"That means taking one network management console and managing not only just the flow of data bits and bytes, but managing the VPN service, the WAN optimization tool and other things in the network," Silva says. "You want to consolidate your different management interfaces and consoles into one virtual single pane of glass management, where everything is on one screen."
And don't forget about what you already have in place. It doesn't make sense to invest in more technology if you're not maximizing the value of the investments you have already made, Silva says. For example, you may have spent a lot on a wireless network and mobility technology, but if the network hasn't been configured properly to use the technology, you're wasting money. If built correctly, the network can probably support technologies like voice over wireless LAN or VoIP, for example.
"Most often, you can squeeze more value from what you already have by using the same infrastructure with different overlay technologies to get more return on the investment that's already been made," he says. "So in addition to serving data, that $200,000 investment in a wireless LAN can also work toward cutting down the monthly cellular bills of an organization because that network can also support voice. And the same template can be applied for supporting things like video, using the WLAN for asset or employee tracking and presence-enabling unified communications systems."
And examine the vendors and technologies you are using for best value. If, for example, you have relied on Cisco Systems to develop your entire network, expenses could get very high very quickly. "There are a lot of different ways to build a network, and there are a lot of different options. They are all worth exploring," Fetterolf says. And once you have done that, don't be shy about pitting vendors against each other, he adds.
Finally, it can also make sense to look beyond the four walls of your organization for cost savings. Outsourcing network management, for example, can save significant money in some cases. In a recent study, Aberdeen Group found that organizations that outsourced network management reported an average savings of 26 percent as compared with previous spending.
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