ASHOK KUMAR, Vice President. Cisco Services, Cisco, India SAARC
Technology-enhanced Corporation is the next wave of opportunity for innovation and transformation for businesses. In fact, collaboration is one of the most important tools to help increase an organization's agility and deliver new levels of productivity. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts that by the end of this year, 62 percent of employees will work with teams in different locations, and by 2011, 30 percent of the global workforce will work remotely. To corroborate this, take the aver-age employee - he carries a PDA and a laptop, and is constantly connected to colleagues, partners and customers via e-mail, IM, Twitter, Linkedln and a host of other web 2.0 applications.
In addition, with close to 14 billion devices connected to the Internet, we are in the midst of an evolving digital culture where employees are looking for a secure and stable network to help them remain productive no matter where and when they work. To meet these expectations, businesses need to create a cohesive strategy that keeps its separate parts working as a whole towards its overarching business goals. Yet many enterprises have grown their IT infrastructures in ways that isolate resources to support individual transactions. This approach results in silos of information and applications. Hampering access to networked resources. And enabling interaction can only be achieved by generating a strategically planned IT evolution.
Need of the hour
Today's intelligent networks have to be built with strategic roadmaps steering them toward peak technical and business performance. So, if organizations want to stay competitive, they have to migrate to more resilient, flexible architectures that support expansion and adapt to the changing marketplace requirements. With an intelligent network as a platform being utilized as a tool for change, businesses can achieve new efficiencies, integrate network collaboration and business process applications and increase productivity.
Moreover, when companies virtualise crucial network functions and improve collaboration, they get more from their resources and can move and manage assets with greater flexibility. Using this approach, an enterprise can evolve to an intelligent network that makes the most of resources, applications and business processes and enables IT to add value to the organization's business. Going in for advisory services to plan the network while integrating new technologies can:
- Seamlessly integrate technologies such as voice and video into a secure converged network.
- Align IT investments closely with business strategy and goals.
- Deploy new applications quickly and enable them to communicate and collaborate effectively.
- Allocate more of the budget for network expansion by lowering operational costs through virtualization of IT resources.
- Move the business environment from transactions to interactions.
- Maintain network health and continuously improve performance.
What the future holds
Such a converged IT architecture transforms the network into a plat-form for network service delivery while optimizing business applications. Enhancing collaboration and virtual sing resources. Using an architectural approach also allows for a new conversation to take place - businesses can talk about capabilities and how these capabilities are leveraged across the enterprise to deliver business value instead of just talking about products and features. Because the network often trans-ports data, controls the entire communication system and enables the mobility of the workforce, it becomes crucial to maintain the ongoing health of a network.
For example, imagine a high profile customer making an online transaction based on the current stock market price. In the middle of his net banking process, the network suddenly fails, causing a downtime of ten minutes. During this time, the stock price has fluctuated and the customer incurs a huge loss because his transaction did not take place in real time. In the BFSI sector, such a scenario is unacceptable. Such an incident can best be avoided by allowing experts to assist in monitoring the network, resolving problems and managing changes.
In the future, as the organization adapts to change, the lifecycle begins anew - continually evolving the network and improving results. Hence, a successful business will be one that has a structured path for growth. So, the need of the hour is a plan that combines customized technology solutions and services that not only helps meet business challenges of today, but also maximizes the future potential of technology investments.