PwC research suggests change is coming: How will enterprises navigate?
Feb 21, 2018
In 2017, PwC conducted research with the primary objective of identifying what the major drivers in data center networking were. That research, made up of more than 250 responses from CIOs and IT leaders at large enterprises around the globe, suggested that the top priorities have shifted as IT charges towards cloud.
VP/Manager of IT
Automation and orchestration
Automation and orchestration
In today’s enterprises, security and automation are the top priorities, which means that as companies design for a multicloud future, they have to consider how they will extend their security and operations practices to support a cross-domain environment.
Of course, knowing where you are going is only part of the problem. Success depends on navigating from where you are to where you want to be - safely and efficiently.
Security and automation aren’t all that matter
While security and automation top the list of priorities for enterprise IT leaders, they are certainly not the only things that matter. Historically, especially for enterprises that manage IT as a cost center, TCO has been a primary focus for leaders. In PwC’s findings, it should come as no surprise that TCO rank high for both CIOs and VPs of IT.
One way to interpret the findings is that the current threat and competitive landscapes demand changes that represent an evolution of how IT operates. Security and automation would be the primary ways to get to the desired future state for data center networking. But that transition does not come with a blank check.
TCO savings serve as the constraint within which the broader data center migration must take place. CIOs and their functional leaders will simply not be allowed to unnecessarily float the budget to unaffordable levels, even if the broader goals are ambitious.
This means that IT will have to carefully navigate a transition from legacy to multicloud. The journey will require straddling old and new. The implication is that IT leaders will have to maintain their investments in the old, place new bets on the new and manage the whole thing under a budget that is likely to remain under scrutiny.
A profoundly difficult task
The need to be more secure and nimble while simultaneously watching the bottom line is difficult. In fact, some companies will decide that the journey is simply too difficult to embark upon, and others will fail along the way.
But for companies that see evolution as a necessary part of executing their strategy, there is no other choice than to move forward. This sets the scene for a profoundly difficult task:
Enterprises have to evolve.
The threats are immediate, which means evolution needs to happen quickly.
The future will involve the cloud, which means that change must also incorporate a new way of thinking about data center networking.
While the future is in the cloud, there remains a present state that is steeped in legacy.
All of this change has to fit within the current budget.
If reading these thoughts makes you a bit uneasy, it should. But it’s worth pointing out that while not all companies will succeed, uncertain times create opportunity for those who do.
Plotting your course
You cannot do things the way you always have and expect to get a different result. IT leaders will have to shift how they architect, build and maintain data center networks. More specifically, they must:
Embrace hybrid cloud architectures while preparing for the inevitable multicloud future.
Explicitly adopt a pervasive security posture that leverages the network as the foundation for detection and prevention.
Aggressively adopt automation and SDN as cost-effective means of providing dynamic network control.
More than technology
Most people look at the current changing IT landscapeas primarily a technological phenomenon. And in seeing things through a familiar lens, they will believe that they simply need to extend their current thought processes to the new problem space. They will continue to use current evaluation criteria for data center networking solutions under the premise that their current technology philosophies will translate to future success.
But they will be wrong.
The challenges are not purely technical. They won’t be solved by just deploying new devices and throwing some software on top to manage it all. Successfully navigating from where the industry is to where it is poised to be requires a deeper understanding of the journey. And it is that journey—not just the networks—that requires architecting.