It’s almost mind-boggling when you think about how quickly technology evolves. It’s even more shocking to think about how quickly we, as humans, adapt to the new technology that is now available at our fingertips. Granted, we don’t have much say in how new technologies are shaping our world. With tech giants like Apple and Microsoft driving the evolution of technology forward, we either choose to move forward with them, or be left behind with outdated and slow devices.
While we’ve seen tremendous advances when it comes to our personal technology, most of us can agree that our workplaces haven’t quite caught up. In fact, it may feel like our workplaces are perpetually at least ten years behind. Let’s face it, technology, software and systems that were designed years ago, do not possess the power, bandwidth or security to successfully sustain an organization’s IT department. It’s true that today’s buzzword is digital transformation and it’s an initiative every CIO and organization are facing.
However, while the need to modernize is apparent and understood, there’s a slew of challenges and obstacles organizations face when taking on a digital transformation program. Despite the issues modernization brings to light, there are far more long-term benefits that come with a successful digital transformation initiative.
Understanding the Need for Digital Transformation
Simply put, an outdated data center is costing your organization money and the upkeep just isn’t worth it anymore. Plus, in today’s sophisticated virtual world, cyber-attacks are becoming harder and harder to detect. If your organization is relying on outdated technology, you’re taking a reactive approach to security and are considered a high risk for a cyber attack. The cost, coupled with weakened security, are two important driving forces behind the need to modernize.
Another very real need for digital transformation is talent. You obviously want the best of the best working for your company. Top talent is what allows your organization to evolve, progress and succeed. But, the top talent you’re looking to attract, will not be incentivized to work for a company that operates on systems older than they are. The future is now and it’s sleek, innovative and responsive.
Lastly, culture is also pushing modernization efforts. Digital transformation creates a culture that is collaborative and gives employees the power to work anywhere. Collaboration and transparency across all teams is vital for unified success and clear communication. At best, it is a team effort and ultimately the pace your organization modernizes happens at the speed of culture.
Digital Transformation is a Continuous Process
Most organizations’ attempts at digital transformation will fail. We’re not trying to be all gloom and doom here but we are trying to paint a realistic picture of what a modernization initiative entails. The reason for a failed attempt is that most CIOs and organizations try to attempt modernization all at once. This “one and done” approach simply will not cut it.
It’s best to think of modernization as a continual project and to take it on in small bites. The agile methodology is the best way to approach your organization’s digital transformation. Take a look at your IT department and prioritize the areas where modernization is needed most. That way, you can forecast and strategically map out a continuous digital transformation which is more likely to end up being successful.
If you’re still on the fence about beginning your modernization efforts, take a look at this quote from Gartner. “By 2023, organizations that adeptly use proven behavioral science techniques to drive workforce digital dexterity will be twice as likely to be listed as “top-performing” than those that don’t.” In summary, successfully digitally transforming now will result in more money for you and your organization.
Networking Must Transform to Enable Digital Transformation Success
This constant change has been focused mainly in the in applications and infrastructure arena, and as a result, demand for network agility is on the rise, but networks and the equipment that drives them them have remained largely unchanged. SD-WANs and similar technologies have introduced some abstraction into site-to-site connectivity, but are often location, hardware, and service-provider specific. The modularity that makes digital transformation so powerful requires a paradigm shift, where network edges are no longer defined by physical locations, but by application endpoints. Enter NetFoundry and application-specific networking (ASN).
With application-specific networking, dependency on private circuits, proprietary hardware, and traditional telco solutions is eliminated. Our technology makes it possible to spin up highly secure, performant, app-specific networks at scale through a centralized, web-based console. These “AppWANs” abstract the network in the same way that containers and virtual machines abstract applications from underlying compute infrastructure. There are three key components that make this possible:
1. An administrator uses NetFoundry’s console and APIs to design cloud-native, app-specific networks (AppWANs). AppWANs are programmatically controlled by application contexts and needs. The console and APIs enable the administrator to leverage orchestrators and integrations to enforce their policies, without needing to manage the orchestrator infrastructure itself.
2. Each AppWAN is managed by a NetFoundry orchestrator. Each orchestrator manages private network overlays, enabling the administrator to benefit from NetFoundry’s network fabric, without needing to manage the underlying networks. Orchestrators interact with business and application systems such as IAM, IoT identity, and cloud policies to enable each AppWAN to be programattically controlled by the app contexts and needs.
3. NetFoundry’s global network fabric and endpoint software enables secure, reliable networking from anywhere to anywhere. NetFoundry endpoint software connects to the fabric from any Internet connection, extending each AppWAN to the application edge. The software is installed on personal devices, deployed on edges (enterprise, IoT, cloud) as vCPE, and integrated with apps via APIs and SDKs. The software routes each session to the NetFoundry network fabric, and adaptively manages QoE during each session.
Moreover, since digital transformation is a gradual process, NetFoundry gives businesses the ability to meet the needs of the digitally transformed application environment, while interworking with existing networks and systems to continue to serve current needs. As business services are modularized in the transformation, AppWANs can be spun up, segmented, and adjusted in real-time to secure and connect them to the rest of company ecosystem.