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Why connectivity is a key to digital transformation

Published: April 9, 2019

All the data and technology in the world won’t move the needle on growing the business if you can’t connect it throughout the enterprise. That’s why any effective digital transformation strategy must first and foremost focus on connectivity.

Digital transformation is taking existing systems, processes, and infrastructure, and digitizing it to connect it all together. By removing physical barriers and data silos, your company can improve communication and collaboration internally among employees, and externally with partners and customers.

Providing connectivity to bring systems and users together in a unified environment will be a core mission for IT teams going forward. In addition, these teams will need to ensure data accessibility for remote employees and mobile-first customers while providing the robust cybersecurity necessary to protect the enterprise from attacks. 

Rather than being treated as an afterthought, connectivity needs to be part of the foundation of a digital transformation strategy. For many enterprises, their network already struggles to provide the bandwidth and reliability required by today’s applications and users as they balance MPLS and internet access. Most importantly, the right combination of connectivity has to be considered in accordance with the performance requirements of the applications being run across the network.  For example, broadband may be attractive based on its low cost, but its performance limitations make it unsuitable to run low latency, real time sensitive mission critical applications.  As new business models and technology advancements are developed (such as real-time manufacturing), connectivity will be the difference between achieving your desired ROI of digital transformation initiatives and finding those initiatives dead on arrival. 

Hardware or software? The answer is both.

A hardware-based approach to expanding and maintaining connectivity can be expensive and time-consuming to implement and manage. On the other hand, virtual network services like software-defined networks can easily scale as needed without adding hardware. Companies can then add bandwidth during growth periods or throttle it back during slower periods, all without having to add or remove servers or wiring. This helps companies boost performance as needed while directing valuable CAPEX to other initiatives, all while giving the company the ability to add a bandwidth-demanding technology or product to their enterprise in days instead of months. 

Virtualization doesn't mean zero hardware; you still need to invest in your physical infrastructure in order to have a network that supports digital transformation success. What it does is provide better connectivity between hardware assets and software, along with the ability to route around bottlenecks and leverage the cloud to improve availability and performance. 

Connectivity is what makes business work.

Connectivity is the linchpin to a number of today’s most significant digital transformation initiatives. Take the Internet of Things (IoT), for example. With enterprises adding thousands or even millions of IoT devices to their networks, they are now able to stay connected to everything from the manufacturing floor to their customers. Each of these devices, sensors and apps need to be able to stay connected to each other and users across the Internet 24/7 while maintaining the security required to protect the network.

Another major trend is mobility. It’s a fact these days that employees and customers are mobile-first. Constant communication and connectivity to the Internet is no longer something that’s nice to have; it’s a necessity for work and life. Your business must be able to provide the connectivity necessary to enable employees to work anywhere, allow customers to connect to your business on the go, and to keep data flowing back and forth between potentially millions of mobile devices from around the world. 

Cloud storage, SaaS use, Big Data, artificial intelligence and more: the list of bandwidth-heavy scenarios goes on. To handle it all, a low-latency, high-capacity, flexible and scalable connectivity solution will be the first step to success. 

Learn more from the digital transformation resources we have developed to help you understand what you need to do drive a successful transformation. By understanding the barriers to digital transformation, you can provide your company with the network and connectivity it needs to keep up and compete.