Feature Article

September 07, 2011

ITEXPO: Changes in Consumer Market Enhance Need for Network Performance Management Strategies: SevOne Exec

Consumers' insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets and other bandwidth-hungry portable devices has put a great amount of stress on networks, forcing service providers and enterprises to make major technology upgrades to keep pace.

This transition has created new opportunities for other players in the space, including network performance management solutions providers that help MSPs, enterprises and governments keep these complex networks running at full capacity.

With ITEXPO West 2011 less than a week away, TMC CEO Rich Tehrani reached out Mike Miracle, CMO and SVP Product Marketing at network performance management specialist SevOne, Inc., to get a more complete picture of this thriving industry.

Miracle says that the consumerization of IT and the explosive growth of mobile data are disruptive forces that are driving new IT investments in today's market. To compete, operators and MSPs are upgrading to next-generation network solutions and VoIP technologies. The ever-increasing reliance on high-performance networks and cloud technologies has created new performance management challenges that require proactive monitoring and real-time troubleshooting, he told Tehrani.

This is a specialty of SevOne, maker of an all-in-one solution capable of monitoring IP Telephony, 4G LTE, IMS, and Ethernet services, as well as routers, switches and firewalls, according to Miracle.

After catching up on the network performance monitoring business, Miracle touched on his company's reliance on social media and the future of Google+, a platform that he believes can "dominate" if it becomes a one-stop shop for marketing.

The two also talked about the keys to managing the transition to a mobile workforce, a trend that has exploded in recent years. Miracle believes that the main barriers to widespread adoption of this model are "the lack of visibility and understanding of usage and performance levels."

Miracle and the rest of the SevOne team will be on hand at ITEXPO West 2011 – set to kick off on Sept. 13 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas – at booth 1513 to talk to service providers and enterprise IT teams about the benefits of network performance management.

The complete interview can be found below.

How has your market segment evolved over the past year and what trends have fueled those changes?

Mobile data are exploding, driven by the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and consumer behaviors, and it is spilling over to enterprise networks. The associated new technology upgrades and convergence-oriented projects are changing the way organizations manage the delivery of key business services. New levels of performance visibility and reporting are required to provide more effective performance management and service delivery assurance, and reduce new project risks.

What do you see as the next disruptive force in technology and how will it impact your market or business?

Mobile data growth is the most disruptive force, and the associated consumerization of IT, driving new investments. Wireless network operators will need to compete on service delivery levels, and accelerate their cell site upgrades to 4G LTE, optimize traffic offload via backhaul services, and meet service levels while reducing customer churn. 

Enterprises and MSPs are upgrading and broadening their operations for VoIP and video convergence, and for better cost allocation. The good news for SevOne is the need for better network performance management systems at a scale and price point that the incumbent vendors are not able to provide.

How has the acceptance and adoption of the cloud model influenced your development cycle and process?

The cloud, or previously the SaaS model, requires rapid, agile development and evolution cycles with the ability to scale services. This brings new performance management challenges, including a wider range of data collection points, the need for proactive monitoring and real-time troubleshooting to ensure service levels. 

We designed our product to have a plug-in architecture to enable rapid support of new devices and data sources, and our peer-to-peer architecture to enable linear scaling to support the world’s largest networks. We deliver our solution on physical or virtual appliances, or from the cloud for rapid deployment.

What is the most common request you are seeing from your customers? How is your company addressing these demands?

Our most common request is to consolidate additional IT management services onto our performance management system, given the speed, scale and flexibility of our platform.  The underlying requirement from our customers is to have unified and consistent processes and workflows for proactive monitoring, troubleshooting and planning across their entire IT infrastructure.

That led us to develop the industry’s broadest range of data collection sources beyond everything network, including for virtual infrastructure, call managers, and importing bulk performance statistics from other management systems. Our all-in-one solution can monitor IP Telephony, 4G LTE, IMS, and Ethernet services, and Avaya CM or Cisco UCS, in the same system that monitors your routers, switches and firewalls.

How is the continued growth of social media changing service and product development strategies?

Social media has enabled us to greatly expand our market reach and brand awareness, and connect with prospects worldwide. For our customers, we are able to reach them more broadly to update them on our new capabilities and expand our scope with them. Finally, rapid dissemination and collection of information via social media channels helps us to design better products and service offerings.

Will Google+ become bigger than Facebook and Twitter? Why or why not?

The power and reach of the entire Google platform and tools for inbound marketing are well known. If Google+ becomes the one place I can go to interface with all other outbound marketing tools, and in a way that I can segment and target specific audiences, it will dominate.

As businesses continue their move toward virtual workforces, how are you meeting the need for increased mobility?  What barriers are keeping others from adopting mobile strategies?

Mobility and its associated workforce behaviors is ingrained in our society now and absolutely driving changes in enterprise and service provider IT requirements. We are able to interact and transact on the fly and be productive from almost anywhere, anytime, although not yet with a consistent user interface. 

These changes in IT usage patterns need to be tracked and understood, so we keep one year of granular raw performance metrics to use in baselining normal usage. It has also driven us to focus more on cloud and managed service providers as customers and partners. The key barriers we see to adoption are the lack of visibility and understanding of usage and performance levels, such that timely actions can be taken and ultimately automated.

How do you see the mobile operating system war (iPhone vs. Android vs. RIM vs. WM7) playing out?

The trends are pretty clear that it is a two horse race, but there are always wild cards like patent portfolio strategies or unforeseen events like acquisitions or perhaps a killer HTML5 application.

Is HTML5 the game changer many predict it will be?

Everything I read for years says that HTML5 is a game changer, but that looks more likely now with the explosion of smartphones and tablets, since it will enable a consistent and richer user experience on any device.  For SevOne, our user interface has always been Web 2.0 based, and we are enriching it with HTML5 tags and javascript.

What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO West in Austin? What do you see as being the biggest trends at the show?

This is our first time for ITEXPO / MSPWorld / 4GWE, so we are excited to be a part of all of the collocated events, especially with our new IP Telephony and LTE and Ethernet backhaul solutions. Personally, I haven’t been to Austin in years, so I am also looking forward to the conference festivities and meeting all of the TMC staff.

Mobility and convergence are the biggest trends for the show, as evidenced by all the collocated events at ITEXPO.

Who should visit your booth at ITEXPO and why?

Service providers or enterprise IT operations staff that are planning or rolling out new projects like IP Telephony or Ethernet backhaul, or deploying cloud infrastructure, should stop by the booth 1513 and learn how to apply effective performance management and best practices to get complete and immediate performance visibility. 

Further, they can learn about the key benefits that MSPs like ACS (a Xerox Company) and CSC get from their SevOne deployments, including fast time to value, operational efficiency improvements, improved cost structure, and flexible customer portals.

To find out more about SEVONE, visit the company at ITEXPO West 2011. To be held Sept. 13-15 in Austin, TX, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. Visit SEVONE in booth #1513. Don’t wait. Register now. 

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Beecher Tuttle is a MobilityTechzone contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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