Tech experts have suggested that the success of businesses, and even industries, relies on interconnections. They say that the most competitive business is one that is fully connected with its own systems, cloud solutions, mobile workforce, supply chain, partners and customers resulting in an intricate network of companies, people and processes – all focussed on meeting customer demand. An interconnected system promises to significantly improve efficiency and accountability throughout an organization, and with better external links with partners, customers and geographies can accelerate business performance and create new opportunities.
Of course, such a system also has limitations, not least because the change required to realize these ambitions is significant. When one link of the chain experiences difficulty, this can cause a ripple effect throughout the organization, or more widely, between customers and partners, resulting in delays and setbacks. And the security and privacy risks flow, from unchecked levels of interoperability, this can present significant challenges.
A Fundamental Change
Whilst it’s widely agreed that the most competitive business is one that is fully connected, and that a better-connected enterprise can accelerate performance and create new opportunities, many companies aren’t quite there yet. For some, the risks have bred inertia: they are restrained by organizational silos and boundaries, by truncated processes and by legacy operations, which means truly interconnected enterprises are still in their infancy, and some are yet to realize the benefits which will arise as they strengthen their internal and external connections.
It’s true that achieving interconnectivity calls for fundamental change. Where tech innovation has historically happened at a discreet product or operational level, interconnectivity by its nature, has to take place across an entire business and beyond. Companies need to understand how they can change their entire ecosystems, so the need for guidance and support from experts has never been greater.
At VIRTUS, we believe that the promise of interconnected enterprises can no longer be ignored, and in order to manage challenges of this level of complexity, and to help companies benefit from an interconnected business environment, the smartest people, the most advanced technology, and the best institutions need to work collaboratively.
Exploring what an interconnected future looks like is best achieved through learning from the successes and failures of others. Analysts, tech experts and commercial businesses need to open their doors to share experiences and to move away from a closed environment where collaboration isn’t encouraged and innovation happens in silo. It’s only then that the interconnectivity model will mature, and whole industries will reap the rewards.
One Step at a Time
Of course, this isn’t an overnight revolution. The change required to become better connected is significant. As with so many tech innovations, we expect a process of evolution, punctuated by bursts of innovation. While the shift to a connected ecosystem is a profound one, companies need to be aware that they don’t have to immediately make a revolutionary break from the past. But they must be prepared to make incremental and forward-looking changes necessary to capitalize on the interconnected future. They must learn lessons from others, and look for measurable return on investment (ROI) from any change they make.
As such, the first step to success is in looking for the right vendor to help, advise and support. Technology is the enabler of the interconnected company and the right technology partner is the backbone to any successful connected business. Whether you choose colocation, fully managed connectivity within a third-party data center, or a cloud-based service, our advice to any organization is to base technology needs on business needs. Prioritize your pain points according to core competencies and improve on what you do best.
Companies must expect measurable and predictable returns on technology investment, and as such a close relationship with their tech provider is crucial. We’d advise any company to be very clear on objectives and timelines, and because the nature of interconnectivity is unpredictable, to take control where they can. SLAs, guarantees about uptime and reliability promises are crucial. Specialist data center providers are appealing because they keep total cost of ownership (TCO) to a minimum and can provide measurable returns on investment, even in an evolving and unpredictable industry.
The best tech providers help you make connections at a rate which simply couldn’t be achieved alone. Our customers have the choice to design and create interconnections based on specific needs or can take advantage of the fact that our data centers are already interconnected within many service providers own metro connected portfolios providing near instant, scalable high bandwidth. These pre-connected solutions also come with the benefit of fast provisioning times and large-scale pricing advantages for Fibre, Wavelengths and Ethernet services.
You Are Not Alone
The change required to become better connected is significant. We advise you to do what you do best. Focus on your strategic priorities and let others do the tech. Our customers often tell us they “know what their problem is, but they don’t know how to solve it,” — and this is where we come in.
We believe that robust, enterprise-strength interconnection is no longer just a source of advantage and innovation, it’s a requirement for survival, and with this pressure comes the impetus for companies to make changes to the way they work.
And for the technology industry, our message is to work together. We have collective responsibility to foster greater collaboration in order to unlock the potential of technological change. When tech advances, whole industries do, and change can’t happen in silo. While the digital disruption which leads to an interconnected business represents a do-or-die tipping point for business, the opportunity is positive one, and our collective help is the crucial element in driving a culture of progress and innovation.
About the Author
Darren Watkins is Managing Director of VIRTUS Data Centres. Darren began his career as a graduate Military Officer in the RAF before moving into the commercial sector. He brings over 20 years’ experience in telecommunications and managed services gained at BT, MFS WorldCom, Level3 Communications, Attenda and COLT. He joined the VIRTUS team from euNetworks where he was Head of Sales for the UK, leading market changing deals with a number of large financial institutions and media agencies, and growing the company’s expertise in low latency trading. Additionally, he sits on the board of one of the industry’s most innovative mobile media advertising companies, Odyssey Mobile Interaction, and is interested in all new developments in this sector. Darren has an honour’s degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from University of Wales, College Swansea.