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It’s easy to imagine how network monitoring tool sprawl can quickly become an out-of-control situation. Adding or changing out tools is essential to keeping pace with the ever-changing technological needs and advancements in enterprise network monitoring and management. The constant threats of cybersecurity, avoiding costly downtime, and improving the customer experience looms over the heads of every IT professional saddled with the upkeep of the network.

But how does this all contribute to the rampant challenge of avoiding network tool sprawl? Well, it doesn’t. In fact, according to the latest EMA Network Management Megatrends survey, more than half of network operations teams rely on between four and 10 tools. This strategy (or lack thereof) can not only eat up valuable IT budget but also proves to be a hindrance to the productivity of the IT staff.

Considering the fast-paced needs of the business, how does one escape the pitfalls of siloed tools and platforms? Let’s explore how to avoid network monitoring tool sprawl.

Why is Tool Sprawl a Problem?

How does an IT team become saddled with excessive and disparate tools? There are several ways that this can happen (and become completely out of hand). Perhaps a new administrator is brought onto the team that prefers specific tools. The market is flooded with emerging technologies and it can be sorely tempting to test out free or open-source platforms. Additionally, an antiquated infrastructure can create visibility gaps and more – how does one solve a completely out-of-date system? By adding more and more tools to do the job that could be done by one.

Tool sprawl complexity angerUnfortunately, whatever the reason may be, the facts of the matter remain the same. As tools are added, more operational complexity, costs, and management increase as well. Administrators are tasked with swapping between dashboards, reports, and alerts – creating unnecessary stressors on the team (and complexity) to the network and those in charge of maintaining it.

Avoiding Quick-Fixes

One must attempt to avoid relying on picking up a new tool or two when looking to solve specific use cases. While it may seem like a good idea in a pinch, ultimately the additional layer of complexity does not satisfy the bottom line. For example, if a team had insufficient visualization or analytics capabilities troubleshooting or trying to capture the appropriate packet data may prove fruitless. This results in the company adding an additional tool instead of looking at the actual problem in the above scenario – the lack of proper visualization. Now the IT team must not only integrate this new tool for the long-term but also take any manual findings from the solution and try to piece together the whole issue through multiple workflows.

Regardless of how an organization ends up with an unwarranted number of tools, the fact remains the same. If an enterprise, and its IT team, is to navigate the needs of a modern digital business it needs to consolidate how it monitors and manages the network.

How to Consolidate Your Toolset

There are several ways that an IT team can begin to evaluate and eliminate additional network monitoring tools. IT leaders within can lead change by creating a comprehensive roadmap of initiatives, needs, and how they can better future-proof the network through emerging technologies. This strategy can assist in pinpointing not only where there may be an abundance of tools but also assist in how to consolidate them – not to mention where there may be current or future need for something new.

Ask yourself these questions, how many teams or individuals are using these tools, is there a benefit to the organization, and does my current toolset support future endeavors? A lot has changed in technology and business in the past three years – is your reliance on disparate tools causing the organization to fall behind the competition?

Eliminating network tool sprawl can be incredibly beneficial to organizations of any size or industry. Ultimately, consolidating these tools will lead to a less complex workflow, reduce operational costs, and improve visibility not only into the network – but also the current or future needs of the business.

Reduce the Cost of Disparate Tools with a Unified NPM

NetOps teams have to quickly act on supporting the needs of the business by keeping the network optimized and ready for anything. IT leadership can support these endeavors with proper strategy and IT roadmaps, optimizing their budgets, and most importantly, rationalizing their current toolset.

Utilizing a unified, multifunctional network performance management platform can consolidate tool sprawl while offering customizable alerts and reporting, collects and retains diverse classes of network data, integrates with IT service management and notification platforms, and provides well-defined workflows for network analysis.

Many enterprises have been able to reduce MTTR, cut costs, and improve the productivity and efficiency of their NetOps teams by replacing disparate tools with LiveAction’s unified NPM, LiveNX. Find out more about the power of a comprehensive NPM and how reducing disparate tools can help your team with our eBook, Establishing Operational Excellence with a Network Performance Management Platform.