How to get network data analytics that really helps your team


How to begin with network analytics? Ask strategic questions

Companies need a strategy for network data analytics, and they need it now.

Networks are more complex than ever, and the types and amount of data flowing through them are too. That's not news -- nor is the fact that analytics delivers clarity on issues crucial to network operations. What's new are the varied capabilities of the latest tools that perform network data analytics.

Network data analytics unveils a wealth of information. It reveals how a network is functioning so that networking pros know how to improve network services. Gathering the right data and analyzing it in the most useful way is a complicated job for network pros. The increasingly crowded analytics tool market complicates matters further. There are established categories of tools, like application performance management products. Newer ones gather data on specifics, like digital experience, or employ AI and other advanced technology. The goal of all these tools is all the same: get the information needed to improve network operations. But what specific information does a particular network pro need?

To answer that question, a network team must have a strategy. Otherwise, it's too easy to waste time, energy and a lot of money. That means asking the right questions. What data sources are there to analyze -- web apps, IoT, something else? What are the biggest problems in the network now? Are changes anticipated that could create new issues? Where does cloud fit in to the network? What tools are already in use, and what aspects of data analytics can't they handle? Have vendors added new capabilities to the products you use -- e.g., AI, machine learning -- that warrant an upgrade?

These are just examples. The right questions are unique to each industry and enterprise. But if you ask the right ones, you'll be on your way to devising a solid network data analytics strategy, one that identifies the most useful tools.