Why a network is key to business growth

With so much pressure to transform, it’s no wonder organisations across every sector are investing in new technologies, applications, and resources at recordbreaking speeds. Technology evolution is the biggest driver for migrating to the cloud according to our latest cloud research. This demand will only increase. According to our report—The evolving path to cloud adoption— many Senior IT decision makers will prioritise migrating high-performance computing (HPC), big data analytics, and AI over the next 5–10 years. But what happens to connectivity as they introduce these, and other new services? Every new investment—whether in people or technology—adds more pressure on the network.

The key foundations for change

As today’s enterprises transform their business, it falls on IT and network leads to provide the foundation for change in three key areas:

  • Strengthening operational resilience
  • Elevating customer and employee experiences
  • Unlocking efficiencies with on-demand services

To deliver on these goals, organisations need a robust, flexible foundation enabling them to bring new services online when they’re needed. But, in many cases, the technologies brought on to enhance user experiences are weakening the infrastructure needed to make those very experiences possible. By failing to build your foundation for tomorrow’s demands, and simply piling new tech onto your existing stack, your infrastructure will become top-heavy and begin to resemble an unstable Jenga tower.

Do you know how many new applications you’ve deployed since your network was set up? Could it cope with the maximum peak bandwidth all your apps and services now demand?

So what can IT and network leads do to manage a platform that supports new experiences for customers and the wider business – without placing internal operations at risk?

Strengthening operational resilience

CIOs and their teams are responsible for providing new customer-facing services, enabling hybrid working and building network resilience that keeps companies agile and prepared for the future, all while monitoring cybersecurity and risk levels.

To increase network resilience and gain more control over the entire ecosystem, they’re working to simplify infrastructure and investing in edge computing, IoT, and other cloud-based technologies to get ahead of the evolving business landscape. But while these help to deliver essential new services, they demand high bandwidth and low latency, increasing the pressure on the network. They also lead to an increase in the number of endpoints across your environment, adding unwanted complexity. For those deploying AI and the machine learning tools it offers, network performance is further impacted by a greater demand for compute power. These applications and services are also heavily dependent on an increasingly complex partner ecosystem. It’s not enough to ‘just’ have connectivity to these partners, it needs to be carefully managed and you need the peace of mind that the partners trust each other.

New apps and services pile pressure onto networks that weren’t built with them in mind. Rather than implementing quick fixes or hoping for the best, now is the time to invest in a future-ready foundation that’s flexible, secure, and connected to all the right locations and partners across the ecosystem.

If your foundation isn’t fit for today’s purpose, you heighten the risk of outages and risk delivering a poor user experience. When starting afresh or modernising your network to deliver these new services, you need the right partnerships and the right connections in place. Find a network that not only delivers the bandwidth and reliability you need, but one with relationships across your partner ecosystem.

Elevating customer and employee experiences

Consumers, whether B2B or B2C, expect strict data privacy along with outstanding personalised experiences, any time they interact with a company. The demands of these ‘Everything Customers’ – a term coined by Gartner — requires new, traffic-hungry technology at every touchpoint, all of which must be delivered and supported by the network.

With hybrid working set for the long haul, employee experiences are transforming too. The growing demand for secure, reliable remote connectivity is resulting in CIOs looking holistically at the ‘total experience’ for all their users.

Linking customer experience (CX) with employee experience (EX) has a multiplier effect on performance, which is why organisations are set to invest more in cloud, data storage, and IoT to connect these experiences and drive greater remote collaboration. Hosting collaboration and customer experience tools in the cloud means that multiple channels can easily be managed, through platforms that can be accessed from anywhere.

Putting these mission critical services into the cloud adds extra pressure onto the foundation. When access to an application keeps the business running, any downtime or degradation in service quality isn’t acceptable. The greater the number of digital interactions your network enables, the more data you generate. Then there’s the vast increase in network traffic this creates. Delivering ultra-fast experiences across the business puts even more strain on the network, requiring greater attention to how traffic moves around.

Where should you process your data – at the edge, in the cloud, or at the customer touchpoint? Is your network foundation good enough for the apps and services on which your customers and business depend?

With intelligent network management, you can deliver on your ‘total experience’ targets. This enables IT teams to proactively identify bandwidth risks, using SD WAN to make decisions about how traffic moves across multiple sites – high-quality links versus less expensive internet – maintaining total experiences for customers and employees, wherever they are.

Unlocking efficiencies with On Demand services

When undertaking so many projects, it’s easy for organisations to overlook the cumulative pressure that each of these apps or services put on the network – whether that’s for increased performance, greater monitoring or enhanced security. All this transformation has implications in terms of bandwidth, latency and complexity.

The cloud is often the answer as it promises much greater flexibility, but this doesn’t match up with the static approach that the legacy foundation was built with. The solution is a robust connectivity strategy based on a secure, high-capacity and flexible backbone which provides closer control and better visibility of network resources. SD-WAN delivers some network control and visibility but to truly enable efficiency hand-in-hand with innovation, flexibility across the network stack is required. Rather than trying to make new apps or technologies fit to an outdated model, instead you need to deliver flexibility end-to-end.

To reach new heights of agility and optimised efficiency, organisations must look for agility across their entire network – enabling them to meet the transformation goals of the business without breaking the bank.

With IT and network leads rethinking their business models to maximise the opportunities presented by the new normal, the flexibility and agility provided by On Demand services are helping tackle waste and giving organisations the tools to innovate and thrive – now, and for years to come.

Building a foundation for growth

To ensure your network can deliver the application performance your organisation demands and the reliability it needs – while avoiding a game of Network Services Jenga – ask yourself:

  • How many new applications have you deployed since the network was set up?
  • Do you know the maximum peak bandwidth all the new apps demand?
  • Are you connected to all the right locations and partners across the ecosystem?
  • How flexible is your foundation and how quickly can it scale to meet demand?
  • Do you have the platform to enable secure work from anywhere?
  • Can you control and manage traffic across departments and sites?

Building your business on a stable, flexible and secure foundation helps you reach higher – without having to perform a balancing act. Your network foundation also needs the connections and relationships with partners across the digital ecosystem, along with the agility to react at the speed your business demands.

By getting the right network foundations in place, the sky’s the limit when it comes to delivering the outcomes today’s business demands.