Many enterprises see the network as an inhibitor to business change - a necessary evil that drains budget and offers little in true business value. However, for a modern enterprise to grow in today's world there must be a change in attitude towards the network's role.
There has been a significant cultural change in our relationship with technology in the workplace, with focus shifting away from the infrastructure and towards applications. As such, the concept of the IT department as the final decision-maker has become redundant, replaced by empowered business units.
IT is also becoming increasingly consumerised, with employees themselves deciding which solutions they want to use from multiple personal devices connecting to the corporate network on a daily basis. With the advent of trends such as BYOD and mobility, employees are beginning to expect a certain level of autonomy as to which devices and applications they can bring onto the network and where they can access them. Whether these are CRM apps, ERP software or cloud storage applications like Google Drive, employees are demanding the flexibility to use the applications that they need to perform their job as efficiently as possible, whilst assuming the network's ability to seamlessly enable the new features these applications offer.
Too often CIOs have relied on the old adage “bigger is better” when it comes to their network needs, unaware they're neglecting to support the business expectations of their organizations. As an enterprise grows and network strain increases, the go-to tactic has been increasing expenditure on bandwidth to compensate. Business growth and network growth may be linked in this scenario, but ultimately it's one which puts the cart before the horse; the network functioning as a necessity for a growing business after the fact, rather than as a catalyst for business growth in and of itself.
To truly maximize the potential of the business network one needs to stop simply focusing on scale, thinking instead in terms of globalization, automation, and objective-based management and governance . The network must support employee demands for mobility, social media, video and chat, providing the infrastructure for high bandwidth technologies. Most importantly, it must simultaneously ensure the execution of business critical applications. Rather than relying on additional bandwidth, existing capacity should be dynamically allocated according to the business importance of each application, maximizing the efficiency of a leaner network infrastructure and allowing enterprises to do more with the same pool of network resources.
The network must be seen as a key business enabler, as the backbone that supports business processes and business growth, and one that's not solely the jurisdiction of the IT department. Through guaranteeing the performance of those applications most critical to the enterprise, the network can achieve the recognition it deserves.
Enterprises need to grow organically, and aligning the network with your business' particular strategic initiatives should be a key enabler of change and growth. Just as a business' aims change over time, so too must the network be flexible enough to cater to shifting business priorities and employee expectations. A lean network infrastructure that caters to your business' specific needs will cut down IT costs without inhibiting business efficiency and productivity.
- It is more difficult to control how users utilise the network, and with the growing impact of UC, hybrid cloud and hybrid networks IT departments need to be able to do more with less.
- Application performance and productivity are linked, and to be a key enabler of business productivity the application performance management over the network has to be global, objective based and fully automated.
- IT departments need to (re)discover the simplicity of the network through a fully integrated platform that provides global application performance visibility, dynamic orchestration of the application performance objectives, and real-time alignment with business goals.