3 Standard Ways to Proactively Manage Peak Performance

Pat Patterson, Senior Director of Marketing, Avaya

Pat Patterson, Senior Director of Marketing, Avaya

A brief snapshot of the current state of technology in 2016: 3.5 billion people are online and collectively their traffic is measured in zettabytes. 3.4 billion new devices are expected to be sold—joining what Gartner estimates will be 6.4 billion Internet-connected “things” in use this year, and 20.8 billion in use by 2020.

It’s a similar, albeit smaller-scale, story of technology growth inside the enterprise, where cloud applications, mobile solutions, smaller IT teams and “sweated” assets are major factors for IT managers trying to keep up with their organization’s insatiable technology demands. Above all, keeping the network running smoothly is crucial.

Outages are expensive, and lead to the loss of precious productivity. Researchers at Ponemon recently estimated the average cost of a data center outage has grown from $505,502 in 2010 to $740,357 today, a roughly 46 percent increase.

Avoidable outages aren’t just bad for business—they’re bad for individual careers. A 2014 Avaya survey of mid- to large-sized companies in the U.S., U.K. and Canada showed that 20 percent of companies fired at least one IT employee as a result of network downtime. For some industries, where uptime is essential, 33 percent of companies fired an IT employee following a network outage.

That same survey found that 82 percent of companies experienced some kind of network downtown caused by IT staff making errors while configuring changes to the network’s core.

Outages can also occur when IT leaders fail to take the time to think strategically. Consider the top 4 causes of communication outages, and whether your company is prepared for them:

• Power outages: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units are essential to keeping systems operating through lightning strikes, storms and other power disruptions.
• Lack of routine maintenance: Poorly-tended systems can fail from lack of proper care.
• Hardware failure: Old equipment may chug along today, but it won’t forever.
• Software bugs or corruption: Keeping your systems up to date can alleviate a large percentage of outages.

Is your network running optimally? If your answer is “I’m not sure,” take steps today to proactively prevent future outages. That way, the company can move away from constantly reacting to problems, and toward a new model of taking preventative measures to minimize downtown.

One way to get on a more proactive support footing—while not slowing down current operations—is to reach out for expert help. Managed service providers and professional service organizations stay up-to-date on best practices and can help identify potential problem areas before an outage. Here at Avaya, we offer the Risk Management Program to help customers with Avaya solutions develop and maintain proactive solution management and tighter integration with support services.

Alternately, moving to a managed cloud services model moves nearly all of the responsibility for uptime to the cloud provider.

Here are three new standards to consider when moving to a more proactive management and support process with your partner:

• Configuration change process that consider the latest product, hardware, software and firmware, as well as product integration compatibilities and best practices for the implementation of solution technologies.
Product update and upgrade processes that document the steps for modifying systems and solution components, balancing current business needs and system requirements.
New product introduction process that implement a regularly-executed testing cycle for certifying new hardware, software and firmware as released for solution components. Once a particular cycle of testing and certification is complete, a new “client gold standard” is released that replaces the previous production standard. This process should include a preproduction lab environment.

Key questions:

•    Which mode dominates your work day? Proactive? Reactive? Preventive?
•    How is your proactive plan going?
•    What are the roles of your key support team members?
•    When was the last time that you met with your managed services team?

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