Price Rises and Hardware Shortages – How Should Enterprises Respond?

G. Barton
G. Barton Research Director

Summary Bullets:

• Enterprises should be aware that different vendors have differing lead times on hardware.

• Service providers have held off on price increases thus far, but this may not be the case in the longer term.

Inflation and resource shortages have been two of the key global macro-economic trends over the last 12 months as the result of multiple contributing factors. Chip shortages have become a significant problem in almost all sectors, and the telecoms market has been significantly affected – albeit in an uneven way. However, while costs are going up, technology may also help enterprises be more efficient.

Continue reading “Price Rises and Hardware Shortages – How Should Enterprises Respond?”

SASE: Networking, Security, Edge, or None – or All of the Above? Where Should an Enterprise Start?

G. Barton
G. Barton Research Director

Summary Bullets:

• SASE combines WAN with elements of security and edge technology, but that is not a catch-all solution.

• For SASE to work, organizations must break down internal silos to create a unified approach to data routing and security policies.

What is SASE or – to reference it by its full name – secure access service edge? Enterprises can be forgiven to a degree of uncertainty on this point since, as with all new technology concepts, the term has been used rather freely by vendors, service providers, and analysts alike. In its original form, the concept envisioned a move beyond traditional WAN (including SD-WAN) to a group of network technologies that would be deployed at the network edge (in a move away from customer premises equipment) and would combine both routing and security capabilities.

Continue reading “SASE: Networking, Security, Edge, or None – or All of the Above? Where Should an Enterprise Start?”

The Future of SLAs: Predictive and Outcome-Oriented  

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprises should work with providers to develop more meaningful KPIs within SLA agreements.
  • AI technology is enabling predictive fault detection; working with providers will help improve AI performance.

Service level agreements (SLAs) are one of the tech world’s necessary evils and often one of its most ineffective tools. Ideally, no SLAs should be required; enterprises would much rather have the service work than be compensated for its failure. Furthermore, the financial penalty in SLAs is often nowhere close to compensating for the financial loss caused by an outage. GlobalData’s conversations with enterprises have revealed a lack of faith from enterprises in SLAs, with more than one IT manager referring to them as ‘pointless.’

Continue reading “The Future of SLAs: Predictive and Outcome-Oriented  “

Should Enterprises Voyage into the Metaverse?

Summary Bullets:

Gary Barton – Analyst, Business Network and IT Services

• Enterprises should beware the hype – the metaverse is not a decision that needs to be made this year, if ever

• However, elements of the metaverse are with us now and can offer genuine benefits – e.g., for training or collaboration

The ‘metaverse’ is manna from heaven for tech journalists (and, indeed, analysts!) as it is poorly defined, can be applied to both current technology and fantastical future ideas, and is a concept much loved by technology giants such as Microsoft and Facebook/Meta Platforms Inc. This sort of scenario is true of many new technologies, but the metaverse is a more ethereal and intangible concept than most – to the extent that even its name is meta.

Continue reading “Should Enterprises Voyage into the Metaverse?”

Transformation Without Direction Is Meaningless

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Digital transformation projects should have a clearly targeted business benefit.
  • Enterprises should challenge providers to offer clear use cases and help them to identify how their businesses can achieve impactful change.

‘Digital transformation’ is a term apparent in the marketing material of almost every service provider and technology vendor in the IT and communications industries.  It is, in full honesty, beloved of analysts.  In fairness to both, digital transformation is a term that enterprises recognize and one that they use themselves when talking about their IT upgrade cycles – but this does not mean the term is particularly instructive or meaningful. Continue reading “Transformation Without Direction Is Meaningless”

Do Service Providers Still Matter?

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • The range and strength of alternative options to traditional telecoms service providers (SPs) are increasing.
  • SPs still offer clear differentiators that make them relevant to modern enterprises.

The launch of Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Cloud WAN proposition is another move by the public cloud giants into what has traditionally been the domain of telecoms service providers (SPs).  AWS Cloud WAN is in the same category as Microsoft’s Azure WAN suite of services (particularly Azure Virtual WAN) and builds on AWS’ existing Direct Connect and Transit Connect Gateway products – but this time with a proposition that is specifically designed as a WAN solution (rather than purely cloud access), therefore making it more coherent and easier to manage. Continue reading “Do Service Providers Still Matter?”

Digitalizing the Customer Journey

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Businesses need to adapt their customer contact models to a world where remote is the default.
  • AI-powered digital technologies can play a powerful role in improving the customer journey – both independently and in tandem with human agents.

At AT&T’s 2021 Business Summit, GlobalData supported the American telecoms giant in exploring one of the key themes of the event: reimagining the customer journey in a post-COVID, cloud-enabled world.  This is a critical challenge for most businesses as the impact of COVID has fundamentally changed the relationship between customers and businesses, as well as the way the two communicate. Continue reading “Digitalizing the Customer Journey”

Now Is the Time for Businesses to Define the Future of Work

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • Now is the time for businesses to be reassessing their workplace strategies.
  • Embracing change will bring benefits while resistance risks driving away key talent and younger employees.

The future of work is unknown, but one thing is certain: it will never be the same again.  COVID-19 lockdowns have ingrained working from home to an extent that seemed unlikely in the naïve, pre-pandemic days of 2019.  The return to the office has slowly begun, but it has been significantly delayed by the impact of new COVID-19 variants.  Another factor slowing the return to the office is resistance from employees.  This resistance is not necessarily militant, but is founded on a range of factors including freedom from the pressures of commuting, lingering health concerns, and most importantly, the fact that people have been able to do their jobs effectively while working from home.  In fact, GlobalData research shows that most companies suffered no negative effects from the implementation of work-from-home (WFH) cultures and processes, and almost half saw a productivity increase. Continue reading “Now Is the Time for Businesses to Define the Future of Work”

SASE for Enterprises in the Post-COVID World

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:

  • SASE promises the unification of security and network routing policies.
  • To achieve a SASE methodology, enterprises need to think about both policies and technology.

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the move towards cloud/SaaS adoption and work from home (WFH).  The crisis has proven that, even with rushed deployments in less than ideal circumstances, both cloud and WFH are efficacious ways of doing business.  However, they are not without challenges, and one of the biggest challenges is how to architect and secure networks when dealing with a more distributed IT estate – particularly given the significant increase in cyberattacks that has occurred during the pandemic. Continue reading “SASE for Enterprises in the Post-COVID World”

Digital Acceleration – For When Digital Transformation Is Too Slow

G. Barton
G. Barton

Summary Bullets:          

  • Digital acceleration implements short-term tactical changes over longer-term strategic projects.
  • Digital acceleration is a response to changing customer demands, not just COVID-19.

Digital transformation has been an industry catchphrase for some time now.  Its definition is both vague and changeable, but it speaks to using technology to improve internal processes within an enterprise to deliver cost savings and/or improved performance.  It encompasses a wide range of technologies including cloud, SD-WAN, collaboration, IoT, 5G, blockchain, AI, and SaaS. 

However, there is a new buzz phrase on the block: digital acceleration.  So, is there a difference between digital transformation and digital acceleration?  The ‘helpful’ answer to that is ‘yes and no.’  The intentions of both digital transformation and digital acceleration are the same, as are the technologies involved.  The big difference is in methodology. Continue reading “Digital Acceleration – For When Digital Transformation Is Too Slow”