Optical/IP Networks

BT: CIOs Need Smarter Network Tools

BT Global Services will unveil on Wednesday new ways for its enterprise customers to determine whether their network services are delivering to expectations and agreements, right down to the specific performance of individual applications.

In order to add "intelligence" to its network services -- and yes, this is yet the latest take on 'intelligent networks' -- BT is giving CIOs an updated customer portal with new tools. The idea is for those who use BT Connect services to be able to easily see, on a common dashboard, how those services are performing in support of not only internal apps but also external customer-facing services, such as websites.

BT sales engineers can also use the new Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) tools to show future service options, looking years into the future, based on any customer's needs and criteria such as security, network performance and operational integration.

These kinds of easy-to-use performance monitoring tools become more important as network services become the delivery pipes for apps and content delivered from the cloud.

BT, which is making the customer portal iPad friendly, wants to make it easier for CIOs and IT directors to make decisions about their network services by pulling together the appropriate data into a single view.

"We will be able to show them how well their networks are performing, [in order] to serve their employees or customers, in terms of management applications performance," says Neil Sutton, VP, Global Portfolio, BT Global Services.

The enhancements include:

  • An improved customer portal for managing WAN, LAN and other networks from a PC or mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet

  • A unified dashboard that shows how the BT Connect applications are working in a single view, whether those are internal apps or external features such as Web performance

  • New BT Connect applications that show indicators such as end-user Web experience or that track what's running on a network in an effort to help resolve IT problems faster and so lower IT management costs

  • A new tool called BT Connect IQ evaluator, which enables CIOs to plan ahead more efficiently by benchmarking current performance and then tweaking network solutions to match business strategies. The tool delivers a "Network IQ Roadmap" that shows how the network evolves and identifies any discrepancies between what the business needs and what it's going to get.

Tools like these are among the primary ways that global service providers are trying to differentiate themselves in selling network services.

David Molony, principal analyst at Ovum Enterprise Telecoms, asserts (in a white paper being distributed by BT) that it's all about trying to make the CIO's job easier, given the constant pressure to reduce costs and continually make operations more efficient while, at the same time, supporting new and more apps and greater volumes of data traffic.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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