<em>Welcome to part 2 of the series “How to Implement a Successful Network Transformation”.  It’s vital that companies recognize the time for Network Transformation is long before they “need” it, so this article will address what often inspires such an undertaking.</em>

<strong>What Inspires Network Transformation?</strong>

“IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CIO Agenda 2016 Predictions” data shows that two-thirds of CEOs plan to focus on digital transformation strategies for 2016, and that CIOs will be major players in leading every department through this shift.  It also predicts by 2017, “60 percent of digital transformation initiatives will not be able to scale because of a lack of strategic architecture.” A coordinated approach to this change will be vital to success, the report found.

The enterprise application environments are changing quickly from a dedicated environment to cloud-enabled solutions.  Gaining control over network performance and cost involves understanding where applications are in the cloud – and then getting closer to them and controlling data flow to the cloud.

These triggers often show up in the enterprise’s bottom line, making change urgent.  For one Canadian auto parts retailer, it was clear that an aging data system need an overhaul sooner rather than later.  “The company’s stores had multiple legacy voice and data systems that did not provide the performance and cost structure necessary to meet business goals over the next three to five years,” the company IT leader said.

There’s often a compelling event that inspires an enterprise to explore the possibility of Network Transformation.  The big push is often a combination of cost and performance such as being unable to control network latency on MPLS networks resulting in slow performance, out of control costs, lack of skilled workforce, acquisition of another company, etc.

The realization that change is necessary may come gradually; a successful company grows its IT network over time, starting with a data center, then a network solution, and then adding to that solution piecemeal.  At some point, technology will bypass the network, overwhelming any spot fixes that have been made.

As a result, it’s vital that companies recognize that the time for Network Transformation is long before they “need” it, not when things become untenable.  It’s important to recognize that these challenges don’t exist only within the enterprise; they are influenced by things moving quickly in the world of technology.  Increased data demands and the convergence of new application needs only magnify internal IT challenges as existing carriers with legacy networks aren’t able to keep up with network architecture needs.  On a cloud-enabled network, data can come from anywhere at any time, but legacy networks aren’t designed to optimize that traffic.

<strong>How to Prepare for Network Transformation?</strong>

The most important thing IT departments can do to prepare for a Network Transformation is to understand the importance of using a deliberate approach.   Figure out your strategy, then develop a plan and execute it.  Working through the shift haphazardly or trying to make a change only when the existing organization resources “have time” to do so will result in chaos.

Before an enterprise gets started on the process, it will need to examine internal barriers and challenges that may slow or delay the transformation.  Finding someone who can help with the planning and implementation, identify the right solution for your needs and who can manage the new solution will go a long way toward addressing these issues.

Every enterprise will have a different path through Network Transformation depending on size, industry, resources and other factors.  The evaluation and strategy development can be done in two to four months and the implementation of the solution can take six to 18 months, but it’s worth the patient effort.

Join us in the upcoming final article of our NT Blog series: “<strong>How to Implement a Successful Network Transformation – Part 3: What to Expect.”</strong>