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Gearing up for the final lap of Digital Transformation with SD-WAN

Bjorn Engelhardt, Senior Vice President of Riverbed Asia Pacific & Japan | Nov. 3, 2016
The network is the driving force in meeting the needs of the future enterprise – it needs to be flexible and adaptable to handle the increasing demands of disruptive technologies and business models.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach. 

The race towards digital transformation (DX) is on. Organisations are increasingly gearing up for DX in order to drive new sources of competitive differentiation and successful business outcomes. Driven by a combination of customer expectations and major advances in key enabling technologies, it's a race that's disrupting business models across all industries. And nowhere is this truer than in Asia Pacific, a region accelerating its pace of DX as observed by IDC in a recent whitepaper.

Yet despite the intensifying speed of change - and the more than 60% of the region's largest organisations slated to move DX to the centre of their corporate strategy by the end of 2017 - almost half (45.4%) of them are still at a nascent stage of DX, operating on an ad-hoc level. This is the first stage of DX maturity, where basic DX capabilities and digital solutions have yet to be established and adopted - a stage where the organisation's ability to react to, anticipate, and disrupt the industries they operate in is limited. So what's causing the unusually long hold up at this pit stop?

Accelerating innovation on legacy networks

Organisations are arguably looking to advance towards the finish line for DX because it has the potential to positively impact almost every area that matters to the business: revenue growth, efficiency, cost-savings, security and compliance to name a few. Yet many fail to take into consideration the significant demands placed by DX and cloud-first initiatives on the network. Consider: apps growing in number and coming from everywhere, 3.7 billion connected devices and 6.75TB of data consumption per user per day by 2018, as well as added complexities as organisations move towards a hybrid cloud future.

While the remainder of the IT stack has evolved significantly to meet the demands of the digital enterprise, the network hasn't evolved as quickly. It's no wonder APAC organisations are lagging behind. Much like a sleek, cutting-edge car running on an outdated engine would fail to break any speed records, implementing shiny new disruptive technologies on outdated legacy networks will most likely result in a failure to scale digital initiatives.  In order to cope with the increasing demands of a cloud-centric world, a fundamental rethink of how the network is built and managed is needed.

Rethinking the network with SD-WAN

Legacy approaches to managing distributed networks and routing - which are hardware-bound, hard-coded, inflexible and error-prone - haven't changed much in 20 years. The good news is that networks are finally starting to move out of the pit lane and on to the racetrack. In a digital era that demands unrivaled business and IT agility, the introduction of technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) as well as radical new application-defined approaches to the wide-area network (WAN) are helping an increasing number of enterprises smoothly shift gears for success.


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