ESG's Bob Laliberte and Mark Peters discuss connectivity and experience
Mark: So, Bob, I know I grabbed you the other day and said I wanted to do kind of a mid-year, I know we're already in September, but a mid-year update on what's going on in networking and then, believe it or not, I actually read one of your blogs the other day.
Bob: Fantastic. Thank you.
Mark: Obviously we'd like people to read the whole blog but in the essence, what were you trying to establish because it was way more than networking?
Bob: Yeah, so great question. We started the year and some of my blogs and thoughts were around this is really going to be the year that networking is a lot more relevant. And when you think about organizations and their ability, they're now connecting to the cloud environment, they're now distributing apps, right? The pendulum is swinging from consolidation to distributed. So the network is going to play a far greater role and as I thought about that and progressed over the year, it really comes down to two things, making sure that everyone is connected, so employees, customers, apps, devices, etc. They all have connectivity and ultimately, it's not about just making sure they're connected but ensuring that they have a good experience.
So a lot's talked about customer experience and we've seen in our research where I think it was one of the top three justifications. If I'm bringing in new IT equipment, I need it to be able to help me with security. I need it to help with employee productivity. I need it to help drive that customer satisfaction. So I look at that customer satisfaction and the employee productivity as all about that experience that you can deliver and I think the network is going to be critical to that. As you know, everyone from a commercial point of view looks at it from, "Hey, can I connect on my phone? Can I get a good experience on an application," and I think that's equally attributable to the enterprise. They want to ensure that everyone has a good experience when they connect to their system. And as we continue to swing that pendulum and more applications get distributed to further locations and remote locations, etc., it's going to be critical to ensure that they can maintain the same level of experience when accessing those. Same thing applies to the cloud.
Mark: When you talk about that connectivity experience, the connectivity, in many respects is really quantity and experience is quality. In writing the blog, in making this description and analysis, were you doing it to reflect something that you see happening or to propose something that should happen?
Bob: So, it's a good question. I think it's a combination of the both in that you're seeing more organizations place the emphasis on the experience and so then it's about how do we make that happen? The reality is there's a lot changing in the network environment today that will help get you to that stage and let me give you some examples of what I mean. The ability to go from manually configuring network devices to ensure that connectivity to being able to automate that configuration being one. So accelerating the time to make that connection. Another way is, from an experience standpoint, with AI/ML playing a bigger role, organizations are looking to how do I establish closed-loop environments that allow an organization to establish this is the service level, this is the level of experience I want organizations to have or my organization, my customers to have, and then that's closely monitoring and making continual adjustments to ensure that level is met.
Compare that to today. It's I establish the SLA on day 1. Something breaks. I'm alerted. There's a fire drill. We try to find the problem. We troubleshoot it. We eventually find it. We fix it. It goes on. So there's all that is trying to be removed by putting in some automation and some intelligence into the environment. So saying I understand this is the level of service you want to have delivered and I'm going to ensure that that happens on a continual automated basis. So there's technologies just starting to emerge that will make that day 1, I guess, request for service and ultimately experience applicable over, you know, all the days throughout the year.
Mark: All right. Well, thank you for raising this. I hope that others will go read the whole blog and continue talking to you because I'm sure this won't be the last time we hear this. Usually, I would thank you for watching but I think, in this case, I hope you had a good experience being connected to us.