Last week, some lucky residents in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento – the first in the world - experienced 5G broadband internet service. It was momentous on many levels. Most of us haven’t even begun to imagine how 5G will change our lives. If you think Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are transformational technologies, wait till they meet 5G. It will be transformation on steroids!
While it may sound clichéd, the advancement in network speeds and technology coupled with the insatiable thirst for data is transforming every sector from healthcare to telematics. It’s changing how we bank, how we interact with our favourite brands and how we consume services.
And almost every business is working hard to adapt.
Take CG Power and Industrial Solutions Limited, for example. This 81-year old Indian headquartered company manufactures sustainable end-to-end electrical solutions, and employs over 5000 plus employees in Belgium, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, France, UK and US. Twelve weeks was all it took to deploy SD WAN on top of their existing MPLS service. Their executives now see a 27 percent savings in network costs and can modify configurations at endpoints deployed across the globe in a matter of minutes.
Two years ago, IDC surveyed 603 digital stakeholders on their initial approach to digital transformation and the role of the network. They predicted that two-thirds of would have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategies by the end of 2017.
Fast forward to 2018.
IDC’s latest study - Digital Transformation: Discover the Right Path to Avoid Hype and Disappointment – sees 219 executives talking about the challenges of executing digital initiatives, and the instructive lessons to be drawn from leaders doing things successfully.
That 70% of executives believe that networking capabilities underpin digital transformation initiatives won’t surprise anyone. Three key findings, however, stand out. The first is the nearly 20 percentage point increase in the leaders who believe that that networking capabilities are fundamental to transformation. The second is that CIOs who have poured resources into DX strategies are finding it difficult to execute on initiatives and worse, not seeing the benefits of their investment. The study goes on to predict that, by as early as 2019, mature digital companies will derive at least 45% of their revenues from digital-related commerce activities.
SAP is another great example of a company harnessing the power of the network to deliver a superior experience for employees and customers around the globe. The company has decided to consolidate management of its global network environment, using next-generation network technologies, including software-defined networking, to build in resilience and scalability while freeing its own people to focus on customer-facing activities.
The best analogy comes from a colleague who likens choosing a network to renovating a house. If you’ve tried to cut corners to save money on a poorly built foundation, it will come to light at the worst possible time.
As you digest the findings, remember that there is a demonstrably tight link between digital leadership and network leadership that offers lessons in organization, investment, and technology and partner selection for all organizations on the DX journey. Here are the six key lessons from digital leaders:
- Become a network leader by investing in leading-edge networking capabilities: A large majority (83.5%) of self-described leading-edge DX organizations also describe themselves as having leading-edge networking capabilities.
- Network leadership supports effective implementation of digital initiatives: Network leadership is clearly established where digital transformation initiatives are up and running.
- Align network planning an digital strategy planning processes: 92% of network leaders work in organizations where network planning and digital strategy planning are part of the same process.
- The right CSP can be an effective primary trusted provider for digital initiatives: Both self-described digital and network leaders indicate a preference for CSPs (or network technology specialists) as trusted providers for digital initiatives over other traditional sources.
- Network leaders are more ambitious and execute digital initiatives at a higher level: Digital initiatives among network leaders are generally more sophisticated and oriented toward disruption relative to the rest of the market.
- Investment in the right places is key to supporting execution: Network leaders are doubling down on investment, raising overall spending on next-generation digital solutions and prioritizing investment in net-new networking technologies that will be essential to effective DX processes.
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