When a network infrastructure upgrade is properly planned and managed, organizations put themselves in a position to better serve their customers and avoid the consequences of business interruption.
Your network performance could almost always be improved—although the areas that need improving depend on your organization, your business needs and how long your network infrastructure has been in place.
It is impossible to do everything at once, of course, but any successful network infrastructure upgrade begins by setting the right priorities.
Network infrastructure assessment: optimize the customer experience
When choosing the parts of your network to prioritize, keep the customer in mind.
Consider the operational issues in your existing network that cause friction for customers and employees. Some of your tools might be outdated tools and need upgrading or replacing. An area of your network might be underperforming and falling short of business needs.
Other upgrades could help your organization innovate products and services or improve productivity and collaboration to exceed customer expectations. A contact center that has historically fielded phone calls, for example, might upgrade to let customers navigate a self-service menu or chat with an agent by SMS.
Close consultation with stakeholders across the business will help you rank your priorities.
Check existing connectivity and assess alternatives
Improving your customer experience can directly contribute to company growth, so you will need to figure out how your infrastructure and service deployment models will help your organization scale in line with its goals.
A cloud services platform, for example, will help ensure that you can adjust compute resources based on changes in demand. Moving to virtual network services and SD WAN will offer similar benefits in on-demand provisioning, and it could also reduce downtime. It is also worth considering how a hybrid network could offer the advantages of multi-protocol label switching with the cost advantages of local internet access.
Think through how far your organization might expand into new markets, add branch offices or support remote work. This will help you determine where you need to offer wireless connections and where your connections will need to be wired end to end. Evaluate technologies—such as an on-site distributed antenna system network, which can play a role in extending connectivity—depending on your needs.
Design a network infrastructure plan with clear deliverables
During a network infrastructure upgrade, it is critical to keep the project on track to avoid continuity disruptions. Before you put anything into action, map out the technologies you have selected based on your customer experience expectations and assign deployment dates. You can base this schedule on your budget, available IT resources or risks to business continuity or security.
Creating these milestones does more than merely break up a network overhaul into manageable chunks. It helps you periodically evaluate your key performance indicators (KPIs) and generate a return on investment (ROI) along the way. As you upgrade your on-site network to 5G, for instance, you can see how reduced latency and increased speed could improve workplace productivity.
Connecting KPIs and ROI will require increased visibility into your application services and access to advanced analytics. That is why many organizations move to a next-generation wireless network with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities when they roll out a network infrastructure upgrade.
Your milestones will include performance enhancements, but they should include improved protection of IT infrastructure and corporate assets, too. LTE connectivity into a private IP can help here, and so can network security services delivered through the cloud. Complement these technologies with zero trust, identify-focused security policies.
A trusted partner can help you before and during a network infrastructure upgrade
There is no need to draw a network upgrade blueprint out of thin air. Talk to your carrier about its own transformation journey and what it learned from bringing advanced technologies like 5G to market and consider how that could inform your deployment plans.
Beyond offering technology products and services, the right partner can contribute expertise and help you avoid costly pitfalls during a network infrastructure upgrade. That knowledge can help you complete your network overhaul on time and on budget—and improve the customer experience, too.
Talk to Verizon about how our managed network services can assist your next upgrade.
The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.