It’s no secret that network downtime results in productivity, revenue and opportunity costs. Network outages also have negative effects on intangibles such as customer service and business reputation.

It doesn’t take a full-on outage to stall the business, however. At a time when network reliability has become an operational imperative, slowdowns resulting from poorly performing IT systems also carry significant business costs.

According to a recent Citrix study, the cost of poor network performance is more than six days of lost productivity per employee per year. Worse yet, network performance issues are making it harder for organizations to take advantage of emerging technologies. More than half those responding to the Citrix study say their IT networks will require upgrading if they are going to take advantage of the so-called “digital transformation.”

Increasingly complex business applications, IP communications systems and cloud services all place great demands on network architectures that weren’t originally designed to handle such workloads. As networks grow in complexity, network performance problems increase as well.

Dimensional Research recently surveyed 315 network professionals for a Veriflow report called “Network Complexity, Change, and Human Factors Are Failing the Business.” Almost three-quarters (74 percent) said network issues significantly impact the business each year.

Most of those surveyed (69 percent) said they must address performance issues with a variety of inefficient manual processes. The popularity of manual checks and monitoring compared to predictive solutions indicates many possible inefficiencies in network management.

Too often, organizations believe adding bandwidth is a cure-all for network performance issues. While it’s true that bandwidth limitations will create performance bottlenecks, adding bandwidth sometimes merely masks underlying issues. Improperly configured routers, switches and applications are often sources of performance issues. If the wireless network is the problem, you have to consider things like Wi-Fi coverage, capacity and radio frequency interference.

The good news is that networking experts can use performance monitoring tools to detect, diagnose and remedy these problems. Network performance monitoring (NPM) tools look for weaknesses in the network that can cause slow download times and poor application performance.

The most obvious benefit is that NPM minimizes downtime and slowdowns that hamper productivity and detract from the customer experience. In addition, network monitoring can detect security threats and suspicious activity that put your organization at risk, and ensure that users are following company policies and regulatory requirements when accessing network resources.

The reports generated by network performance monitoring tools can also help you understand your network usage. Armed with this information, you can better utilize IT resources, identify cost-saving opportunities and justify upgrades.

Of course, it takes expertise to analyze the data generated by NPM tools. That’s why it makes sense to partner with a managed services provider such as SSD. We have many years of networking experience and have made investments in sophisticated tools that can help optimize your network.

As IT networks are being asked to support new and increasingly complex workloads, the importance of network visibility has never been more important. Network outages and slowdowns not only have direct business costs, but they can prevent organizations from fully leveraging innovative new technologies. SSD can help you leverage network performance monitoring tools to control expenses and boost efficiency.