It’s time to change the way you think about networksBy Steve Coakley,
Businesses are now under pressure to meet new demands from customers who want a better experience. And their expectations about the way they use products and services are higher than ever. Most European organisations recognise this with 89 percent of them making digital transformation a business priority since 2017 (IDC EMEA, European DX Practice Survey)
The broad concept of digital transformation has been talked about in boardrooms for even longer. A loose affiliation of everything from cloud strategies and faster access to applications and data, to multichannel engagement that’s seen as the best way to enhance the customer experience.
While using Software-as-a-Service has been responsible for migrating at least some applications to the cloud; and eCommerce websites have helped businesses engage more effectively with customers, all the evidence suggest that it’s still early days. These trends are a signpost to where digital transformation is taking organisations rather than the final destination.
Research suggests that we need an even more radical overhaul of IT infrastructure for businesses to survive the disruption and succeed in a quickly evolving digital economy.
According to IDC’s 2019 Worldwide Telecommunications predictions, by 2021 70 percent of CIOs will deliver “agile connectivity” via APIs and architectures that interconnect digital solutions from cloud vendors, system developers, start-ups, and more. By 2022, IDC believes 75 percent of successful digital strategies will be built by a transformed IT organisation, with modernised and rationalised infrastructure, applications, and data architectures.
Connecting it all together
The role of the network in all of this has also been evolving. Fixed and mobile infrastructure are still instrumental in the way new services are delivered. But legacy networks have started to show their age, lacking the agility they need to take advantage of the digital revolution.
A stable, future-proofed network is fundamental for driving the digital agenda. Whether it’s for front-facing requirements, facilitating enhanced customer service centres, or for internal communications to connect global offices, the need for more bandwidth has never been greater.
As network capacity becomes more of an issue, so too does the need to manage and optimise it. As connecting to clouds and an increasingly mobile workforce blurs the traditional perimeters of the company network, the task of securing it also becomes harder. Every endpoint is a potential vulnerability for increasingly sophisticated cyber criminals.
Hybrid networks for hybrid services
As the cloud helps users and applications to move around, the network has to support them. Hybrid networks have to be more robust and resilient because digital transformation is only successful if it can be achieved without risk and uncertainly.
Upgrading legacy infrastructure to make networks dynamic enough to deliver on digital enablement can appear daunting and expensive. You have to have a plan and you can’t do it all at once. We’ve found that the best way forward is to align your network strategy to your business goals.
This is why we put so much emphasis on SD-WAN when we talk to customers. Because it offers a way of transforming manageable areas of your business, introducing new levels of control and cost saving incrementally, with a clear return on investment.
Don’t take our word for it. In its 2019 Trends to Watch on Network Services, Ovum said that the concepts behind SD-WAN were now mainstream among larger enterprises. The independent analyst also noted that managed SD-WAN service provider partners are important for shouldering deployment responsibility and risk. I’ll explore why this is certainly true for us in the next blog in this series.