Enterprises around the globe are waking up to the importance of digital transformation when it comes to achieving their business objectives. But as more and more applications and office functions move to the cloud and operations evolve, so network capability will become increasingly critical.
In fact, IP Intelligent Networks will be critical to enabling digital transformation at the enterprise, and even societal, level. That’s according to Kevin Hu, President of Data Communication Product Line at Huawei. Hu was speaking at Huawei’s IP Tech Summit, taking place from 17 to 19 March and highlighting the impact that IP Intelligent Networks will have on enterprise-scale digital transformation.
“Data communication plays an incredibly important role in building a digital society and shows why the optimal data communication network needs to be selected during digitalisation,” says Hu. “With the continuous development of the digital economy, it is more and more obvious that data has become a critical new factor when it comes to production”.
But, Hu points out, the technology needed to handle those needs has also had to make significant advances over the past three decades.
“In the past, he says, “enterprise networks were simple and did not have many complex requirements. Applications and services were deployed on local servers, and the network was responsible for providing connections. Applications on servers were connected to office PCs in the campus, meeting enterprise requirements for normal office work.”
Today, things are somewhat different. With the acceleration of enterprise service migration to the cloud, most office functions are migrating from local servers to the cloud. IP networks need to ensure service experience and reliability after enterprise services are migrated from local servers to remote clouds. As applications and services migrate from local services to the cloud, the network architecture changes from connection-centric to cloud-centric. Additionally, terminals on the access network have evolved from traditional office PCs to office PCs, mobile terminals, and ubiquitous IoT terminals.
“All of these changes mean that the IP network is more important than ever and that much more is expected of it than in the past,” says Hu. “At Huawei, we’re confident we can provide a full set of network solutions that meet these new enterprise requirements.”
Those kinds of solutions will be crucial to accelerating enterprise-scale digital transformation. And, according to Brandon Butler, Senior Research Analyst of IDC, things have never been more primed for change.
“It’s a really exciting time in the enterprise networking market right now,” he says. “A lot of enterprises are looking to digitally transform, and they’re increasingly realising how important enterprise networking technology is to the digital transformation journey.”
According to Butler, we are currently in what the research firm calls the third platform of digital transformation, the first being the mainframe era and the second, the client-server era. The third platform is defined by technologies such as cloud computing, ubiquitous mobile connectivity, big data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
At a more granular level, we’re currently seeing multiplied innovation among those technologies and are about to enter into a phase of autonomous systems that make use of Exponential AI, Quantum Computing, and BioDigital Integration.
“The network is critically important for delivering these third platform technologies,” says Butler. “And as we think about the networking requirements that enterprises face on a daily basis, those are continuing to expand and put pressure on enterprises as they think about their networks.”
Among the challenges enterprise networks have to overcome are the massively increased number of users (including IoT sensors), bandwidth-intensive applications and use cases, and a desire for low latency connections.
Ultimately, says Butler, “it’s really important to make sure that as you’re making investments in your enterprise networking technology that you think about the digital business needs of your enterprise in the future.”
Embracing this level of transformation won’t just aid digital transformation at the enterprise level but will also create wider social and economic benefits, especially when it comes to enabling the smart cities and communities that the enterprises of the future will operate in. That’s according to Lucas Omollo, CTO of ICT & Smart City Solutions Konza Technopolis Development Authority.
A flagship project of Kenya’s Vision 2030 economic development portfolio, Konza will be a world-class city, powered by a thriving information, communications and technology (ICT) sector, superior reliable infrastructure and business friendly governance systems.
“Beyond business, IP intelligent networks and data centres can support various smart city applications, including intelligent traffic systems, smart parking, smart transport management, and waste management,” says Omollo, “all of which can help create better, more livable cities.”
Digital transformation is an unavoidable way for enterprises to move towards the future intelligent world. In the IP field, Huawei is not only an advocate of digital transformation but also a positive practitioner.