NETSCOUT – delivering solutions on shifting sands
NETSCOUT was established around 30 years ago, and has a history of providing solutions to businesses across packet and IP networks, particularly the latter. “We provide pervasive visibility across all areas of a business network, regardless of the technologies being deployed,” explains Matthew Demeusy, principal solution architect at NETSCOUT. “These services might be entirely on premises, they may be cloud services or it might be some kind of hybrid – the ability of NETSCOUT to monitor those across any sort of technology we call ‘visibility without borders’. NETSCOUT is the market leader in this space and its technology spans enterprise service provider and security markets.”
What does Demeusy believe is driving innovation in the telecoms sector? “There are two things that come to mind and they're somewhat related. One is the digital transformation to cloud and that's an ongoing process. And the second is 5G technology, and these are somewhat interrelated. As service providers drive toward these new technologies these networks will often go through several phases of evolution. And each phase requires assuring that the services are performing as expected. Any anomalies are detected and still the target initiatives are being achieved. This ends up being a great opportunity for NETSCOUT because we provide that visibility across those borders to ensure the service performance through every phase of that evolution.”
One of NETSCOUT’s long-term customers is Bell. Demeusy got involved around the time big data and analytics were climbing the Bell agenda; at the time NETSCOUT was developing its nGenius business analytics solution. He’s been working with them ever since. “I really enjoy working with Bell. I find that we are really easily able to get to the heart of our common objectives to ensure that Bell is getting its needs met, that it is getting the maximum amount of value out of the products. NETSCOUT gets to understand what those needs look like for Bell both today and in the future. And this is also really beneficial for NETSCOUT because it helps us understand what challenges are common across the various service providers, and which might be more specific to individual telcos. So we can think about how to make sure we're going to continue to meet those needs, the common ones, and the specific ones as well. This has been a really beneficial partnership for both of us.
“I think that the secret to a really successful partnership is having shared objectives between the parties and being able to communicate clearly and effectively to work together to achieve those objectives. NETSCOUT benefits from being able to understand what the customer is trying to do, and come up with solutions to get there as effectively as possible and understand specifically what challenges they might be seeing, or what challenges we might see across other areas of either this industry or other industries that we work with. Customers are going to benefit by extracting the maximum amount of value from their investments that they're making both in their networks and in the tools they use to assure the services that flow across those networks.”
And the future? “When it comes to the key trends and technologies, 5G is probably the big trend. Everyone thinks the transition to 5G from 4G LTE is very significant and wide reaching. This is not an overnight migration. It requires a lot of long-term planning, and there will be multiple transition periods from where networks are today and where they're going to be when 5G is fully realised. One critical thing that's on the mind of every service provider is that their existing services must remain up and performing all the time, even while the delivery mechanisms for the services are changing. This is a really good opportunity for NETSCOUT to provide the confidence to innovate for our users, so they can go through each phase and still know that they have visibility and service assurance at each step of the way on that network evolution.”
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.