Is your digital network able to keep up with your digital goals? Source: Shutterstock

Is your digital network able to keep up with your digital goals? Source: Shutterstock

CXOs neglect network capabilities while pursuing digital goals — Study

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION involves harnessing sensors, crunching data in real-time, and using cloud-based applications to generate insights that help employees do more.

However, a new study says that although CXOs are chasing digital goals and investing in migrating to the cloud, they’re neglecting to improve the network capabilities required to seamlessly use those digital systems.

As a result, employees end up unhappy, struggling to do their jobs, and sometimes get frustrated with the organization’s move to digital.

The study found that less than 40 percent of respondents were “very satisfied” with overall capability (36 percent) and bandwidth (38 percent). In fact, half or less reported being “very satisfied” with their network performance (43 percent), security (50 percent), and reliability (50 percent).

In an age where organizations are preparing to harness data-heavy, graphics-rich applications such as real-time big data visualization, augmented and virtual reality training programs, and IoT solutions, neglecting to build network capabilities is definitely counter-intuitive and will definitely slow down progress.

Drilling into the reasons for delaying upgrades to network capabilities, the study found that barrier most frequently cited in respondents’ top three was “misalignment between IT and business needs” (48 percent).

The second and third most commonly cited barriers were “inherent complexities between business requirements and operational needs” and “demands for bandwidth, performance, etc. outpacing the ability to deliver” at 45 percent each.

Overall, the report makes it clear that companies that want to avoid derailing their digital transformation efforts must overhaul their network capabilities before it is too late.

Is there a solution that everyone can use? Well, to be honest, a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t really possible, but there are a couple of scalable solutions that network engineers can evaluate and leverage.

The common model they can use, however, is known as software-defined networking (SDN) — which essentially separates how engineers manage bandwidth and uptime based on application priority and importance.

The report recommends a shift to SDN because it not only supports digital transformation efforts but also helps organizations better manage their resources, optimizing utilization through automation and artificial intelligence, and guaranteeing uptime.

Fortunately, 31 percent describe funding network improvements as “easy” and within the network infrastructure team’s control — meaning network capability improvements might not be an issue in the long-run, especially now that business leaders are aware of the issue and its consequences.