Guest Blogger: Matthew Marden, Research Manager, Business Value Strategy Practice, IDC

Matthew Marden is a Research Manager on the IDC Business Value Strategy team. He is responsible for carrying out custom business value research engagements and consulting projects for clients in a number of technology areas with a focus on determining the return on investment (ROI) of their use of enterprise technologies.


From speaking with hundreds of organizations each year, IDC knows that organizations are rapidly recognizing that their ability to grow and provide superior services and products depends on prioritizing and executing a Digital Transformation strategy.

However, the progress of their digital initiatives depends on interlocking and aligning IT to business decisions, and lack of network readiness in particular can grind progress to a standstill. When network infrastructures remain fragmented, manual, and hardware-centric, they cannot deliver the agility, security or performance businesses require. This results in operational inefficiencies, intolerable risk and squandered opportunities for growth.

By contrast, IDC’s research shows that organizations that have invested in digital upgrades to their networks overcome these limitations and realize significant value in the form of higher revenue and operational efficiencies. These organizations have evolved their networks to a more open, software-centric approach. They have begun leveraging automation and analytics  innovations to provide the performance, agility, and security they need today and will need in the future.

Organizations interviewed by IDC that have implemented more  advanced networks are already seeing the fruit of their efforts: IDC’s research shows that they are improving IT and business outcomes and quantifiably improving their business results. Here are a few of the findings I found especially compelling:

  • Accelerate digital business initiatives. Interviewed organizations with more advanced networks can deploy business-impacting digital initiatives in less time. We found that by increasing network performance through automation, organizations not only enhanced time to market for new applications but also were able to realize significant gains in the number of new applications developed and deployed. And on average, companies reduced the time to bring a new branch online by 52%. For example, one customer says that “We’re at least twice as efficient now. Before, it would take us 16 hours. Now, we can do it in 5 hours”.
  • Address business opportunities. Organizations with more advanced networks can act with more agility and innovation, which improves their customers’ experiences. The organizations interviewed were able to reduce the time to market for new services 
by an average of 41%, 
An interviewed manufacturer attributed $10 million per year in additional revenue to developing and producing  its products more quickly thanks to higher network stability and availability, remote management capabilities, and centralized management.
  • Reduce risk. Organizations with more digital-ready networks leverage improved performance and analytics to reduce operational and business risk. This can create a positive feedback loop in which improved reliability and security enable organizations to move forward with their Digital Transformation initiatives, thus driving even more organizational value.
  • Become more cost-effective and efficient. Organizations have become more efficient and reduced costs by upgrading their networks to take advantage of virtualization, automation, and orchestration. For study participants, this meant an average cost reduction of 43% for physical network infrastructure costs, and 30% in terms of staff time costs associated with deploying, supporting, and managing network systems.

So, what does this mean for you? We believe it means that you should consider whether your network is genuinely enabling your business, just keeping up with it, or becoming an obstacle to growth. In the context of deciding to make your organization’s network more digital-ready to tap into the value described above, this will require taking the following steps:

  1. Begin by understanding your organization’s digital business priorities 
  2. Assess your organization’s level of network readiness
  3. Plan your organization’s digital network journey to align to business priorities 

You now have the opportunity to redefine the role of networking in support of your company’s businesses. However, doing this will require executing on a vision that aligns network technology and capabilities with business priorities, and leveraging technologies that will make your network more open, automated, and software-centric.

I recommend IT leaders take a few minutes to begin understanding how the latest network advances can deliver business value to their organization. Read the new IDC InfoBrief here.



Pankaj Gupta

Director, Market Management

Enterprise PSM - Portfolio, Software, and Campus Switching