Digital Transformation is a necessity, not a choice. Industries around the world are gearing up for digital transformation. It changes the way organizations do business. Digital transformation elevates the customer experience while minimizing security risks and unlocks new revenue streams. You do it right, and you are in the top radar of the customer. You slip here; you slip out of the customer’s mind too.
Cloud, 5G, edge computing, and IoT are technologies organizations are trying to leverage to step up their game in their quest for digital transformation. But where does all this journey start?
Can it even pass the first gear without embracing network transformation and operational transformation? After all, that’s the edifice where it all builds upwards, right!
Digital transformation should be embraced as a business strategy that needs a technology initiative to support its existence.
Networks must be overhauled and reinvented before the digital shifts can dig in their feet well. More so, as we are moving into an era where enterprises specialized in their businesses like to be called technology companies for a specific business domain. This outlook is being adopted at a fast pace by big and small businesses giving an indication how tightly coupled technology and businesses are. That means more gravity for network transformation. Networks cannot stay the way they had been. They would have to get ready for the new shifts.
Over the past few years, we have seen an IT infrastructure revolution that has fueled the network evolution to a considerable extent. While many organizations are moving into a more software-defined environment, there are many which are ahead in their race to network transformation. The hybrid multi-cloud strategy has seen wider adoption and has taken the lead in assuming faster, more agile, and automated approaches to support network transformation.
That said – Digital transformation is set to pose a lot of demands on the network. It is incumbent upon any network team to be cognizant of and equipped for the new drivers and imperatives. These demands include:
Speed – Speed is the new normal for any organization. New applications flock the industry every day, and the IT network must keep up with the demand. Customers look up to the network for continuous alignment to SLAs. There is absolutely no room to fail.
Scale – With 5G and IoT, networks are expected to scale exponentially to meet the ever-growing requirements of the new business landscape. Multi-vendor networks should scale rapidly to meet these prolific customer requirements. With scale comes complexity — another big factor to reckon for network teams.
Cloud – Private, public, and hybrid clouds are headed to become the de-facto aspect for workloads in the coming years. This transition emphasizes site-to-site network performance & connectivity
Simplicity -. Digital success is synonymous with network-device proliferation. Network complexity will usher in a similar challenge to NetOps. Network management simplification through automation is key to managing this rapid expansion in network capabilities.
Security – Mobility, cloud, and new applications open up new revenue opportunities as well as new threats. Perimeter defense through centralized security policy management should be the way to go. Network transformation defines the progress but not without a secure stance.
For organizations still contemplating on where to start in their journey to digital transformation, a quick check on their network evolution over the past few years will be a good starting point. Has it been effective enough to handle all your customer requirements with speed, agility, and security? Is your organization’s network capable of handling all the above demands amplified by your digital initiatives? Never let lack of network transformation impact your organization with its vulnerabilities and constraints to your digital initiatives.
Once done, then comes the operational game-plan.
The network is an important support system for digital success. But would a switch from having a good network to a great network solve all your problems? Or in other words, is network transformation the one-flip solution for digital success?
Emerging innovations such as mobility, IoT, software-defined networks, and many more will carry enterprises into the future. But since all their existing investments need to be protected, it is vital to understand why and how brown-field networks would be carried into the future to support these new-breed initiatives. Today’s enterprise networks are device-centric with NetOps teams using siloed approaches. They span across a variety of areas – starting from using manual methods to provisioning multi-vendor devices to using rudimentary configuration automation scripts. The emergence of a software-defined environment & analytics did help NetOps teams bring more agility to day-to-day activities. But these innovations in network management simplification were limited to specific use-cases and still hinged heavily on manual troubleshooting techniques. This drawback has pushed organizations into an operational black hole. In spite of having a state-of-the-art network at their disposal, NetOps teams lack the pace and with sure-footedness.
So what is the way out of this quicksand? Here are some key areas that will help NetOps align themselves better to realize the dream of operational and network transformation to achieve digital success:
Network automation – Enables network-wide NetOps simplification, control, accelerated service delivery, and streamlined processes. It relieves IT teams, to focus on innovation to fuel digital success
Network security & compliance – Networks are comprehensively aware of compliance & centralized policies. That’s when they can offer risk reduction in a better way and help to remain compliant to uniform network-wide policies
Automated service assurance & troubleshooting – Ensure continuous alignment to network policies to, automated network service assurance to align the quality of experience of its users to the business intent at all times by meeting critical SLAs.
In-depth network insights – Continuous feedback from the network & event correlation to ensure NetOps do not miss any information. This level of readiness helps to take them a notch higher to value & uphold business policies and intentions. AI/ML is the vision industry is working towards, but the source of data is going to be extremely important to fuel this innovation.
Highly scalable architecture – An on-demand network requires an on-demand scalable management platform to offer network-wide automation.
Multi-Vendor support – Ensures a standardized approach to streamline network automation across multiple vendors
Above all, every organization’s IT network teams would have to undergo a paradigm shift in their thought processes when it comes to NetOps. The key areas mentioned above will drive operational efficiency through a more automated and closed-loop network. The initial hiccups of getting adjusted to something new will soon turn into a mission that connects the disjointed dots and will drive their actions to attain the ultimate business objective of digital transformation.
IT, more than ever before, has the opportunity to define the journey for an organization’s digital initiatives. Digital transformation can either be a mere brochure-word or can be that distinctive enigma that delights your customers – at every mile.
IT has the opportunity to define the journey for an organization’s digital initiatives. It is no longer a cost center, but a business center. But that requires executing on a vision that continuously aligns the network with ever-changing business needs. Network transformation backed by a strong operational transformation is the key to meet the demands of digital transformation. If your organization is still in the early days of this wonderful journey of transformation, there is no cause of worry. Start small, standardize your existing infrastructure, gain confidence, prove the ROI, and blast off into the future.
It’s time to realize that with the power of a great network, comes great responsibility!