellence. They certainly cannot keep their networks secure, or hope to gain critical insights from the treasure trove of data coming across their network.

Just how do businesses and services providers get to know their networks? Well, it has to do with that massive stream of data flowing over today’s voice-data-multimedia networks. That’s a topic for future posts. Stay tuned.