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Shift Network Spend From Premium Products to Premium People

by Andrew Lerner  |  September 27, 2016  |  Submit a Comment

Being in charge of the enterprise network can be tough, as networking teams are constantly being asked to deliver new services to the business in reduced timeframes, and at lower costs. Further, based on our research, enterprises routinely overspend on networking technology, despite lower cost equipment being available with equivalent functionality. In addition, enterprise network professionals are paid substantially less (on average) compared to their counterparts working for vendors.

The consequence is that vendors and their channels often act as advisors with too much influence over strategic networking decisions. Network leaders must find new ways to motivate their networking staff to take control, start managing vendors as suppliers and explore new cost effective yet innovative solutions. The key is to create a virtuous circle, where cost savings in networking hardware/software purchases are partially reinvested back in the networking team, through financial incentives, but also technical training and professional development. Or, in other words, premium people are more valuable in the long-run than premium products.


We just published research (led by Danilo Ciscato) that outlines why and how organizations should get started with this.  Our research shows that by gradually implementing this strategy, companies can permanently save 25% on their networking life-cycle costs, while simultaneously creating a highly skilled networking team, that will enable them to thrive in a digital business world:

It’s Time to Shift Network Spend From Premium Products to Premium People

Summary: This research shows that purposefully shifting network spend from products to personnel can lead to yearly savings of over 25% in five years while improving network agility, but network VPs and directors must reskill their organizations and foster a new mentality to achieve that.

One quick snippet from the research: networking staff will need a broader understanding of IT systems and better Linux system administrator skills, since an increasing number of networking products use Linux, and we anticipate that trend to continue. They will also need scripting and programming skills for languages such as Python to properly leverage APIs and customize their environment. These skills should be prioritized over training on proprietary products and command line interface (CLI) syntax. Proprietary vendor certifications should also be considered a low-priority investment in the future.

Regards, Danilo Ciscato and Andrew

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Category: guest-blog  just-published  networking  staffing  

Tags: api  cli  culture-2  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
6+ years at Gartner
21 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking, including data center, campus and WAN with a focus on emerging technologies (SDN, SD-WAN, and Intent-based networking). Read Full Bio

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