In the last few years, organizations have begun to focus more on digital transformation – moving workloads to the cloud, deploying the Internet of Things (IoT), experimenting with artificial intelligence and data analytics, and embracing a myriad of other technologies – all to become more efficient, deliver a better customer experience and, ultimately, drive more revenue.
The pandemic kicked this gradual transformation into high gear, forcing CIOs to re-examine their IT infrastructure. Smart CIOs looked at expensive on-premise and dated data centers, saw them as large, chunky pieces of real estate that don’t deliver enough value, and moved to cloud hyper-scalers to make their IT infrastructure more dynamic and to reduce costs.
For some reason, however, businesses haven’t been getting to a key piece of the puzzle as soon as they should – their networks.
A modern network is crucial
A modern enterprise network, which can include software-defined networking (SDN), managed network services, and other features and functionalities, has an Internet-centric architecture, uses software to manage traffic flow, and places a premium on secure transactions. It’s the foundation to any successful digital transformation.
The network is rarely among the first things IT leaders think about, but as the pandemic pushed CIOs to migrate to the cloud, it created a need for better cloud networking. Network modernization gives an organization a flexible and cloud-optimized network and should be one of the first steps a company takes in its digital transformation efforts.
These are just a few good reasons. I could go on and on. While IT leadership doesn’t often think about network modernization as the first step in their digital transformation, the transition works much, much better with a reliable, easily scalable network.
Is it all or nothing?
Companies don’t need to modernize their entire network at once. There are multiple layers of the network that can be modernized, and they can be managed one at a time. Think of network modernization like renovating a house – instead of tearing the whole building down and starting over, a homeowner can renovate the bathroom, then the kitchen, then replace the windows and so on, as budget permits.
If you’re a CIO looking to take on a network modernization project, you can start with the proverbial low-hanging fruit. Maybe your organization has multiple worksites across the globe, for example, and is paying for a security appliance at each of those sites. Your first step may be to replace that security hardware with a managed network security service or to move to SDN-based services on a location-by-location basis. You don’t have to throw out your entire MPLS-based network and switch to the Internet overnight.
Each organization will have its own entry point to network modernization. Even if an enterprise has begun its digital transformation process, it can still achieve many benefits by starting a network transformation effort now as well.
But for CIOs considering embarking on their digital transformation, or are in the midst of one, the time to think about transforming their networks is now.