IDC analysis shows that organizations deploying digital network technologies receive over $48K annual benefits per 100 employees with a 9-month payback.

Meeting with IT leaders always fascinates—and often challenges—me. There is always some new insight or perspective I take away from these encounters. Over the past year, I’ve met with an increasing numbers of IT leaders who voice their frustration. Why? Because they realize that legacy approaches to networking will be a major impediment for their digital initiatives, but they struggle to make the business case to modernize their infrastructure.

Often times when you hit a wall with business leaders, you need to translate your vision into financial benefits. Speak their language. After all, hard numbers talk louder than a million network diagrams.

We decided to find a way to help. We put IDC in touch with eight trailblazers who are using Cisco DNA to transform their business. The goal was to unearth the business and IT benefits they were experiencing — then help quantify the benefits of a digital-ready network to their business.

I won’t go into any length about the research and results—you can read the full report for yourself here —but I do want to share some of my favorite highlights:


  • The Network has broad business impact: The network touches everything. Likewise, the business impact of the network—especially as we enter the digital era—is incredibly broad. The customers IDC spoke to identified benefits from deploying Cisco DNA solutions that spanned IT staff productivity, business productivity, IT infrastructure costs and risk mitigation.
  • $48,117 in annual benefits: When we add up the benefits across all of those areas, the figures are remarkable. Specifically, IDC discovered that on average, these organizations were realizing $48,117 in annual benefits per 100 users, with a nine-month payback. How is that for a head turning statistic to add to your business case?fig2
  • Network operations productivity increased by 28%: Network automation results in dramatically more efficient network operations, but that’s just the very beginning. There are many as yet unrealized benefits. But, an initial 28% productivity gain is nothing to shake your head at, and as they say, the self-driving car wasn’t built in a day.
  • IT productivity extends to application development too: While network automation results in more efficient network operations, customers are also experiencing speedier and more effective application development and roll out. On average, IDC found that customers were able to shave 17% off of the time it takes to deliver new applications. As one customer put it, “The legacy network couldn’t address the many applications that we are seeing or needing to be able to support…. This is why we created and are extending the DNA network.”
  • Digitizing the Network can lead to better security: We all know that cybersecurity concerns are on everyone’s mind. A major breach can quickly wipe out any ROI benefits, and fear of a breach is often responsible for slowing down progress on digital initiatives. Cisco DNA solutions can dramatically reduce the scope of breaches — how many clients or machines are compromised — while shrinking the time to detection of breaches. Digitization dramatically increases the attack surface as more and more things are connected to the network requiring a fundamentally different approach then legacy security appliance only approaches.

Quantifying Your Vision

In my experience, IT leaders typically recognize that their current network model, while still manageable, is not sustainable. Getting business leaders to understand—and ultimately invest in— network transformation is the challenge. The findings from the IDC analysis provide IT leaders with data to help frame the business benefits that can be achieved by building a digital-ready network.

Armed with this information, a business case can be made to drive investment in networking infrastructure. From there, the discussion can move to the fun part: aligning IT and business strategies to drive innovation across the organization.

All around the world, companies in every industry are struggling with the complexity of digital transformation. The majority of IT leaders realize that the network will either be the hero or the villain in your digital adventure. If you’re trying to determine the best way to make a business case for networking transformation in your organization, this report is a must read.


Scott Harrell

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Enterprise Networking Business