June 28, 2024 | 5 min read
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Why network transformation deserves more attention in the digital era

Jean-Philippe Avelange

Chief Information Officer

The race to transform a business has become the new survival of the fittest. It’s not a trend, and it’s not going anywhere. However, one underrated element of transformation is network transformation. You can transform your business in many ways. From implementing new AI solutions, edge computing, the cloud, etc., but they all take a toll on your network.

Networks serve as the backbone of business operations, facilitating communication, data exchange, and application access. However, with the advent of digital transformation, the demands placed on networks have escalated dramatically.

Following on from last year’s Enterprise Horizons report, the Expereo commissioned IDC InfoBrief, Enterprise Horizons 2024: Technology Leaders’ Priorities on their Digital Business Journey, has recently been published and it’s become clear that networks are one of the main roadblocks to transformation initiatives. Based on the data gathered in the IDC Resource Map Document (RMD) for Expereo Doc. #EUR252049924, (April, 2024), from surveying 650 global technology leaders, the top four barriers to executing digital initiatives are:

  1. 1. Complexity of integrating or aligning with existing IT (41%).
  2. 2. External IT partners lack the right capabilities (40%).
  3. 3. Lack of regional expertise to effectively roll out global technology initiatives that comply with local requirements (35%).
  4. 4. Inadequate networks or connectivity (31%).

Additionally, 30% of the technology leaders surveyed cited poor network performance and unreliable global connectivity as their biggest inhibitors of growth.

The crux of the argument is that all digital transformation requires a simultaneous network transformation program to support it, if not entirely enable it.

What is network transformation?

Network transformation means altering your organization's network infrastructure to support changing business needs. Like increasing performance, enhancing security, and enabling new capabilities. This could mean anything from:

  • Updating or amending the network architecture.
  • Implementing new technologies.
  • Investing in security.
  • Setting up new protocols.
  • Applying new hardware or software.

Any of the above (or even a combination) can make a network more agile, efficient and adaptable to your business’s evolving needs.

As Expereo’s Chief Information Officer, I can tell you from experience that network transformation also relies on three crucial elements:

  1. 1. Regulatory compliance requirements.
  2. 2. Performance monitoring tools, like expereoOne.
  3. 3. Continuous improvement plans.

These three areas are embedded in Expereo’s Managed Service Provision when we transform an organization's network to meet its business goals.

But for technology leaders who are still considering their options, there’s more to consider when transforming your network. You need to know why you’re doing it, what your end goal is, and establish a plan of attack designed to meet those needs.

Why do you need to transform your network?

Why do we need any form of transformation? We’ve all seen that innovation can be mobilized quickly. Whether to support remote working, tackle ever-changing security requirements, plug-in AI applications, etc., and you need to keep up or risk stagnating and losing market share.

Enterprises are now faced with the challenge of supporting an increasingly diverse array of devices, applications, and workloads. All while maintaining security, reliability, and performance. Legacy networks represent a significant financial and operational commitment. And they're often not flexible or scalable enough to handle new digital tools.

For example, the Expereo commissioned IDC InfoBrief, Enterprise Horizons 2024: Technology Leaders’ Priorities on their Digital Business Journey shows thatonly 14% of leaders surveyed had networks fully ready to take on the large data requirements of their AI investments. And yet 42% of those surveyed said that AI would be their top technology investment over the coming 12 months.

What are the main network limitations impacting AI deployment?

In the Expereo commissioned IDC InfoBrief, Enterprise Horizons 2024: Technology Leaders’ Priorities on their Digital Business Journey, you’ll see that they 650 global technology leaders surveyed said the top four network barriers to AI initiatives were:

  1. 1. 38% said performance of the network (e.g., poor responsiveness or latency).
  2. 2. 38% also sited that networks don’t scale flexibly or on demand.
  3. 3. 29% said they had a lack of network bandwidth.
  4. 4. 27% said their networks don’t provide adequate connectivity to the cloud, or between clouds.

Click here to read my colleague’s guide to ensure your network is ready to support AI transformation.

The most effective way to get your network transformation ready?

Transforming your network is the foundation of enabling any digital transformation. But you have a lot of choices to make about how to transform your network. Whether that’s through deploying software-defined networking for a flexible, scalable network, or it’s via a solution like Fixed Wireless Access for business continuity, or Enhanced Internet for reliable application performance at the middle and last mile.

You need to know:

  • Precisely what your network is made up of, what connectivity solutions? Underlay? Overlay?
  • What the state of your network’s overall performance and health is.
  • Where are its issues? If you have regional inconsistencies, for example.
  • What on-the-ground support do you have for your different locations?
  • Who your different Internet Service Providers are.
  • The different compliance and legislation requirements for various locations.
  • How many of your workforce are in the office, remote or hybrid, etc?

… And you need to factor in how all these things need to scale or adapt to your chosen digital initiative. If you’re pursuing AI applications or cloud integration, how do you increase application performance and bandwidth if one region struggles to connect to specific applications?

My advice? From one technology leader to another, work with a Managed Service Provider (MSP).

An experienced MSP can help you transform your network so that it has the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. Additionally, an MSP can provide high-performance for reliable application access and happy end-users. MSPs, like Expereo, also have global reach and can ensure you have robust on-the-ground support wherever you need it.

An MSP can support many of the challenges and time-consuming elements of global network management and transformation. Leaving you free to focus on your other digital initiatives, knowing your network is ready to support them.

What else keeps your peers up at night?

There’s much more to explore regarding the opportunities and challenges technology leaders like you and me face! Check out the Expereo commissioned IDC InfoBrief, Enterprise Horizons 2024: Technology Leaders’ Priorities on their Digital Business Journey today to see insights about attitudes towards growth, digital technology investment priorities, challenges and limitations, the talent market, and the changing role of the technology leader.

Embrace network transformation and go faster to the future with Expereo

Ultimately, the race is on to improve enterprise networks to support wider digital transformation plans. It’s not a chicken or egg scenario, it’s do or die! Network transformation must go hand in hand with your wider digital transformation needs. You should also tailor it to support your desired digital transformation outcomes.

Wherever you’re based, whether you’re connecting a city office or a remote production site, we have the capabilities, partnerships, and technologies to transform your network so you’re future ready.

Get in touch today to discuss your needs.

Jean-Philippe Avelange

Chief Information Officer

Jean-Philippe Avelange is Chief Information Officer at Expereo. With over 20 years of telecom IT experience, Jean-Philippe has a focus on cloud solutions, digital transformation, and agile methodologies. Starting as an IT manager at Capgemini Telecom, he has been dealing with complex information system architecture throughout his career. With an eye for business, he founded InovenAltenor and Avelto and has also worked as an independent IT consultant before deciding to join Expereo, back in 2017.

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