As established in Blog 1 of this series, three critical CEO priorities have emerged as a result of the pandemic. At the top of that list is accelerating digital transformation.
It’s not a secret that COVID-19 disrupted the very carefully planned digital transformation trajectory most companies were on. CIOs and internal technical organizations had mapped out a steady-state pace of investments in cloud services from IaaS to SaaS to PaaS while simultaneously adopting mobile capabilities and exploring technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things and Big Data to drive digital innovation. But the pandemic shifted dollars from longer-term priorities to address immediate needs: getting employees up and running, securely and productively, in their home environments. This became—and continues to be—about the race for relevance, the effort to remain competitive no matter the circumstances.
Today, across industries, businesses have adapted and the universal hope is that the pandemic environment will end quickly. But the reality is that the timing around the pandemic’s conclusion is unpredictable and the ripple effects will last much longer. In the meantime, there’s no path to a clean network transition that encompasses thousands of “sites” (employees’ homes) that are not on company-owned networks. Hence, the pressure most leaders feel to get at least some of their workforces back in the office when it’s safe to do so.
Think of the enterprise-owned premises as a castle; IT knows how to support and protect its inhabitants as long as they’re behind the moat and thick castle walls. But send them back to the village into their own places and IT’s typical mechanisms for support and protection no longer work. In a pandemic world, IT teams are blind. They can’t ensure consistency of experience and security also becomes much more difficult. Compounding that problem, there’s still a desire for digital transformation but that transition is not in the hands of a single group or person. Any major shifts that require buy-in from multiple stakeholders are inherently a slower proposition.
However, digital technologies can provide an immediate reprieve, solving the problems of today while company leadership sorts out the priorities and timelines for tomorrow. Many of our customers, for example, are turning to Client Accelerator with SaaS Accelerator to optimize the performance of critical productivity apps such as O365 to users anywhere, even when the traffic origination point is now in control of third parties. We continue to see the value such solutions have in sustaining remote workforce productivity and quality of experience.
We also see continued value in foundational capabilities every IT organization must have to support digitization. This includes next-generation, software-defined networks and most importantly, unified visibility and real-time insights into IT infrastructure—every packet, flow and device—that comprise an experience for the end user. Knowing the good and the bad as they happen is critical for CIOs and IT organizations to either stay the course or course correct as need be.
It’s clear that in a world where the vast majority of interactions are now virtual, there is an acute and immediate need to fast-track digitization to not only survive the crisis but to ensure long-term relevance. Companies need to select for forward momentum in every technical decision, policy, and purchase that’s made. Even those actions taken for the short term should still be evaluated against one primary metric: How does this accelerate our longer-term digital transformation efforts?
Riverbed is laser-focused on delivering the innovations that help companies generate real, lasting momentum on their digital transformation journey. We’ve compiled more than 30 sessions and keynote replays from our Riverbed User Conference to give you the essential capabilities and how-to advice needed to maximize performance and visibility of any network for any application to all users, anywhere. Register to access the full library of content, here.