Beyond the pandemic: why your network matters more than ever

John Morrison, SVP International Markets at Extreme Networks explains how Cloud networks are the route to adapting, innovating and surviving, by increasing business intelligence, resilience and efficiency.

by Management Today Staff
Last Updated: 01 Jul 2020

Digital transformation was always inevitable. But the sheer scale of recent events has rapidly accelerated the need for every business to adopt innovative, agile and transformative technologies. This has understandably caught many business leaders off guard. Faced with unprecedented pressures across their operations, they have found themselves strapped to a rocket blasting towards the future of work with no sign of slowing down.

But what that future looks like is still unclear. Organisations in every sector must navigate the changing business landscape while also mapping out their route to economic recovery. This includes the need to make decisions on where best to invest often limited budget to ensure an organisation is ready for whatever might happen. Despite this uncertainty, one thing is clear: long-term business success requires new levels of organisational agility, flexibility and security.

The key that unlocks the full potential of a business – now and in the future – is a cloud-driven network infrastructure. Only a cloud network offers secure access from anywhere, without a virtual private network (VPN). It also provides a consistent, reliable and robust user experience – a key factor to maintaining a high degree of productivity. So why are networks so essential in helping businesses survive in these tough economic times and how will they set enterprises up for success? 

Resilience through agility 

Not all networks are infallible. With businesses forced to connect employees securely and remotely, the ability to manage a distributed working environment with ease has become crucial. Any strain on an already struggling network, from the number of devices to the amount of people using it, can have a detrimental impact – from limiting connectivity to preventing teams from working productively. 

High-levels of video calls, large volumes of new remote devices connecting to the network, and the need to pull large files from servers, have all significantly impacted network performance as well as the ability to do business for organisations who have not yet set up with their network infrastructure in the cloud. Many businesses already have some sort of remote support in place but were ill-equipped to deal with their entire workforce working from home.

If teams cannot connect with each other, or source the information they need, they can’t work effectively. It should be every business leader’s priority to ensure that the technology they deploy is agile enough to support distributed work, seamlessly and securely at scale. Only then can businesses truly achieve resilience.

What makes a network ready for the future?

Networks operate behind the scenes and their business value may not be immediately obvious, but network technologies form the core architecture of a business. Yet, decision makers often fail to consider them when planning their digital transformation strategies. As a result, businesses can find themselves relying on outdated networks that fail to cope with increased traffic, fail to support the latest tech integrations, and generally provide poor connectivity. And ultimately, productivity flatlines. 

As flexible working becomes the norm and employees continue to work more from home and have greater need to use IoT devices in their daily work, modern networks need to be able to support remote working environments. Compared to wired and wireless solutions, cloud-based infrastructure centralises everything into a single, secure, reliable and agile hub. Cloud-networks are ready for the future. 

Cloud-based networks can offer business leaders several benefits. First, speed: decision makers can take stock of what infrastructure is in place and quickly assess resources and network performance. Second, savings: flexible public and private cloud offerings reduce capital and operational cost – slashing management and maintenance overheads. And, third, unlimited growth scaling: new and additional devices can be incorporated easily when needed. 

At the same time, cloud networks can unlock new potential through the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These AI and ML technologies provide powerful business intelligence that informs strategies and decision making. 

We’ve also recently become the first networking company to offer unlimited data to cloud customers. With this, businesses can gain unprecedented access to historical data to inform future planning via a single, centralised management tool. 

For example, a retailer can review data from Black Fridays year-over-year and make strategic decisions that result in increased sales. Or a stadium can leverage precise data and insights from previous events over multiple years to inform new investments in fan experience. With all this intelligence business leaders can ultimately choose how to allocate future tech budgets, resources and investments, so they can ensure a strong return on investment in the long-term.

Ultimately, a cloud network offers increased availability, flexibility, and reduced operational complexity to support the ever-increasing connectivity demands of modern businesses.

The journey towards continued digital transformation, and survival

For many years, it has been universally recognised that digital transformation is an essential enabler of the future of work. Yet, recent global events have increased the pressure on businesses to adapt rapidly. Now is the time for businesses to consider how their organisation can future-proof every investment. 

Underpinning an organisation's digital transformation is its network. The network is the determining factor for how rapidly, comprehensively and securely every employee – and every app and device they use – can work. 

Cloud networks are the route to not only adapting, but innovating and surviving, by increasing business intelligence, resilience and efficiency. If a business wants to future-proof its organisation, teams and the tools they use, choosing the right network must become the essential foundation of their digital strategy. 

If you want to find out more about how an agile, resilient and robust cloud-based network infrastructure can help your business, please visit https://www.extremenetworks.com/

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