How an organisation connects its users, applications, services and sites can define how agile its operations are, the kinds of experiences it can deliver for users, and ultimately how quickly its business can respond to the market and grow.
In a cloud-first world, networking is a key foundation for innovation and directly enables real business outcomes delivered by today’s technology options. Your network can’t be overlooked within a digital strategy and should be seen as an accelerator for digital adoption, rather than just a cost of doing business.
While networking isn’t always front and centre for a business, the term ‘digital transformation’ (DX) often gets the spotlight. DX is an ongoing process, and priority, for businesses across almost all sectors. The term itself covers a very broad spectrum of a business’ evolution, supported by people, processes and technology initiatives, and one company’s DX is likely to look completely different from another’s.
Some of the most common reasons for undergoing DX are to improve operational efficiency, employee productivity, innovation and customer experience (CX). All of these things ultimately play a role in remaining competitive and achieving long-term business success.
However, DX efforts can easily fail when they are not aligned with the organisation’s wider business strategy. Businesses can get carried away with implementing new up-and-coming technologies without thinking about how this tech can actually deliver value to overall strategies and plans and drive the business forward.
Despite the wide-ranging nature of DX, there is almost always one thing that is true for all organisations – the network must be there to support it. Not only this, but the transformation must have a purpose for the business and align with its goals.
The Risk of Misalignment
DX, and in turn networking technologies, are experiencing rapid growth on a global scale.
Worldwide DX spending is forecast to reach nearly $3.9 trillion in 2027 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.1%, according to IDC. This year, the US is predicted to have accounted for 35.8% of worldwide DX spending. That figure is almost matched by the Asia Pacific region, including Japan and China, with a 33.5% share of spending. The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region is shortly behind, delivering 26.8% of DX spending.
However, knowing where to start with DX can be a challenge for organisations, whether they be service providers, carriers, network operators, carriers or another business type. The main thing to focus on is aligning the business strategy with the digital strategy, and choosing the technologies capable of making the biggest difference in the most efficient manner.
A common mistake is creating a standalone digital strategy that is not directly related to a wider business plan. This misalignment will undoubtedly lead to challenges different business divisions, as well as the C-suite. Any technical strategy must consider the implications of the business and play a role in the long-term growth and success of the company. Otherwise, the organisation risks investing into technologies that may benefit one team, but not another, ultimately impacting ROI.
Another common reason for DX failure is the lack of executive sponsorship and collaborative company culture. These can go hand in hand. If the leadership team aren’t fully invested in the initiative, how can you expect the employees to be? Executive alignment is crucial. The leadership team must play an active role in the digital strategy and ensuring that this is aligned with the business’ wider goals. With this involvement, it’s more likely that the leadership team will become advocates for the DX initiatives and help to motivate the wider company to follow suit. This is crucial for building a company culture that is adaptable to change.
Aligning Strategies with NaaS
Businesses that have agile networking are ready to adopt new technologies, pivot as required and expand in new markets when the opportunity arises.
One model that simplifies the process is Network-as-a-Service (NaaS). The global NaaS market was valued at $9.29 billion in 2023, and is expected to reach $78.38 billion by 2028 according to Mordor Intelligence. It’s an area that Epsilon has a lot of experience in, being an early mover in the development of a NaaS platform and gaining the recognition of partners, customers and leading research firms over the years since its launch in 2015.
A comprehensive NaaS platform can be used directly by businesses to benefit from a range of global connectivity solutions spanning data centre interconnection (DCI), access to Internet Exchanges (IXs) and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), as well as voice services. NaaS platforms can often also be white labelled by service providers, resellers and other channel businesses to sell on as their own to better meet enterprise customer demands and increase revenue streams.
NaaS is a powerful tool for delivering the on-demand connectivity needed to scale business by providing immediate access to a global ecosystem of potential networking partners. It provides the network and connectivity solutions needed to form the backbone of a successful digital strategy. On top of this, it delivers the speed and efficiency to fit in with wider business strategies, thanks to the cost-savings when compared to sourcing the solutions from separate vendors.
Delivering Long-Term Business Outcomes
NaaS is now fundamental for future proofing businesses, offering a flexible model that can pivot according to business requirements.
Leadership teams must not underestimate the power of networking and how it can play a crucial role in the wider business strategy. Without a suitable network, businesses risk either falling behind with slow, legacy technologies, or trying to implement next-generation technologies which are simply not compatible without the right connectivity solution.
Aligning the business strategy and digital strategy holds the key to successful digital transformation and long-term business success, no matter the sector.