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

June 25, 2020

I've had the opportunity to work with a number of organizations embarking on their AIOps journey. I always advise them to start by evaluating their needs and the possibilities AIOps can bring to them through five different levels of AIOps maturity. This is a strategic approach that allows enterprises to achieve complete automation for long-term success ...

June 24, 2020

Sumo Logic recently commissioned an independent market research study to understand the industry momentum behind continuous intelligence — and the necessity for digital organizations to embrace a cloud-native, real-time continuous intelligence platform to support the speed and agility of business for faster decision-making, optimizing security, driving new innovation and delivering world-class customer experiences. Some of the key findings include ...

June 23, 2020

When it comes to viruses, it's typically those of the computer/digital variety that IT is concerned about. But with the ongoing pandemic, IT operations teams are on the hook to maintain business functions in the midst of rapid and massive change. One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the shift to remote work at scale. Ensuring that they can continue to provide products and services — and satisfy their customers — against this backdrop is challenging for many ...

June 22, 2020

Teams tasked with developing and delivering software are under pressure to balance the business imperative for speed with high customer expectations for quality. In the course of trying to achieve this balance, engineering organizations rely on a variety of tools, techniques and processes. The 2020 State of Software Quality report provides a snapshot of the key challenges organizations encounter when it comes to delivering quality software at speed, as well as how they are approaching these hurdles. This blog introduces its key findings ...

June 18, 2020

For IT teams, run-the-business, commodity areas such as employee help desks, device support and communication platforms are regularly placed in the crosshairs for cost takeout, but these areas are also highly visible to employees. Organizations can improve employee satisfaction and business performance by building unified functions that are measured by employee experience rather than price. This approach will ultimately fund transformation, as well as increase productivity and innovation ...

June 17, 2020

In the agile DevOps framework, there is a vital piece missing; something that previous approaches to application development did well, but has since fallen by the wayside. That is, the post-delivery portion of the toolchain. Without continuous cloud optimization, the CI/CD toolchain still produces massive inefficiencies and overspend ...

June 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially accelerated digital transformation projects. To better understand where IT professionals are turning for help, we analyzed the online behaviors of IT decision-makers. Our research found an increase in demand for resources related to APM, microservices and dependence on cloud services ...

June 15, 2020

The rush to the public cloud has now slowed as organizations realized that it is not a "one size fits all" solution. The main issue is the lack of deep visibility into the performance of applications provided by the host. Our own research has recently revealed that 32% of public cloud resources are currently under-utilized, and without proper direction and guidance, this will remain the case ...

June 11, 2020

The global shift to working from home (WFH) enforced by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders has had a massive impact on everyone's working lives, not just in the way they remotely interact with their teams and IT systems, but also in how they spend their working days. With both governments and businesses committed to slowly opening up offices, it's increasingly clear that a high prevalence of remote work will continue throughout 2020 and beyond. This situation begets important questions ...

June 10, 2020
In recent years, with the emergence of newer technologies ranging from the cloud to machine learning, IT modernization has evolved from a replacement of end-of-life infrastructure to an enabler of innovation and business value. It is a complex process that can take months or even years, but a recent survey shows that the effort begins to deliver measurable results almost as soon as an organization executes the first steps on its roadmap ...