40% of the network issues experienced by users are not seen by the network team. This is a shocking statistic for anyone who has not walked into the shoes of a network engineer lately. Sadly this is the case for a good part of the IT leadership and all the business leadership. After all “the network is supposed to just work, the cool stuff happens in the applications space, maybe we get excited about Cloud and IOT”. All the while the networking team budget is going down while the demands on the team are increasing.
Yes, the number is high but it is not totally surprising for anyone who walked in the shoes of a network engineer as of late.
First, let us set the record straight: The network engineers are some of the most talented and experienced engineers in your IT organization. They are managing a complex environment while being seriously understaffed and they support all the other teams who receive the Innovator of the Month awards. Whenever there is a problem with a service or an app, more often than not, the network engineer brings the various teams together and she is the one leading the troubleshooting effort.
Regardless how good they are, they have a lot to contend with:
– Lack of resources – No time to deal with all the problems related to Run The Business let alone the work on Improving the Business
– Complexity – The environment is more and more complex with overlay on top of overlay, new technology on top of new technology and changing service delivery models
– Lack of Actionable Visibility – In a mid size enterprise the network team might be running 10-20 monitoring tools, most of the disjoint and many open source with its inherent shortcomings (the later due to budget limitations and of course, curiosity)
It is not that the networking team cannot fix these issues, most often they just need resources to manage the table stakes and plan the future, chose the best design options for the new technologies, get the tools they need and integrate them into a comprehensive system.
If you are an IT decision maker reading this, consider giving your networking team a breather and message to them the fact that they should use it to plan well, get the right tools and focus on the right metrics. The key metric of their individual performance should no longer be the number and impact of the “diving catches” but rather making the scary 40% go away.