Network Capabilities as A Key Enabler for Digital Transformation

neuCentrIX - 19/10/2021 12:00

Digital transformation is changing the way organizations do business. Through the power of the cloud and other technologies, organizations across industries around the world are utilizing new digital competencies to transform the value chain. To remain competitive in this rapidly changing digital era, organizations must embrace digital transformation and the critical infrastructure needed to achieve it.


Many experts have shared their takes on what makes a successful digital transformation, but they all come down to three essential aspects: people, process, and technology. The Ministry of National Development Planning of the Republic of Indonesia (Kementerian PPN/Bappenas) shared five key enablers for the national digital transformation: human resources; regulations, policies, and standards; funding and incentives; data platform and empowerment; and infrastructure and connectivity.


The Role of Network Capabilities for Digital Transformation

In their report titled Is Your Network Ready for Digital Transformation?, IDC and Cisco stated that outdated infrastructure characteristics such as manual configuration and management processes, overlay security geared mainly toward external threats, and siloed network domains hindered a network’s ability to facilitate the transformation progress and reach the goals of digital business. It will be difficult for legacy networks, such as 4G, to handle advanced tasks that come with digital transformation simply because they weren’t designed and built for them.


Despite the critical role of network capabilities for the transformation process, aligning them with strategic initiatives should be easy and quick for organizations, even automated. This is why organizations need a network that is truly digital ready — a network that is flexible and can dynamically align with the ever-changing needs of the business. That means robust connectivity that allows more agility and faster time for innovation, better security, and greater operational efficiency and simplicity.


Digital Network Readiness Framework

Cisco came up with the Digital Network Readiness Model which is based on a five-stage maturity standard. This framework aims to help organizations understand their current position on the journey to a network that is reliable for a digital transformation. The five stages of network maturity begins with Best Effort and moves on to Manual, Semi-Automated, Automated, and finally Self-Driving. As organizations move through each stage, there are benefits on multiple aspects which are mainly focused around agility and igniting faster innovation, lowering security risks, and reducing cost and complexity. 


According to Cisco, there are five core areas of network capabilities which increase digital network readiness at each stage.


1. Architecture strategy 

This refers to a comprehensive strategy that defines the approaches to enhancing the network’s architecture, management, life cycle, governance, and compliance at every stage.


2. Automation

This refers to the process of automating the configuration, management, and operations of a computer network to improve network service availability, simplify operations, and respond more quickly to new service requirements and conditions.


3. Security

This refers to ability to reduce risk and meet compliance requirements by enforcing policy and quickly identifying and responding to threats through security capabilities that are embedded throughout the network.


4. Service assurance 

This refers to the ability to continuously ensure the quality of experience created by each existing application and align it with the business goals and purposes of the organization.


5. Analytics 

This refers to the process where network data is collected and analyzed to improve the performance, reliability, visibility, or security of the network. This is how networks turn into a powerful platform for business, IT, security, and operational technology (OT) insights.


Quoting the report, advancement in each of these categories is essential to driving toward the goal of a more automated and self-optimizing network.

In conclusion, digital transformation needs the right network architectures and supporting technologies. Stronger network readiness with all necessary features and infrastructures will lead to envisioned business evolution and positive business outcomes. Thus, it is essential for organizations to move forward ambitiously with maximum digital network initiatives.