Indian Enterprises’ Future Depends on Modern Networks

In 2018, the Indian internet turns 18, the age of maturity. A person born in 1990 will have entered the workplace, and he/she is used to having the world, literally, at their fingertips. They don’t know what waiting for connecting to the internet on a desktop dial-up connection feels like or waiting overnight to download one song. This impatient generation is the workforce of today and the business leaders of tomorrow. And how they work has a significant impact on every single business across industries.

A study by Google found websites that load in 5 seconds against 19 seconds witnessed 25% higher ad views, 70% longer average sessions and 35% lower bounce rates. As more companies embrace the cloud and digital business transformation becomes the new norm, flexible, reliable and adaptable networks have become even more important to driving business growth. With everything – data, apps, money and identities – transacted through networks, they’ve become the single-biggest factor holding back or taking forward the organizations of today.

At the heart of all this transformation are the next-generation networks that power the ever-shifting fabric of applications and digital experiences that companies rely on to succeed. The environments in which businesses operate are continually evolving and changing daily, which means those networks have to be agile and adaptive, yet secure and reliable. In fact, in a recent survey by Riverbed, 98% of Indian respondents (CIOs and IT decision-makers) agree that moving to a next generation network infrastructure is critical to keep up with the needs of their business and end users. Unfortunately, 79% of these same decision makers say they are still several years away from reaching the full potential of digital transformation that a next generation network can provide.

If we had to describe in one word the legacy networks that are holding back many Indian organizations, it would be ‘dysfunctional’. More than 42% of Indian ITDMs report that they frequently experience cloud-related network issues specifically caused by legacy infrastructure. Legacy networks are simply a poor fit for delivering the scale, compute power, elasticity, reliability and availability that the cloud promises. These cloud-related network issues and downtimes have the potential to impact employee productivity, sales and revenue opportunities, customer satisfaction and even employee morale.

Given how important networks have become to enterprises’ ability to connect employees and customers, this is an unacceptable state of affairs and requires a complete reimagining of how the network is built and set up. That is exactly what software-defined networks – SD-WAN – allow, and it is now past the hype phase.

SD-WAN is a complete rethink of the network, where it becomes cloud-like to enable delivery of dynamic, rich digital services quickly and easily. The promise of SD-WAN is the ability to use business policies to automate and orchestrate all the components of digital access across a global, unified network. It requires a large number of technical innovations, capabilities, and integrations in order to transform the complex into the simple, the manual into the automated, and the fragmented into a unified whole.

Many companies have done pilot projects and proofs-of-concept and are now moving to enterprise-scale. With successful large- scale deployments, SD-WAN is becoming a trusted technology critical to maximizing the value of the cloud. In fact, Indian IT decision-makers see SD-WAN as critical to next-generation networks, central to realizing the value of the cloud, and enabling digital transformation, and the tipping point for adoption is just around the corner.

A staggering majority (i.e. 92%) of Indian respondents to the Riverbed survey expected to benefit from SD-WAN in the next four years, with over half indicating that this would happen in two years. Top issues they hope their companies will alleviate by migrating to SD-WAN include: network complexity (54%), high hardware costs (50%), lack of network and application visibility (49%), poor cloud application performance (48%) and insufficient bandwidth (48%). Other significant factors driving the move towards next-generation networking technology include achieving digital transformation initiatives, strategic move to cloud and hybrid networks, growing need for mobility, support for IoT devices, and rising customer and end-user expectations.

Networks need to be resilient enough to maintain performance levels even while the business demands become more intense and less predictable. Digital transformation initiatives will place far more pressure on the network by way of higher workloads and data movement. Anchoring next generation networking infrastructure with SD-WAN technology will have many positive outcomes for the enterprise, from operational efficiencies to a positive impact on the bottom line. The next wave of disruption and productivity improvements is upon us, and that means opportunity for the digital enterprise — if you are following the right roadmap.

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