An abundance of affordable network capacity is reducing the intelligent and strategic use of infrastructure a group of leading CIOs said at a recent Horizon Business Innovation event. No enterprise can deliver on digital opportunities, whether they be new ways of serving customers or new business processes without a strong infrastructure, but many organisations are reliant on cheap capacity instead of smart usage it was revealed.
“Performance and responsiveness times are absolutely critical for us, so infrastructure uptime is really important,” a CIO from retail services described. A CIO from the travel sector concurred adding that in airports the exterior view of a calm organisation is very different behind the scenes.
Business challenges are placing increasing demand on networks and many organisation are putting more water in the bucket rather than fixing the bucket.
“We have had quick transactions through the M&A process and that has meant no consolidation, and we need to consolidate as we have grown exponentially and we have inherited some scary stuff,” a CIO from fast moving consumer goods expressed of how networks sprawl during business growth. “We didn’t know how many assets we have on the network.”
A lack of intelligence about the network infrastructure that a CIO is responsible for can lead to problems. CIOs from retail and professional services told Horizon of organisations facing failure during peak trading times. In both cases, a fast growing national supermarket chain and a global provider of critical business information and services were able to better segment and improve performance to their business through management and intelligence of the network.
Building a digital enterprise can lead organisations to focus on new technologies and methods. The importance of these was clear to the attendees, but organisations can only really create a digital enterprise with strong infrastructure foundations. In recent years CIOs looking to modernise their network infrastructure have had a range of new opportunities available to them. Software defined networks (SDN) have been portrayed as a silver bullet solution for CIOs with infrastructure complexity, but business technology leaders suggest that in truth SDN makes it easier for organisations to “deploy more network”.
“The cost of bandwidth keeps coming down, so in a way you are getting away with it,” one CIO was bold enough to admit of the commodity view that CIOs can develop towards network infrastructure.
Horizon event partners Infovista, a network performance orchestration provider and Intergence experts in optimisation described an analogy of the need to have overhead motorway cameras on the network infrastructure in order to be in a position to create a digital enterprise.
“It’s about how you can enable the next generation of customer experience and to do that you also want to make use of what you have already invested in, but to be a highly flexible business,” a business technology leader from travel revealed.
Attendees raised how important a strong and intelligent infrastructure strategy is in the development of a digital enterprise.
“Some users believe it the application and some the network and a new investment can get really drowned if you don’t know how to analyse that,” a CIO with retail experience said of the key role intelligence plays in understanding how to deploy a digital enterprise strategy.
Analysing and understanding the performance of the network is as important as analysing and understanding of the IT team and highlight successes.
“No one goes to the doctor to tell them how healthy they are, the user always sees the negative,” one technology leader observed and many of the attendees agreed that IT departments need to celebrate their successes.
“We don’t count the goals, it is so important for IT people,” one said CIO with another adding that organisations should get an independent view of their successes.”
The digital enterprise will become a reality, but will only have a successful impact if organisations can analyse their the performance, rationalise technology and be intelligence led in the use of all assets.