Making Digital Transformation Work for You – Part 2
Bridging the Performance Gap
June 21, 2016

Joshua Dobies
Riverbed Technology

Share this

Start with Making Digital Transformation Work for You – Part 1

Part 1 of this three-part series examined how the digital transformation wave that has swept through enterprise IT is finally reaching the network. Organizations leverage public and private clouds to enable users to connect 24/7 to applications and information stores via a wide array of devices. This places an ever-increasing strain on the networks, and the professionals who build and manage them.

As a result, application performance levels too often fail to meet the needs of the business. This creates what I call a "performance gap" – a widening gulf between the needs of business and what IT is able to provide (or not) to meet those needs. The business impacts include more unhappy customers, contract delays, missed deadlines and lost revenue. So in Part 2 of this series, let's examine the four key elements any organization can address today to bridge this gap.

First, it's important to understand the solution is not to try to limit the number of applications you provide to users. That's like trying to push back the incoming high tide. Consider these stats:

According to Gartner, worldwide spending on enterprise application software will grow from $149.9 billion in 2015 to more than $201 billion by 2019, driven primarily by modernization, functional expansion and digital transformation projects.1

■ IDC predicts that by 2018, businesses will more than double software development capabilities; two-thirds of their coders will focus on strategic digital transformation apps and services.

IDC predicts that by 2018, there will be 22 billion Internet of Things devices installed, driving the development of more than 200,000 new apps and services.2

You have our global economy based on services to thank. The world has been heading toward a services-based economy for some time, leaving behind an economy dominated by manufacturing. In the 1980s, services accounted for about half of world GDP; by the mid-1990s it was up to two-thirds. The trend is even stronger in post-industrial economies: Services now make up 80 percent of the British and 84 percent of the US economy. Even in countries that are transitioning from agriculture to industry, the services sector is growing faster than the rest of the economy.

Services themselves are evolving rapidly. The old services economy was based on the model of someone doing something for you in the physical world — someone cooks dinner for you in a restaurant, someone fixes your car, someone does your taxes.

The new services economy, in contrast, is dominated by made-to-order digital services. They're differentiated by the quality of the experience for which intuitive ease, convenience, and richness of choice are key criteria. Thus, we are moving from a world dominated by mass-manufactured, mass-marketed products to an immersive market of custom services and digital experiences.

Digital services may seem like magic to users, who now expect – even demand – anytime, anywhere access to them on their desktops and mobile devices. But underneath the magic of the simple UX lies the difficulty of moving apps over long-distance high-speed networks.

Digital services are enabled by a chain of IT interactions that link device, application, data, network, and infrastructure components. This complex chain of interactions is only as strong as its weakest link. All the parts of an application are links in the chain, and these links must mesh seamlessly across a complex, hybrid IT environment which is partly in the cloud, partly on-premises, with connectivity provided by a mix of private and public networks, in order to give users a good experience and drive maximum business productivity. Any grain of sand in the gears, any tiny flaw in the infrastructure—from server failure, to issues within the software code, to a problematic database, to network latency, to user device compatibility—can slow the application down or cause it to fail completely.

And yet, in our globally distributed, hybrid application environment, there is so much complexity, so many moving parts and operational dependencies, that the weak links in the chain are bound to get stressed to the breaking point. This creates the performance gap.

Bridging the Performance Gap

You must get a handle on four elements that comprise the fundamental links to make an app work: data, software, people, and networks. That requires knowing the answers to four key questions (hint – there's really just one answer):

Q: Where are your apps?
A: Everywhere.

Q: Where is your data?
A: Everywhere.

Q: Where are your users?
A: Everywhere.

Q: How is it all connected?
A: Everywhere.

Your apps are everywhere. Your data is everywhere. Your users are everywhere, and it's all connected via multiple types of networks that are … yes … everywhere.

In today's complex hybrid IT environments where data, applications, people, and networks are everywhere, point solutions cannot provide a total solution. The infrastructure challenges that impact application performance are ubiquitous, so only a holistic approach that brings visibility, performance, agility, and security to every aspect and stage of application delivery can provide an enterprise-grade solution for the age of hybrid IT. Just as digital transformation is an enterprise business strategy, enterprises need an architectural strategy to make the underpinning technology work the way it needs to.

The foundation of that architectural strategy is to stop using the traditional tools: routers and switches. In Part 3 of this series, I'll explain why those tools are quickly growing obsolete, and why SD-WAN is emerging as the technology that enables you to create a scalable network architecture that supports, enables and drives digital transformation with new levels of visibility, performance, security and agility.

Joshua Dobies is VP of Product Marketing, Riverbed Technology.

Share this

The Latest

April 24, 2024

Over the last 20 years Digital Employee Experience has become a necessity for companies committed to digital transformation and improving IT experiences. In fact, by 2025, more than 50% of IT organizations will use digital employee experience to prioritize and measure digital initiative success ...

April 23, 2024

While most companies are now deploying cloud-based technologies, the 2024 Secure Cloud Networking Field Report from Aviatrix found that there is a silent struggle to maximize value from those investments. Many of the challenges organizations have faced over the past several years have evolved, but continue today ...

April 22, 2024

In our latest research, Cisco's The App Attention Index 2023: Beware the Application Generation, 62% of consumers report their expectations for digital experiences are far higher than they were two years ago, and 64% state they are less forgiving of poor digital services than they were just 12 months ago ...

April 19, 2024

In MEAN TIME TO INSIGHT Episode 5, Shamus McGillicuddy, VP of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations, at EMA discusses the network source of truth ...

April 18, 2024

A vast majority (89%) of organizations have rapidly expanded their technology in the past few years and three quarters (76%) say it's brought with it increased "chaos" that they have to manage, according to Situation Report 2024: Managing Technology Chaos from Software AG ...

April 17, 2024

In 2024 the number one challenge facing IT teams is a lack of skilled workers, and many are turning to automation as an answer, according to IT Trends: 2024 Industry Report ...

April 16, 2024

Organizations are continuing to embrace multicloud environments and cloud-native architectures to enable rapid transformation and deliver secure innovation. However, despite the speed, scale, and agility enabled by these modern cloud ecosystems, organizations are struggling to manage the explosion of data they create, according to The state of observability 2024: Overcoming complexity through AI-driven analytics and automation strategies, a report from Dynatrace ...

April 15, 2024

Organizations recognize the value of observability, but only 10% of them are actually practicing full observability of their applications and infrastructure. This is among the key findings from the recently completed 2024 Observability Pulse Survey and Report ...

April 11, 2024

Businesses must adopt a comprehensive Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM) strategy, says Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), a leading IT analyst research firm. This strategy is crucial to bridge the significant observability gap within today's complex IT infrastructures. The recommendation is particularly timely, given that 99% of enterprises are expanding their use of the Internet as a primary connectivity conduit while facing challenges due to the inefficiency of multiple, disjointed monitoring tools, according to Modern Enterprises Must Boost Observability with Internet Performance Monitoring, a new report from EMA and Catchpoint ...

April 10, 2024

Choosing the right approach is critical with cloud monitoring in hybrid environments. Otherwise, you may drive up costs with features you don’t need and risk diminishing the visibility of your on-premises IT ...