Today digital transformation initiatives are at the center of business strategies, and by understanding what is IT transformation the correlation between these two becomes evident. However and to a large extent, over the past five years, compute and data center infrastructure has taken the lead in transformation, supporting private, public and hybrid cloud strategies above anything else. More often than not, network transformation has been left behind, becoming a constraint to many digital initiatives.
Think about it, most of today’s networks were designed years ago where the main goal was to provide fast and reliable connectivity, but the new demands of digital transformation initiatives that include scale, agility, security where never contemplated in the old equation.
So in this "new digital era" where everything runs through the network, where processes, organizations, devices, countries, cities, workers, customers, and partners are connected through the network, how can you ensure a transformed, digital ready network?
Goals of Digital Ready Networks
Let's start by the fundamentals. At the center of this network transformation endeavor four main areas are critical to success: Agility, cost- efficiency, analytics and security.
- Improve Agility and Faster Innovation. Align to the business strategy, the need to have a network that fuels change and fast-paced innovations responding quickly to new business demands and application requirements. Delivering valuable real-time insights.
- Reduce Cost and Complexity. Simplifies network operations and uses resources efficiently, freeing funds for business innovation. Streamlining these processes also enhances business agility which is needed to deploy new business-enabling applications and services and bring new products and services to market faster.
- Real-time Analytics. Having a transformed digital-ready network will allow you to gain visibility into areas that where a shadow before.With machine learning and AI capabilities, digital networks are able to automate performance optimization actions based in real-time data.
- Lower Security Risk as it provides a platform for proactively protecting the business, its data, and users. A digital-ready business requires an infrastructure capable of dealing with emerging threats and attacks as they happen.
Key principles that contribute to deliver a digital ready network
Considering the business goals of a digital ready-network: agility, cost efficiency, analytics, and security. The question remains, how can your IT team deliver a digital ready network? Where to start?
As the global-leader in network technologies and solutions, Cisco has developed the Digital Network Readiness framework to help companies navigate the path. This model comprehends five steps in which change occur to the point where your network is fully ready to deal with digital demands.
This framework also covers some of the improvements in key capabilities that must occur at every step of the model. These are:
- Network Architecture Strategy. What approach will you follow to architect your network? Important considerations such as management strategy, life-cycle management, governance and compliance must be defined at each stage of the digital network readiness.
- Automation. The role of automation in reducing operation costs and freeing up resources is fundamental for the model, it will allow you to improve service levels and respond quicker to new service requirements.
- Network-enabled Service Assurance. How are you aligning Quality of Experience (QoE) with explicit and implied business intent. This applies to all applications, services, users, devices, and locations.
- Network-enabled Analytics and Insight. Perhaps one of the most important capabilities, as it provides you real-time data that can be used to make optimizations to your performance. Contextualizing who, where, when, what, how, and why allows you to better prepare to supply the demands of you users and applications.
- Network Security. Gain visibility into all network traffic to rapidly detect and respond to threats, reducing risk and meeting compliance requirements.
A digital-ready network needs to be able to continuously adapt understanding policies and needs of the business to make the necessary changes on a real-time basis. For IT to keep up with the rate of change and with the new demands of the digital network, it needs to make its operations more agile and responsive. Frameworks like the The Cisco Network Readiness help you identify the necessary steps in the path and navigate your way to a digital-ready network.
Digital Network Readiness Model
The Cisco Digital Network Readiness Model has been created to help customers gain a clearer picture of where they are on this journey and gain visibility into the opportunities and benefits of evolving to the next stage. The model is intended as a framework and guide that each organization can use and customize to suit its own needs and priorities.