As mobile devices, cloud computing and big data become even more vital to organizations, the underlying enterprise architecture powering it all will have to evolve. This creates further growth opportunities for Internet and telecommunications service providers that support these initiatives, although it also presents a number of key challenges.
According to Gartner, IT networking resources have become more central to business profitability than ever before thanks to the “Nexus of Forces,” which the research firm said included enterprise mobility, social media, the Internet of Things and big data-related analytics. Over the next few months and years, organizations will have to shift their enterprise architecture and infrastructure design to better equip themselves to leverage these forces.
“Senior business executives are challenging CIOs and their IT organizations to be at the front of digital strategy, identifying innovative new business models and technologies, and getting more business value out of each technology investment,” Marcus Blosch, research vice president at Gartner, said in a recent release. “Enterprise architects can provide unique capabilities to help CIOs develop a new agenda for ‘hunting and harvesting’ in a digital world.”
In order to best prepare for this paradigm shift. corporate IT departments investing in new hardware and skills training to better equip internal teams to meet these evolving end-user demands. However, a key part of this will involve more extensive involvement from the company’s telecommunications and Internet service provider to make sure they are able to supply the business with the bandwidth needed to effectively support these forces. After all, while a company can implement a state-of-the-art cloud computing solution, it will have no way of accessing it if their ISP is unable to support the transfer of data between the remotely hosted offering and the end user.
Can service providers cope?
With more companies raising the stakes when it comes to their enterprise architecture, the question then turns to whether the telecommunications and Internet SPs are able to keep up with demand. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Forecast from May, the amount of global IP traffic should rise from 523 exabytes in 2012 to 1.4 zettabytes by 2017. In that period, broadband speeds worldwide are expected to grow from 11.3 Mbps to 39 Mbps. As traffic and corporate demand rises, SPs that rely on legacy networking equipment may have a far more difficult time providing basic IT functionality.
“Cisco’s VNI Forecast once again showcases the seemingly insatiable demand for bandwidth around the globe and provides insights on the architectural considerations necessary to deliver on the ever-increasing experiences being delivered,” Doug Webster, Cisco’s vice president of product and solutions marketing, said in May. “With more and more people, things, processes and data being connected in the Internet of Everything, the intelligent network and the service providers who operate them are more relevant than ever.”
In order to meet these end-user demands, service providers will have to upgrade their networking infrastructure or else find themselves being passed over by potential clients. For example, Atria Networks in 2009 turned to IT consulting services FlexITy to help them install next-generation Cisco hardware and networking capacity. Thanks to this move, the SP is now able to provide better solutions to more customers in Ontario.