Proactive Tools Help Reduce the Complexity of Today's Communications Technology

As the tale of the three clouds continues to unfold through 2013, I want to bring your attention to another of the seven 2013 communications trends that will play prominently throughout the year. Machine to machine communications, using embedded diagnostics, are just now beginning to play a critical role in the growing complexity of communications technology.

In the recent Avaya white paper “Seven communications trends for 2013,” the fifth trend was “communications support goes proactive.” It goes on to say, “Businesses that invest in communications solutions and underlying support services are more interested in avoiding problems than having them solved. Yet for a variety of reasons, reactive problem solving has been the industry’s support model over time — until now.”

“Encouragingly, the tools to deliver proactive, problem-preventing support are available and robust today. Capitalizing on them will require a shift in mindset by both service providers and their clients. Service providers will work harder to understand clients’ environments and engage with them and service-delivery partners to improve performance and reliability. Clients will overcome security concerns and open up their environments to provide vendors with real-time access. As machine-to-machine communications increasingly replace human interactions to maintain uptime and resolve problems, businesses will evaluate the nature of their in-house IT support organizations and explore ways to reduce unnecessary activities and costs.”

Diagnostics are playing a key role in the management of ever complex systems, says the TSIA. According to a recent TSIA State of the Machine 2012 report, “Embedded diagnostics are a form of remote and proactive support, in which rules or triggers in the customer system automatically create a support incident when a problem occurs, ideally allowing the support center to resolve the issue before the customer ever knows there is a problem.”

As for annual spending, the TSIA report states “only 40% of support and field services members currently use any form of proactive support or remote diagnostics. However, planned spending is high…… not only is there increased interest in this technology area due to the ROI factor (incident resolved faster with less customer impact), but as more companies introduce managed service offerings, remote diagnostics become a must-have feature.”

Mike Runda, in his recent white paper Communications services: Challenging the status quo is seeing the same strong interest among clients. “The growing complexity of communications technology increases the need for advanced diagnostics. Technology stacks are getting thicker and more often include elements from different suppliers. Organizations will need better diagnostic tools and techniques to stay up and running and respond to outages quickly in these multivendor environments. Any deployment of new technology will include aggressive goals for return on investment, including the mitigations of ongoing support and management expenses, including both hard and soft costs.”

Service providers with advanced capabilities and clear vision will be best qualified to serve the needs of clients. As Mike Runda states in his aforementioned white paper, “When a problem arises, a service provider with advanced capabilities and clear visibility into the client environment can rapidly run a series of diagnostic checks, which may reveal that the problem isn’t with an application as suspected, but was triggered by the network. And, by the way, the diagnostics may reveal other hidden issues that need to be resolved, as well.”

What proactive steps are you taking to ensure that you deal with the increasingly complex communications environment? Are you seeing an uptick in the use of embedded diagnostics to proactively avoid problems?

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