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Beware – the learner drivers of the network world

Learner drivers of network world

The enterprise network is the fundamental backbone of your business. Internet access, e-mail communication, phone calls, office applications and business systems all crucially rely on your business network. Servers, desktops, phones, cloud and storage all communicate through the network, so the importance of the network cannot be understated. For something so critical, why is this key element often overlooked by many enterprises?

The supercars and bangers

At MTG, we spend a lot of time on-site, whether that be with our customers or prospects. As you would expect with an IT company, a lot of that time is spent in the server room or working with their network. You would be surprised by how many IT Firms have little or no real knowledge of enterprise networks.

With new engagements, this is what we typically see:

  1. A network built with a budget brand, poorly configured or straight out of the box
  2. A network built with gold-plated enterprise kit, poorly configured or straight out of the box
  3. A network built with fit-for-purpose equipment, readily maintained, under maintenance and skillfully configured. Spares readily available.

The difference? Well, about £15k. Functionality wise? Nothing. Well, nothing in its current state.

I like analogies. You want to drive to the office faster. So your chauffeur(!) convinces you that you need a BMW i8. This is the newest hybrid supercar; super efficient, fast, and gadget laden. It has fancy electronics, bluetooth and all kinds of gadgetry. It is better than a Ford, it has to be – it is 4x the price! You need one, without it – your business will suffer, you will be late.. Your chauffeur tells you.

You part with your cash and purchase said car. The problem is, the Chauffeur cannot drive 100mph. He does not understand the gadgets and electronic wizardry. He didn’t opt for breakdown assistance, and even if he did – the parts take days to come! A common situation.

A friend works for another company, he is more frugal. He purchases a modest French vehicle, 45mpg and you can drive it to work at 30mph. It has gadgets that consist of a tape deck, radio and rear wiper. If it breaks, you don’t fix it – you buy another. It does the job. It will never be high performance or fast, it may last years, it may not. This is acceptable for many businesses, less so in the modern world.

No one got sacked for buying {vendor}

The first example is something we see so, so often. The enterprise invests in expensive Cisco or Juniper equipment. The promise and allure of the features and performance is too much – a safe bet for your typical IT manager. In the majority of cases – it is unboxed, nervously configured (if at all), and installed. It works. People are not aware of the neglected network foundations that underpins the core of their business. This is the BMW example. In many cases, where the configuration is outsourced, the experts sell the kit, follow the same steps and.. run away. (granted – not in every case).

The truth is, the Cisco, Huawei, HP or Juniper Network (think BMW) can deliver value and higher levels of performance, if the technology is understood and managed correctly. This is something we see so lacking in the Enterprise IT market, that understanding, of the technology and how this relates to your business.

You then turn to Service and Support (think your garage).

How many of these big name vendors can genuinely provide same-day support in your area, be it on the Isle of Man or in the UK? You’ve now forked out £15k on a state of the art network platform, albeit poorly configured and with poor support. Spares are not readily available and expert technical insight is not forthcoming. Let us speak to the vendor they say. Not great.

Horses for courses

Much like cars, there is an element of snobbery when it comes to networking. Your 1.1 litre French car will happily get you to work at 30mph, in the same way a BMW could get you there at 100mph.  This is fine. The problem comes when you want to travel fast, invest the money – but still travel at 30mph. You want high capacity, but rather than an estate you opt for a Smart Car. You are happy to travel at 30mph, but spend £15k on a solution that goes 100mph!

The disparity in the vehicular world rings true in the network world. An unconfigured leading vendor network is like driving a supercar in 1st gear, even worse;  a misconfigured network is like driving a supercar with dodgy tracking, flat tyres, steering from the back seat and it comes with no warranty.

Take your network for a service

If you already own or have inherited a Supercar network (and don’t know how to drive) or you feel your business currently has a banger(!) – speak to MTG. Our team can help your business get the most from your network, improve support, replace it with a more suitable solution or advise you of the options.  We work with all the big names – Cisco, Juniper, Huawei, HP and Dell.  Our broad experience enable us to work across all network vendors with ease.

Our team have over 15 years experience working with both enterprise and service provider networks. Give us a call on 01624 640400 or e-mail to find out more.


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Joe Hughes is the CEO of Manx Technology Group. Joe has a background in software development, information security, networks, datacentres and enterprise IT.
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