Network Management : Fighting the Downturn

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

In any organization, connectivity and robust networks act as the linchpins of

a nimble IT set up. Also, a robust network plays an extensive role in the

success of cost-control and business-resilience oriented data center

consolidation and virtualization strategy.


Where enterprises are feeling the heat of today's economic uncertainties,

there is a need to adopt strategies that support business patterns in more

efficient ways. Nowadays, enterprises observe IT as a service and not as an

internal support function. Scalability, integration at various levels, and multi

vendor devices are key areas that companies are looking at.

The network management services furnish a viable and secure architecture for

upbeat remote network monitoring and management of storage networks. And over

the years, its role has grown from providing basic uptime services to providing

integrated service with more emphasis on applications response management.


Interestingly, though the technology bigwigs have stiffened their

pocketbooks, they cannot overlook the need of investing in technologies that

will ensure better returns by improving efficiencies and effectiveness.

With every passing day, there is an appearance of new networking technologies

and newer applications, which are ultimately driving organizations to deploy

networks of a scale and complexity never seen before. Industry analysis show

that there is growing pressure of reducing costs in organizations, and they are

searching for ground-breaking ways of managing networks.

However, surfacing of new technologies also creates a scenario of overlaying

legacy systems. It is crucial to manage network superiority and simultaneously

provide the same level of satisfaction to the consumer. Surviving a downturn

requires companies to go for technologies that best suit their business needs.


Experts believe that enterprises can gain substantial value by entering into

pure process deals instead of a device or man-hour based deal. If companies are

finding it tough to manage their networks, outsourcing services may just be the

right thing.

As per a recent report by Research and Markets, continuously increasing

network traffic, shortage of skilled workers and need to focus on core

activities are the primary drivers of network management services. Factors such

as increased penetration of broadband, increased online collaborations,

e-commerce, and globalization are also driving the demand for these services.

Estimates suggest that currently the telecom industry is spending around $40

bn on telecom operation management systems out of which the share of network

management was over $7 bn in 2007. Other verticals that are major contributors

to this sector are BFSI, banking, finance, securities, investment and insurance.

Experts panel

Alamuri Sitaramaiah, GM, sales, Fluke Networks

Gowri Krishna
, VP, network design & engineering, Tech Mahindra

Gurpreet Singh Kohli, head, gobal networks practice, HCL Comnet

P Balaji, VP, marketing & strategy, Ericsson India

Sudhir Narang
, MD, BT India

Sanjay Vig
, CEO, Orange Business Services

Sanjay Virnave
, president, sales, Tulip Telecom

Peter Chai
, vice president & GM, Asia Pacific, 3 Com

Prasad Babu
, director marketing/service provider, Juniper Networks

Engineering Vogue

Banking on new engineering and ever-changing business needs, the sector is

steering toward highly integrated management solution sets with insistence on

proactive rather than reactive approach. This would enable customers to deploy

and manage networks based on policies, and also move toward demand computing.

Driving growth for the network management sector will be considerations

lowering and optimizing management costs, offering next generation services,

improving end-user experience of IT and competitive advantage. In addition, more

outsourcing of services will surely help lower costs by aggregating volumes. And

with remote infrastructure management services being offered, the country is

well placed to achieve a high growth rate in 2009.


However, the service provider's challenge would be the consolidation and

better control of a network in order to justify the quick RoI. After all, no

operator would want to take a shot at long term returns in the present stringent


CTO/CIO Concerns
  • IT resource scalability and energy efficient equipment
  • Adoption of pay-per-use models
  • Disaster recovery and business resilience
  • End-user application experience and application reliability &

  • Manageability and control over the network infrastructure
  • Usage control and charge-back of network resources
  • Identification of right balance between people, process, tools,

    technology and compliance
  • Accessing latest technology to boost firm's competitiveness
  • Controlling wire line and wireless expense

Some technologies that have made an impression in the market are unified

communications, collaboration, telepresence, performance assurance, routing and

switching management, end point security, multimedia technologies like content

delivery and digital signage, application acceleration/WAN optimization for

improving application response time and reducing bandwidth on WAN links.


In the last few years, the business trends have been outsourcing network

management partially or fully and focus on other value added services. This is

creating new opportunities in network management such as network and application

lifecycle management, end-to-end customer service management, implementation of

process and systems to view the end-to-end network, network management via

remote support system, etc.

If we analyze, outsourcing management services can take place in two ways-on

site and remotely. And to leverage both these options, service providers need to

provide customized business solutions in order to meet customer prerequisites.

Issues in the Long Run

Like the global market, network management systems are largely outsourced in

India. Conventionally, it has not been a focus area as it requires heaps of home

grown and canonical technologies. Also, the inherent price sensitivity of the

Indian market is another area which needs to be dealt with.


However, with the maturity of the market, rising competition, and a focus on

subscriber retention, various players are increasingly realizing the magnitude

of this area. And the practice of working with bare minimum investment is

expected to diminish. From the current market perspective, end-to-end systems

integration and hosted network management services offerings can become very

successful business models in India.

Carrier's network infrastructure represents between a third and half of their

operating costs, so companies spend a lot of time and effort reducing the burden

to release cash quickly. But with traditional cost cutting remedies, carriers

often struggle to balance speed of cost reduction with the retention of critical

business capabilities and future sources of value.

Furthermore, there is an increasing focus on areas that are service centric

such as service assurance or service fulfillment. Increasingly the focus for

network management is shifting from pure 'network management' to more and more

of delivering a complete end-to-end service experience aptly titled 'service

fulfillment'. However, in India this is evolving .

There would be an increased focus on the CIO to ensure the business is

connected and serving the needs of all stakeholders. The growing SME segment

also provides immense opportunity for this sector to flourish. As a result of

the economic downturn, more customers are looking to further reduce costs

through business process improvements and creating new opportunities for network

management services. However, utmost care should be taken by service providers

to furnish customized and centralized solutions.

Jatinder Singh