How optimizing the business network could help you optimize your career

* Ensuring always-on WAN services could help your career aspirations

As recently as a few years ago, it was difficult to find a network organization that was concerned with application delivery but now it is top of mind for the vast majority of businesses. Because of this, we’ve written extensively on the topic and have discussed application delivery from myriad perspectives, including trying to make sense of how the key vendors compare and sorting through the relevant issues on the minds of IT organizations.

One perspective we’ve not previously discussed is the impact of application delivery on our careers. We believe the impact is a classic good news/bad news situation. To put the good news into perspective, we believe that it is often difficult for the networking organization to be seen as providing direct business benefit. OK, there is no doubt that the company could not function without the WAN, but it also could not function without electricity. That does not mean that the company’s senior business managers believe that electricity provides direct business benefit. They know they need it and they just expect it to be there. In many cases, the same thing applies to the WAN. The difference being that many senior business managers would rather have a conversation about electricity than about MPLS or other WAN technologies.

So what’s the good news? The good news is that while senior business managers are not interested in WAN technologies, they are interested in the performance of the few key applications that they use to run their business. This presents the network organization with the opportunity to show business value, and potentially bolster our careers, by demonstrating how we ensure that the company’s key business applications exhibit acceptable performance.

As mentioned, there is also bad news, ensuring acceptable application performance is extremely difficult. One of the reasons is because ensuring acceptable application performance requires the tight integration of multiple tasks. As explained in our Performance Management Mandate report, some of the tasks that must be integrated include planning, optimization, management and control. We will come back to the topic of integrating these tasks in our next newsletter.

As we said, ensuring acceptable application performance is not easy but we believe the effort is worth it for a number of reasons. We’d have better careers if we are perceived as adding and managing the functionality required to ensure the performance of the applications that the company uses to run their business than if we are perceived as merely managing commodity-like WAN services.

We would like to hear from you on the topic of how application delivery is impacting your job. One thing that we are particularly curious about is whether you are spending less time on classic networking issues such as fault management and more on issues of application performance and security.

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