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How to Choose the Right Network Management Solution

Having the right IT network management solution and partner in place can make all the difference in 2023. This critical choice can either catapult your business toward new heights or cause headaches you’d rather avoid.

What Does Your Business Need?

The first step in selecting the network management solution and partner that’s right for you is to understand the unique needs of your business. You cannot – we repeat, cannot – look at your IT and networking in a vacuum or silo. Your IT infrastructure has to be evaluated with a sweeping view of your larger business needs and objectives.

During your analysis, you’ll obviously have to consider things like current IT infrastructure, data, network size, and other network-specific factors. However, the goals of the business as a whole are extremely important.

For example, let’s say you’re running a healthcare organization that handles extremely sensitive patient data that’s protected by HIPAA laws. Your primary emphasis is going to be on data protection and integrity. But if you’re a growing tech startup, on the other hand, scalability and the ability to quickly pivot may be a more attractive focal point. 

It’s impossible to find a one-size-fits-all solution (as nice as that would be). You have to be careful, cautious, and bold enough to go out and look for solutions that align with your business needs (even if they aren’t the same ones everyone else is using).

How Much Technical Expertise Is There?

Once you’ve defined your requirements, it’s time to evaluate potential partners’ technical expertise. This is crucial because the proficiency of your network management partner directly influences your network’s performance, security, and reliability.

Review their track record and ask for case studies demonstrating their ability to manage networks like yours. Investigate their proficiency in dealing with both hardware and software components of a network. Ask about the team’s qualifications, certifications, and the types of projects they’ve previously handled.

You’ll also want to think about the experience they have with emerging technologies and their thoughts on new trends that are coming down the innovation pipeline. With artificial intelligence and cloud computing iterating so quickly, you need a partner that is prepared for the changes coming. 

Do They Offer Good Customer Service?

Good customer service shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury. It’s something that makes or breaks your relationship and experience with a network management solution provider.

A partner that actually prioritizes customer service is a partner who will ensure your business experiences minimal downtime. They’ll address issues quickly and deal with them thoroughly. They’ll also engage in regular communication about things like network performance and potential issues they see coming down the line. 

When evaluating customer service, pay especially close attention to the service level agreement (SLA) that the partner provides you in the contract. The SLA outlines the level of service you can expect, detailing aspects like response times, resolution times, and the availability of support.

Is There Room for Scaling?

The last thing you want to do is get stuck in a situation where you find a good provider, but you can’t scale with their solutions. Since every business has a goal of growing and improving, scalability is something you absolutely need in order to find a good long-term fit. 

When evaluating scalability, examine their use of cloud technologies. These solutions are instrumental for scalability. (And a partner with a strong cloud strategy can provide scalable solutions that adapt with your changing needs.)

It’s also nice to think about how the pricing structure aligns with scalability. Ideally, costs should scale proportionally with the growth of your network, ensuring that you only pay for what you use.

Is There Alignment With Business Objectives?

We led this discussion by talking about business objectives. So it makes sense to end the discussion with consideration of how well a provider is aligned with these goals. 

A reliable partner isn’t just going to do lip service to your needs and ambitions. They should have a thorough comprehension of the big-picture strategies you’re using and how they can align with them (rather than the other way around). In your discussions, ask them how they can support your goals. The answers will be telling.

Adding it All Up

With so many different solutions on the market, it’s up to you to do your due diligence and take the process of evaluating network management partners seriously. Your hard work and patience will pay off in the end.