Networks Europe Jul-Aug 2019 - Page 17

OPINION By Kevin Drinkall, EMEA Wireless & Cloud Market Development Manager, Zyxel In a world that’s increasingly dependent on technology and bandwidth, the challenges facing network managers, resellers and end users have changed. The competition no longer lies in providing cutting-edge hardware, which is now more widely and democratically distributed than ever. But in giving users the power to work smartly and effectively, with a network that is agile, flexible, responsive and above all, reliable – ideally more so than any network used by competing firms. Not only must SMBs be sure of their network’s ability to cope with day-to-day tasks and the demands of customers, but it must also be able to satisfy the new ‘must haves’ of an evolving landscape. For example, companies of all sizes are now paying attention to big data and their need for increasingly sophisticated analytics to create the highly personalised journeys and interactions that their customers now expect. The Internet of Things (IoT) is another prime example of innovation making demands on business networks. A recent survey of 700 executives found that 60% of businesses were looking to use the IoT to drive new initiatives. The nature of those initiatives will, of course, vary by company and sector, but they will inevitably require the expansion, reconfiguration and scaling of business networks. SMBs and the cloud Even in the era of cloud, that sounds like a huge potential headache for network managers and resellers. Moving an SMB with a traditional locally deployed network into the era of advanced analytics and the IoT will be quite a challenge. Whenever any meaningful scaling-up or innovation is carried out conventionally, managers have to install and maintain generic software and spend time doing this; generally forcing the business to cease, or at least disrupt productivity. They also have to be on-site to install hardware and/or troubleshoot the inevitable teething troubles that accompany change. But that’s just the way of things, isn’t it? Fortunately, the answer is no. With thought and care, it’s now possible to deploy a networking solution that’s not just cloud-based, but proactively uses the power of the cloud to 17 How companies can gain a competitive edge on a level technological playing field... the greatest advantage of network managers and end users. It’s an approach that paves the way for ongoing benefits, innovation and expansion as technology develops. Beyond the cloud Business applications hosted in the cloud are now well established and show tangible benefits for the companies that use them. It’s straightforward for resellers and outsourced network managers to make a business case for cloud, even where clients are uncertain. Indeed, the areas of greatest client concern and uncertainty, which include security, showing ROI, monitoring network performance, compliance and governance, analytics and creating cloud- based IP, are highly amenable to the use of third-party experts. Thus, cloud network management generates opportunity for partners, but as we’ve seen it can also generate headaches and inconvenience.