Leverage the Network Infrastructure for Competitive Success

  • Executive Summary
  • Situation Overview
  • Midmarket IT Spending Priorities, 2012 and 2013

Midsize firms from every region and industry are finding themselves under increasing pressure to improve productivity and business performance. Firms with 100 up to 1,000 or even 2,500 employees are still agile enough to respond to new opportunities, but they typically lack the comprehensive resources of larger companies to empower workers, manage processes, and generally drive successful customer engagement.

Beyond bring your own device (BYOD) is now an all-encompassing mobility: business-to employee mobility, with anytime and anywhere access to relevant business applications from any device, and business-to-end customer mobility, with personalized experiences.

Consider the major technology megatrends affecting firms of all sizes today — the merging of mobility and cloud. Beyond bring your own device (BYOD) is now an all-encompassing mobility: business-to employee mobility, with anytime and anywhere access to relevant business applications from any device, and business-to-end customer mobility, with personalized experiences. While large firms have a variety of homegrown and external solutions that they can develop or acquire, midsize firms typically lack access to solutions that effectively correspond to their needs. This challenge of “rightsizing” solutions can take three different forms:

  • Is a firm’s network ready for the increased demands of mobility and cloud?
  • Are management resources in place to ensure effective operation and control?
  • Are security safeguards in place to support company- and employee-managed endpoints in a way that encourages productivity advances while not opening up the company to major vulnerabilities?

This white paper examines the opportunity midmarket firms have in leveraging network infrastructure for competitive success in the new cloud and mobility era. Midmarket firms can improve their competitive position by providing more efficient access to advanced productivity resources.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

A Strong Network Is Essential to Support Next-Generation Resources

While exciting new cloud and mobile applications get growing attention from the general business and technology press, basic network fundamentals continue to be at the heart of technology deployment for midsize firms. In fact, IDC research shows that interest in improving network capabilities has been increasing as a technology spending priority for midsize firms (see Figure 1).

Midmarket IT Spending Priorities, 2012 and 2013

Q. In thinking about your company’s technology spending priorities for the next 12 months, what are the most important priorities?

Source: IDC’s SMB Survey, 2012 and 2013

It is with good reason that midmarket firms are increasing their focus on improving their network: IDC’s Business Value research shows the midmarket firms that upgrade their networks boost agility and related factors that can drive competitive advantage. Today’s IT model is complex and not fast enough as network configuration is done on a box-by-box manual basis with difficult to provision and troubleshoot networkwide security, path optimization, QoS, and policy compliance.

As a result, network administrators spend a lot of their time on network operations, with little time left for anything else. These manual, repetitive, and tedious tasks get worse as you scale from hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of devices. IDC interviewed 13 organizations ranging in size from 45 to 2,500 employees regarding their recent initiatives to improve their network capabilities.

Their efforts were dedicated to implementing network improvements (namely SDN) to enable common and consistent user experiences with applications, regardless of device location or connectivity. This effort required solutions enabling centralized management of all network resources to include integrated security solutions.

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