Following on from Alberto Soto’s blog a few weeks ago on the key IT trends for 2012, we wanted to look into some of those trends in a little more depth
This year is shaping up to be year of that most challenging client of all: the end user. With increased use of mobile platforms, cloud services that provide access to a panoply of applications and data storage solutions sat well outside the corporate firewall, and demand for new applications at speeds the IT department just can’t deliver to, users have much more power than before to determine how, when and what IT services and solutions they use. And that’s just the ones they use for company business!
IT Services Providers, VARs and Systems Integrators (SI) are increasingly being asked to help resolves the challenges this can create, and the focus has been on making the data centre more flexible, scalable and resilient so that deployment of services and applications can facilitated quickly and smoothly. Ensuring IT staff can deploy business driven changes, while guaranteeing uptime, access, and resilience in the network to cope with increased data and greater fluctuations in demand at shorter notice, has been key. And this will continue, with ongoing adoption of virtualisation and Ethernet fabrics.
The problem is that much of the technology currently in vogue – cloud, unified communication and collaboration tools, video conferencing, mobile platforms/access and so on – are all about the user experience. And the user rarely (if ever) sits in the data centre. So if the Campus network isn’t ‘up to spec’, the user is likely to find the kind of problems the IT department has spent time and money on fixing at the data centre end are still prevalent. Loss of connection or inability to connect, poor quality of audio or visual media, lost data, updates not updated – all those things guaranteed to send drive both users and IT Helpdesk up the wall. C-level management gets increasingly frustrated at investing in things that ‘don’t work’. IT staff get frustrated that ‘it does work’ but the network outside the data centre can’t cope and doesn’t have the same built-in intelligence so is a nightmare to try and manage. And this issue will reach crunch point in 2012.
It’s time to redefine the economics of the Campus LAN and recognise its importance in delivering cloud, VoIP, video, applications and the use of more mobile platforms. And, to recognise fully the growing opportunity for the significant new and incremental sales that Campus networks provide. Because customers, as always, will be looking for IT Services Providers, VARs and SIs who can help them make wise investments and the right deployments - and campus is where they will be looking next.