At the start of the year I wrote about the network becoming more relevant in 2018. As the year has progressed, I am even more convinced that this is true. In fact, as organizations transform themselves to become more agile and responsive to their customers, IT teams are reimagining their roles. Are they really about information technology or rather about ensuring that every employee, customer, partner or machine can connect to an application, service, or each other, regardless of location or technology.
As organizations continue to adopt cloud computing in its various forms – IaaS, SaaS, or PaaS - the network will be critical to ensure success. Equally relevant is the fact that the “pendulum” is now swinging towards decentralization – meaning compute and applications are being deployed at the edge or in the cloud. Branch offices are connecting directly to the cloud and not routing through centralized data centers. All of which is putting increased pressure on the network to ensure availability, performance, and security.
At the Aruba Atmosphere event, Accenture presented and discussed how they no longer have IT, but rather have renamed the team Connectivity and Compute– reflecting the true nature of the work they are doing. I thought about this and discussed it with fellow ESGers, and, as usual, I got some sage advice from founder Tony Prigmore suggesting that the new paradigm for IT is really about Connectivity and Experience.
What does that mean? Well, it is about ensuring that anyone or anything can securely connect to each other but more importantly it suggests that what is really important is the experience that those customers, employees, machines, etc., have when connected. Customer experience has been a hot topic for many years. In fact, at the service assurance provider Empirix, it was so important that one of the Product Managers actually got a patent for how to define the Quality of Experience (QoE) for users on a mobile carrier network. Why did they do this? Quite simply because these carriers have tens, if not hundreds, of millions of subscribers, want to understand the quality of experience for each one, and know that if they can improve the experience, it will reduce churn and make them more money.
Better experiences and happier customers are valid goals for any industry or company--just look at the NFL. They put out a great product, but that doesn’t stop the owners from looking at using technology solutions to provider differentiated experiences for their customers. At Gillette Stadium, a virtually ubiquitous Extreme WiFi deployment and analytics solution has been used to help guide fans to the quickest gate or the least congested restroom and even order food from their seats, all because they believe it will make for a better experience and encourage fans to come to the games, instead of watching from the comfort of their own homes.
Brick and mortar retail locations want to leverage onsite wireless networking/Bluetooth beacons with AI/ML solutions to provide location-based services and real time offer management to provide a differentiated experience while shopping in the store. Better experiences will equal better results.
Based on these examples, and no doubt, countless others that exist, experience is vitally important and why your organization should be thinking about two things – how to ensure everyone, everything, and every app can be connected and deliver the best possible experience. As you think about and plan for the future of your IT organization and how you might re-imagine IT- make sure you are thinking about connectivity and experience.