Digital Transformation Calls for Investment at the Network Edge

Digital-first business strategies need networks that fully support such plans.

December 27, 2018

4 Min Read
Digital transformation

By Gordon Mackintosh


Gordon Mackintosh

Digital transformation is here and businesses need to ensure their network infrastructure is optimized to support new technologies being deployed in their pursuit to achieve greater performance and more impactful business outcomes.

According to a recent study, 89 percent of enterprises either plan to adopt, or have already adopted, a digital-first business strategy. This presents an incredible opportunity for both resellers and system integrators looking to provide solutions for customers on their digital transformation journey.

The key enabler of digital transformation is an organization’s network infrastructure. With the advent of IoT, pervasive mobility and growing cloud service adoption, the network has become increasingly distributed, and the need for faster compute and connectivity at the edge has never been more pronounced.

The edge is where employees, customers, partners and vendors all connect and right now there are a plethora of hardware, operating systems and services in play that make it hard for businesses to adapt as their needs evolve. By offering customers innovative network edge solutions that are flexible, agile and easily compatible with existing infrastructure, system integrators and resellers can help customers future-proof their businesses while increasing revenue streams.

That said, getting a networking edge strategy wrong can have catastrophic effects, so it’s important to carefully consider how new and different solutions can contribute to a customer’s larger strategic goals.

Below are some common challenges and scenarios that we’ve seen where strategic edge network solutions can help.

  • Security: The network edge has become an attack surface, and with 30 billion connected IoT devices expected by 2020, the management and security of these devices coming onto the network presents new challenges, as traffic no longer enters through a single point. This means that resellers and system integrators must ensure that their customers have effective solutions at the network edge to keep their devices secure. Deploying productivity-enhancing technologies, including IP communications, management and security services that integrate with campus and core solutions, can provide customers with a comprehensive view of the network, and the ability to see a 360-degree view of users and devices.

  • Performance: Increasingly, users look to cloud solutions for faster and simpler application delivery. Public cloud adoption is projected to grow 21.4 percent in 2018 to total $186.4 billion, up from $153.5 billion in 2017, and offloading compute resources is becoming the norm. When this growth is combined with the growth of IoT, the ability to manage all of this data becomes challenging. With edge computing, businesses can process data at or near the source for reduced latency and faster issue resolution, instead of relying on the cloud at one of a dozen data centers to do all the work.

  • Customer Experience: According to IDC, organizations are increasingly considering the ecosystem of customers and business partners to be an essential source of innovation. For enterprises to succeed today, it is imperative they differentiate and personalize services to meet the unique needs of their customers. Edge devices running on high-performance networks, with capabilities like analytics and artificial intelligence, make it easy for network administrators to optimize network performance, precisely target customers and monetize the network. By analyzing network and user behaviors and shaping them accordingly with business insights, contextual information, and location-based and application analytics, businesses can optimize and personalize the engagement and experiences of end users in real time. Resellers and system integrators that arm their customers with these technologies give them the ability to adapt as business needs change.

Resellers and system integrators should have a conversation with …

… their customers regarding their network edge strategy, specifically around megatrends like IoT, security and AI. The partner relationship becomes stronger when they help the customer transform to meet clear business outcomes. To ensure that customers can be successful in this journey, it’s important to pay close attention to edge investments and explore how innovations in technology can help meet these needs.

Gordon Mackintosh is vice president of worldwide channels at Extreme Networks. He is responsible for the ongoing development of Extreme’s partner program, which provides the company’s global partner ecosystem with new revenue streams and growth opportunities. Most recently, he worked with his team to develop Extreme’s unified partner program, combining existing and acquired technologies into one holistic offering. Gordon previously held leadership roles in sales and the channel at Cisco where he developed go-to-market strategies for Catalyst Switching and was the head of distribution and SMB in the U.K. He was also involved in developing Cisco’s partner strategy. Follow him on LinkedIn or Twitter @ExtremeNetworks.

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