Why most Australian IT won’t fulfill its potential in the NBN world

Your current IT infrastructure might be limiting your ability to fulfill your business potential in the digital world.

Your current IT infrastructure might be limiting your ability to fulfill your business potential in the digital world.

In 2017, Australians are consuming more digital content than ever before – such as streaming high-definition video – with the volume continuing to increase exponentially year on year. Up to this point the capacity of our IT networks have learned to expand with our needs.

However, much like opening a new highway touted to clear traffic congestion, too often we find we have only stalled the issue (usually at a steep price tag) rather than solve it.

As the NBN roll-out gathers pace, businesses across Australia face a similar problem.

The latest ABS Internet Activity Report states Aussies downloaded 2.5 billion GB of data in 2016, with NBN connected homes using 23 per cent more data than the average household. As more homes connect to the NBN and new digital technologies are embraced, network capacity will always be consumed to saturation.

Simply boosting network capacity is therefore just a Band-Aid solution. Not the long-term one we need.

It’s only when we come to a crossroads asking us to decide between costly upgrades or frustrating user experiences we start to consider optimisation solutions.

With many businesses now reaching this point, I encourage you to consider long-term management solutions allowing you to effectively control network capacity in to the future, and not just the immediate months and years.

Doing this requires a culture change in IT management. Rather than seeing networks as a mundane aspect of IT, consider them the foundations upon which all innovations and services are built. Without a strong IT network, the rest of your IT will suffer.

Making this reality involves shifting to a software-defined-wide area network (SD-WAN) approach to IT network management. Traditionally, businesses have managed corporate devices and applications accessing the network individually – creating complexity and additional costs.

A software-defined system allows you to manage these same devices and applications as a collective unit from a single platform, which delivers greater visibility into network management so you can better control performance, add new users and devices, and scale to meet current business needs.

SD-WAN creates an IT network that is agile and future-proofed, and a company that enjoys greater security, less latency and faster troubleshooting. Establishing your network infrastructure will also give you a competitive advantage when introducing new technologies as you won’t be chasing your tail trying to ensure your network is up to speed.

This approach allows you to build a fast-lane on the data highway, ensuring high priority requirements can travel freely between sites without being stuck in traffic. In successfully addressing the next-generation of application performance, significant benefits such as better customer experiences, increased productivity, and bigger cost savings will materialise as a natural side-effect to optimised networking.

Modern technology trends – among businesses and consumers - means our consumption habits will continue to absorb as much bandwidth as we are given.

IT managers should be looking to optimise now because if you’re not already seeing issues in your IT performance, you soon will. If most businesses continue to take the band-aid approach to network capacity we are heading toward a future that is not financially viable nor is it sustainable.

Keith Buckley is Vice President Australia/ New Zealand, Riverbed Technology

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Tags Riverbed Technologysoftware-defined networking (SDN)SD-WAN

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