Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail

 
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2.2. WHAT IS NETWORK UTILIZATION?

Network utilization is the amount of traffic on the network compared to the peak amount that the network can support. This is generally specified as a percentage.

There are various times throughout the normal course of business when a network is busier, i.e., the network utilization is high. As a result, users experience a slow down when the network utilization is high enough. Response times grow greater than expectations preventing normal business processes from operating efficiently. Performance degradations are generally a nuisance but can become significant enough to result in lost revenues. It is important to understand the factors that can cause high network utilization and how to manage the network preventing it from negatively impacting the business.

Factors that can affect performance

Table 2.1. Tools to Monitor Network Utilization

ServiceDealer w/o IT DepartmentDealer w/ IT Department
Off the shelf single PC usageX 
Off the shelf multiple PC usageXX
Server sideXX

The type of software that you purchase will depend greatly on what the needs of the dealership are. Some of the keys items to consider when purchasing or outsourcing network utilization tools are:

In a situation where the network monitoring is outsourced, the dealership needs the option to monitor the reporting, change any network settings, etc. If these features are not available, the dealership should construct and SLA specifying a pre-defined list of report dates, etc.

Management

In an effort to reduce latency due to excessive traffic or other contributing factors it is important that certain steps be taken. For example, ensure a proper network infrastructure layout has been established. If that is not possible, review the current infrastructure and determine which areas can be enhanced or re-engineered to improve performance. Often, a single infrastructure bottleneck is found to be a significant source of performance issues.

In addition to setting up the infrastructure correctly the network will need ongoing maintenance and monitoring to ensure that other factors such as hardware/software failures, bugs, viruses or misuse of resources are not occurring. Many organizations have begun implementing policies restricting usage of Internet resources to minimize the impact of non-business related activity on the network.