Amit Rao, Director, APAC Channels, NETSCOUT
The borderless enterprise phenomenon that we see today is being driven by the adoption of cloud, mobile devices, and wireless access. These technologies have opened up what has traditionally been thought of as the enterprise network. As far as the enterprise itself is concerned, the perimeters are disappearing.
While its potential is very exciting, this expansion of the enterprise network beyond traditional borders is, unfortunately, increasing the difficulty for IT teams to ensure the end-user experience.
Cloud technology, particularly Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, has enabled groups within the enterprise to treat the cloud as an IT vending machine. In a borderless enterprise, business operations teams, sales, marketing, manufacturing, HR, and line of business (LOB) groups, can each procure and implement their own applications, often without IT involvement.
"End users bypass the traditional IT process because they can, with a perception that this enables faster deployment and, arguably, increased business efficiency"
We now have an enterprise in which business users are accessing applications, hosted in the cloud and purchased by enterprise business executives (not IT), while using their own devices to access those applications, over third-party infrastructure, which IT neither owns nor manages. However, IT is still responsible for ensuring the end-user experience of all of those users regardless of how, when, where, and what applications they are using.
CIOs need to have troubleshooting plans and processes upfront to deal with the borderless enterprise phenomenon, and the challenges it brings.
Once upon a time new application deployments were well-planned, including change management, user acceptance testing and organization-wide communications. Some deployments are still executed this way. In the SaaS economy however, this has changed. End users bypass the traditional IT process because they can, with a perception that this enables faster deployment and, arguably, increased business efficiency. Yet, when problems occur, IT is still required to solve them even though they may not have anything to do with the infrastructure being used.
In addition, organizations often look for someone to blame when things go wrong. In a borderless enterprise, identifying the responsible party becomes more complex because business users are now involved in choosing and deploying applications and services without input from IT. This leads to longer problem resolution time and greater business impact.
Further, CIOs don’t have the same level of visibility in managing the end-user experience of cloud applications compared with on-premise applications. Applications that once ran inside a controlled corporate network are now running in any number of locations in the cloud. Their performance relies on the best-effort nature of the Internet, making it difficult for IT to gather data to diagnose application and network problems. Contributing to the blindness is that mobile users use third-party networks, which IT has no visibility into.
To address these challenges CIOs need insight in to the true end-user experience regardless of location. This can be achieved by measuring service level agreements (SLAs) of SaaS providers, establishing standard operating procedures for adopting cloud technologies and applications, and choosing tools that work together, participate in their ecosystem, and serve their IT objectives.
Service assurance solutions are rapidly being adopted by IT professionals to address these issues and ensure delivery of optimum end-user experience. All of this feels like you are closing the barn door after your network has bolted? Well, now, at least you can track the horse with a fighting chance to bring it back under control!