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How 7SIGNAL Helps IBM and Nike Gain Network Visibility

IBM and Nike employ 7SIGNAL’s wireless network monitoring solutions. We sat down with representatives from each company to discuss their experiences and what they’ve learned.

Key takeaways:

  • 7SIGNAL spoke with team members from Nike and IBM about how they’re using our wireless network monitoring solutions.
  • Nike uses 7SIGNAL’s tools to free up time to focus on strategy instead of support, and they have gained end-user visibility that helps them stay proactive about network issues.
  • IBM was able to provide evidence to third parties about what was causing Wi-Fi issues and demonstrate significant ROI from 7SIGNAL platforms.

7SIGNAL recently hosted conversations with Rocky Gregory, Global Enterprise Wireless Architect at Nike, and Shannon Kurtz from the Office of the CIO at IBM. As part of our Virtual User Group Series, we discussed how these clients use wireless network monitoring to gain visibility into their networks, along with their top network priorities for 2021.

Here’s an overview their insights:

The impact of wireless network monitoring for Nike

It’s no surprise that Nike’s network staff is responsible for managing many different environments. Rocky Gregory explained that while the company hasn’t reduced staff during the last year, employees and network engineers now save significant time working from different locations. New projects keep accruing, and the more the team can use tools that help them diagnose or get in front of connectivity issues, the more time to dedicate to both projects and strategic efforts.

7ISGNAL helps Nike address connectivity issues and get to root-cause analysis faster. Products are used proactively: Rocky gave an example of having a problem with their robots misbehaving. With 7SIGNAL, network managers can use the Sapphire or Mobile Eye to uncover what’s going on, gaining metrics that outline optimizations and solutions.

One big thing that came up was using 7SIGNAL's wireless network monitoring sensors to help teams discover smaller issues that cause grief for end users even if they haven’t called the help desk. The team is finding pain points they didn't know were there, and that people were merely tolerating.

Rocky said that ongoing training from 7SIGNAL has been “out of this world,” including individualized programs that go further than how to use the solutions. 7SIGNAL coaches on the complete technology—beyond just the tool used to monitor that technology. Rocky also said that 7SIGNAL’s webinars are powerful, and his team is “overjoyed” with the support received thus far.

It’s easy for Nike to justify its spend on these solutions. Wireless issues can be nebulous, but now the team proactively sees them rather than waiting for the phone to ring. Knowing a problem exists before the end-users notice is huge, according to Rocky. And the company also sees immense value from the ability to look at data from the campus when individuals are working offsite.

Nike’s buzzword right now is “observability.” The organization needs instrumentation in all environments that provides a holistic view. Wireless infrastructure is becoming more and more critical for the company, especially as it refreshes tech at headquarters and other locations while managing diverse worker locations. Remote observability is vital, and Rocky says that 7SIGNAL provides it for the Nike team.

Watch the full video of the conversation here.

 

The impact of wireless network monitoring for IBM

Shannon Kurtz explained that an ongoing process for IBM has been focusing on 100% Wi-Fi coverage as the primary means of connectivity. This requires deployments of agents on the company’s client machines to collect information about their experiences—even uncovering issues that are unrelated to the Wi-Fi. 

IBM found that many problems had more to do with identity code bugs from Cisco or issues with AT&T connections than problems with the network itself. Previously, these clients would blame each other for an issue, but 7SIGNAL helps IBM have the proof necessary to say, “this is what's wrong, and here's how we know.” They can then fix the problem based on evidence.

IBM also needed sensors to be permanently installed in key locations. Doing this helped the company identify issues they didn’t know existed, some of which created a miserable experience for users. New visibility enabled solutions, and the ability to resolve problems before people complained meant staff could focus on other things aside from support. IBM has gained productivity tackling strategic considerations including automation, analytics, and architectural enhancement that improve overall services.

IBM has also focused more on automation and analytics, collecting information from all their tools through Ansible. When there’s a new deployment, they can take their standard template, put in the variables to that site, then install it on a device through automated configuration.

As far as justifying IBM's spend on 7SIGNAL, Shannon said her team created a document where they store screen captures from every incident uncovering a new problem via 7SIGNAL’s wireless network monitoring solutions. Then, when a regional location is unsure about this expense in the budget, the team can show real-world examples of why it’s worth it.

As the world has gone remote, IBM has fewer people onsite, so they’re trying to accelerate certifying new platforms. 7SIGNAL’s sensors allow them to have fewer people on campus while still seeing what’s going on with new code and settings. At the same time, the team is engaged in making the onsite network even better for when more people return to the office.

Shannon also noted that 7SIGNAL delivers immediate data feedback on whether a change was successful or not. This is especially crucial as new IoT technologies integrate into the network, and managers need to ensure these devices don’t cause issues. As the IoT grows, the IBM team has new demands to continuously assess their network's health—and wireless network monitoring enables them to do it.

This year, IBM is thinking through how to deploy 7SIGNAL’s agents across more client devices to show both overall and individual device trends. 

Watch the full video of the conversation here.

Why 7SIGNAL started the Virtual User Group Series

Our Virtual User Group Series allows us to connect with 7SIGNAL clients and learn how they’re using our tools, along with the successes or challenges they’ve faced. These discussions create opportunities to share experiences, talk about the state of the wireless industry, and continue learning from one another.

7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.