5 Tips for Selecting a Network Management Solution

Network Monitoring

Paul Mercina January 09, 2020

It may be challenging to set aside the window to make the change, but the most productive people do so because they know it will have an exponential impact on their performance.

If it were possible to never again shop for new enterprise software, there would be sighs of relief from nearly every CIO, data center manager, and network administrator around the globe—at least from anyone who has been through the process before.

Yes, we all want new features to make our jobs easier, but comparing options and performing due diligence on various providers is stressful. In many cases, IT organizations find it so difficult to set aside the time required, they will stick with a product that’s “just okay” for far longer than they should.

That’s a shame, because the pace of technological development means there are powerful solutions out there that can enhance and streamline IT functions (ahem, Entuity Network Analytics, ahem). And if you want to take advantage of them to help propel digital transformation, it’s necessary to tackle the product selection process. Here’s how:

1. Focus on the end goal

Productivity expert Rory Vaden talks about how to multiply time, even though there are only 24 hours in a day. If you can invest the effort to automate, streamline, or improve a process today and thereby reduce the time it takes tomorrow, you win big over the long run.

It may be challenging to set aside the window to make the change, but the most productive people do so because they know it will have an exponential impact on their performance. And in the case of network analytics solutions, on the performance of the entire team! So imagine what’s in it for you and your organization, and then put the search for new enterprise network management software on your calendar.

2. Develop your wish list

You’ve been complaining about the existing software’s shortcomings and daydreaming about what a better solution could do. Don’t leave those specifications in Never-Neverland—write them down. What would your dream network analytics product do? What features would it have? What pain points would it address? How would information be presented? And so on.

Be sure to skip the editing process for now. Think big and include everything from network topology mapping to network path monitoring.

Also include your team. What’s on their wish lists? You may be surprised to find out how important network mapping, network fault management, or other specification may be to different individuals.

3. Shop the Market

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s time for the wish list to meet reality. When researching the options, ask questions like:

  • What are the product’s features?
  • How well do they fit your team’s wish list?
  • Where there are mismatches, are the missing elements essential functions or “nice to have” extras?
  • What are the product reviews saying?

Most organizations will perform a cost-benefit analysis here to arrive at a short list of potential solutions that best fit their wish list and the budget.

4. Take a Test Drive

Shopping for network analytics software is like buying a car, so don’t drive it off the lot (so to speak) without taking it for a test drive! With a short list of preferred solutions in hand, you can schedule product demos or short-term trials with each company and really get a feel for how the software works.

For example, do you have to dig through screen after screen of data to find the details you need many times per day? Will it scale alongside your organization? Are there manual workarounds required to make the tool do what you want it to do, now and in the future? And how customizable are its dynamic dashboards and reporting capabilities?

5. Ask About Support

It’s easy to fall in love with a particular piece of software, only to suffer a disastrous implementation because the company’s support just isn’t there. That’s why you must know at the outset what will happen if and when you encounter a question or problem. Will you be dependent on an online forum or will the vendor truly have your back?

Personalized assistance can make a big difference in realizing the full value of your investment, so make sure the company is prepared to help throughout the integration process and beyond. That should include training resources for team members who will use the product, as well as a long-term commitment to direct customer service.

After all, installing new software is one thing; integrating it into the team’s workload is far more difficult—and you and your team may need assistance at many points along this journey.

An Easy First Step

If you’re reading this article because you’re in the midst of a “solutions hunt” for your network team, let us help you! Entuity Network Analytics is the most powerful and seamless product on the market (did we mention it powers our enterprise network management services?). We’d be happy to walk you through its capabilities and answer all of your questions about features, customizability, support, and more. Just contact us when you’re ready.

About the Author

Paul Mercina, Director, Product Management Marketing
Paul Mercina brings over 20 years of experience in IT center project management to Park Place Technologies, where he oversees the product roadmap, growing the services portfolio, end-to-end development and release of new services to the market. His work is informed by 10+ years at Diebold Nixdorf, where he worked closely with software development teams to introduce new service design, supporting implementation of direct operations in a number of countries across the Americas, Asia and Europe.