Enterprise networks are proving to be blockers to digital transformation

By 2020, 30% of the top firms in every business sector will cease to exist, as they’re known today. Research from analyst firm IDC predicts that one-time leaders will have been replaced by new contenders, will have been forced to merge to survive, or will simply have fallen by the wayside or slipped into irrelevancy.

Over the last 18 months or so, those with enough foresight have embarked upon business transformations, adopting different approaches to working, in order to better respond to market demands for products and services.

The process of becoming truly digital typically involves a major shift in management thinking and structures to a more collaborative way of working that is enabled by the right mix of technology, applications and management.

>See also: The right side of disruption: why digital transformation is the new kingmaker

Part of this digital transformation is the transition to an agile business – one that can deploy new collaborative applications very quickly and in any direction as the business needs are identified and evolve. But the question then becomes whether the network can support the increased pressure of these developments?

The simple answer is no – current networks are not designed to meet these challenges. Typically, networks are supplied with long lead-time, fixed bandwidth and expensive long-term contracts – the polar opposite of what any enterprise business needs today.

What is required is a ‘liquid infrastructure’ – a network that can scale and be provisioned in minutes rather than days, or even weeks. For this, the network is critically important and businesses cannot afford to underestimate this.

High bandwidth

As enterprise computing moves to the cloud, the demand for bandwidth capacity is exponential and, being aggregated, it is increasing in the network core faster than anywhere else.

Every year, Cisco forecasts that traffic between data centres is increasing by 29%, whilst industry analyst Ovum sees the growth in services at 1Gbps and above now exceeding 18%.

That network traffic is the sum of all enterprise activity. The individual employee or customer may only be concerned for safe and timely delivery of their immediate needs.

But carriers, operators, cloud providers and major enterprises need fat pipes to connect all of their business locations and demand-sources to the core infrastructure. Businesses need a responsive, high-performance backbone network to carry the traffic to its onward destination.

Businesses rely on the network to support this high-bandwidth requirement to enable effective data backup and deployment of cloud applications, as well as application workload balancing, video streaming, file transfer and software updates – core business functions that, without suitable bandwidth, simply wouldn’t be possible.

>See also: 4 intelligent elements of successful digital transformation

Agility and simplification

Businesses need fast deployment of services in new sites – in multiple countries – with simplified contract negotiation, connecting to multiple vendor neutral facilities. On-demand services automate these processes, ensuring that the once-lengthy planning and rollout phases are no longer required.

Downtimes are inevitable and unpredictable. And for businesses of all sizes, the threat of downtime has a significant impact – both indirectly through disruption to customer service, and to the business itself through lost time.

Businesses rely on the network to deliver remote back up in the face of a disaster. Business continuity and disaster recovery solutions with remote backup ensure that in the case of any incident, downtime is kept to a minimum and mission-critical functions can continue during and after a disaster.

A network needs to support rapid and constantly fluctuating business requirements, as well as facilitate expansion into new markets and alleviate the unpredictable impact of disaster.


Sourced from Nigel Tromans, product manager, Colt Technology Services

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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