Unlocking new business value through network transformation

9 December 2019 | Francis Prince Thangasamy, Vice President, Product Management, Asia Pacific
The CIO is stepping out of the boardroom and into the offices of different lines of business to influence technology adoption with the next-generation adaptive network.

Modern enterprises are running more diverse business functions with unique and independent demands for technology adoption. Companies still heavily reliant on physical network infrastructures to deliver traditional networking capabilities and resources will have difficulties scaling the core network to continuously meet new demands.

CIOs are on an agenda to move at the speed of business — as such, they must adopt software-defined architectures for their digital transformation journey to improve integration and management of existing network resources. This will help to future proof the core network for more emergent technologies, network hybridization and cloud.

Discover how SDN technologies can help accelerate digital transformation efforts by improving network control, IT productivity and application performance.
The first step is to bring digital transformation to the cloud.

This is the surest way to overcome pressing problems like escalating infrastructure costs, global skills shortage, and hardware-dependent scalability, while drawing the business closer to customers and market opportunities. From there, the modernization journey becomes an ongoing exercise in upgrading the traditional enterprise network to becoming a business-led network. One that can flexibly scale capabilities and cloud connectivity on whichever way the business grows.

This is a mandate for technology leaders in Asia Pacific (APAC), as a host of new demands will soon be nipping at their heels from the region’s acceleration of 5G, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Wi-Fi 6 networks. To put things in perspective, GSMA reported1 that APAC shall be the world’s foremost growth region for IoT, with a 40% share of last year’s total global spend, accounting for 37 of the world’s 110 mobile IoT networks currently deployed. GSMA also forecasts1 that 5G will contribute almost US$900 billion to the APAC economy in the next 15 years. The ball has started rolling with the first nationwide deployment in South Korea earlier this year and by 2025, it will be across 24 markets in the region.

IoT proliferation has a direct impact on enterprise competitiveness. The sooner the data generated across distributed networks is analyzed, the higher the value of the analysis. The ubiquitous low-cost, low-latency connectivity of 5G networks is a significant value proposition to IoT deployments, as it allows analytics to be done on the fly.

With a combination of IoT and cloud further blurring the lines of the network’s edge, CIOs will have more difficulty maintaining control of technology adoption and utilization over their enterprise networks.

CIOs will have more difficulty maintaining control of technology adoption and utilization over their enterprise networks.
The digital transformation of networks is, therefore, changing the relationship between business and technology. Where once CIOs must work with and around network limitations, they are today, surpassing networking limits to meet new business demands. Such digital maturity transcends technology to impact digital transformation of company culture, technology practice, as well as the role and responsibilities of the CIO.

New realities for CIOs

According to the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey2, more organizations worldwide have allocated IT budget increases than at any time in the last 15 years. Yet, in a sign of the times, over 60% of respondents have apportioned it on spends that the CIO has little involvement in.

This is business-managed IT, where lines of business rather than IT teams, decide on technology spend and it is escalating rapidly to become a double-edged sword for the enterprise to wield. On the one hand, bypassing the CIO’s purview can speed up creation and capitalization of new business opportunities, while on the other, the increase in shadow IT could lead to privacy and security risks.

Why does this impact the modern CIO? Because it shifts the role from the absolute controller of technology, to that of a strategic advisor, or “influencer”, for business-managed IT.

CIOs are moving out of the boardrooms, in a strategic rebranding of their role as an influencer, rather than controller, of all things IT.

Leveraging adaptive networking for business agility

The business-led network is a hybridized enterprise network with the flexibility to scale where needed. However, if left to grow unchecked, lines of business can easily derail with piecemeal purchases and turn it into a costly, conflicting mix of different connectivity types from different vendors and service providers. This disparate array of pricing, billing, support, SLAs and value-adds can be a massive challenge to overcome.

By adopting an adaptive networking approach, CIOs can upgrade with new network capabilities but not an infrastructure overhaul. This can be achieved in tandem with optimized network control and management, and proactive security to holistically protect the network and its data.

WATCH: Find out how you can instantly scale bandwidth up to 3x with CenturyLink adaptive networking solutions.

But for many organizations, network transformation of such scale can be a complex endeavor. Here’s a quick checklist for CIOs and IT leaders on how to successfully adopt a modernized approach to networking:

1. Take a holistic view of decentralized network capabilities

When one of your business units needs to roll-out a specific application, CIOs now need to think in terms of managing strategic ecosystems of technology — as opposed to operating centralized, in-house IT. An adaptive networking approach can help by virtualizing multiple network functions, such as load balancing and security, to create the efficiencies needed to let your IT team act as strategic advisors across the enterprise.

2. Supplement your internal IT with external expertise

A lack of in-house talent or tight IT budget is no longer a barrier to building an adaptive network. Today’s CIOs can benefit from partnering with a network service provider who can offer a single source of comprehensive IT consulting and implementation services across the technology lifecycle. Equipped with the resources, experience and proven best practices of a trusted provider, you can more confidently support business units to adopt software-centric network architecture, for example, to optimize data center resources. 

3. Prepare to modernize more than just the network

Partnering with a trusted technology leader deeply familiar with how different CIOs around the world work, brings many advantages to a network modernization project. 

CenturyLink for the adaptive CIO

Partnering with a trusted technology leader deeply familiar with how different CIOs around the world work, brings many advantages to a network modernization project.

A trusted partner can contextualize for the CIO, the latest challenges in the design and implementation of a new solution, to help with advising internal stakeholders on the right way to adopt new technology to meet their objectives, while leveraging the capabilities of the core network.

At CenturyLink, we understand how digital businesses and their networks are evolving together with the de-centralization of IT leadership responsibilities and will work with CIOs on a service-oriented model to quickly meet line-of-business needs with a selection of software-centric and customizable adaptive networking solutions. 

Find out more about our executive-level consulting services to align technology investments with business objectives.

1 GSMA, The Mobile Economy Asia Pacific 2019, 2019
2 KPMG, Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2019: A Changing Perspective, August 2019


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