Our IT Executive Roundtables are invite-only events hosted by peers for peers that bring together a select group of senior IT leaders from across industries for topic-driven, intimate dialog on current trends and topics. The group met remotely to discuss digital transformation of foundational company elements led by the CTO of a leading transportation, logistics, supply chain and storage company. This Session was sponsored by Nile.
More and more companies are undergoing digital transformation to cater to the ever-changing market and customer demands. Digital transformation efforts enable organizations to move to the cloud, deliver omnichannel experiences, expand easily, and increase revenue. But what is the foundation of a successful digital transformation? Is it the network? How do you revamp your network such that it catalyzes your digital transformation?
At the start of the discussion, attendees were asked how comfortable they were with their networks regarding hardware, software, and people. A CIO started by saying that their network has all the necessary elements: security, disaster recovery, backup sites, and high availability. A CTO mentioned that even though they are comfortable with their network, they don’t have enough resources to digitally transform as fast as they need to. A CIO added that they have a mature program that enables them to keep all assets up-to-date and secure. A senior executive remarked that it can be challenging for a multinational company to move and change fast when it must consider security and privacy regulations across multiple global jurisdictions.
Multiple participants agreed that a network is the foundation for digital transformation. Most, if not all, digital transformation efforts require an architectural change of the network, e.g., from on-premise to cloud, from VPN to continuous adaptive authentication, and from legacy applications to SAAS products. One participant thought that data should underpin a digital transformation. A successful transformation should allow you to apply modern AI and ML techniques to large datasets and generate actionable insights that increase revenue. But then again, how will you fetch, aggregate, and process data from multiple environments and platforms if your network isn’t built to support it?
A speaker argued that a network is at the heart of everything that happens during a workday. If your network has a bottleneck, all your functions are affected. It’s important to periodically fine-tune your network to ensure it always performs to the maximum. Network also plays a pivotal role in helping organizations achieve compliance with various security and privacy frameworks. For example, you can use network-wide encryption to protect traffic across your infrastructure; network-level authorization policies allow you to enforce the principle of least privilege; you can deploy an IAM system that ensures that only authorized users latch on to the network.
A contributor commented that a network infrastructure should be agile enough to allow a business to grow at the pace of the market. E.g., It should be easy to spin new resources to scale applications, as and when required. Or if a data engineer needs to aggregate and process data from multiple private and public clouds, there should be a way to do so easily and quickly. A network should also have security built-in. All the recommended security controls and policies should be in place, allowing all authorized personnel to operate seamlessly within the corporate network.
Virtually every business in the world has to deal with third parties. Whether you want to host something in the cloud or want a collaboration tool for your remote workforce, it’s much more feasible to seek a third-party product or service instead of reinventing the wheel.