Interconnecting Locations: Creating the Interconnected Enterprise

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Thriving metros and emerging economies are beckoning any enterprise that’s looking for global opportunities to grow. But first you must determine the viability of locating offices and people worldwide. There are several tough variables to consider when making that decision, and interconnection is among the most important.

When it comes to determining a location’s “interconnection readiness,” I see a parallel with the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Information Technology Report, which uses a “network readiness index” to measure a country’s networking capabilities. The higher the network index, the more attractive that country is to businesses wanting to establish a footprint there. The same principle applies to enterprises aiming for greater global growth: The higher your enterprise’s “interconnectivity” index, the greater likelihood you’ll be successful in expanding your business across multiple locations.

In this second post in our interconnected enterprise blog series, we move from interconnecting people to the challenges of connecting multiple global locations and the opportunity to increase your “interconnection readiness.”

Reducing Risks and Costs

Some of the biggest inhibitors of enterprise globalization are the huge CAPEX and OPEX investments, as well as the risks associated with creating remote IT infrastructures and wide area networks (WANs). Whether you’re going to high-network readiness locations such as Singapore, or countries such as Guinea, with little to no communications infrastructure, these challenges can add years to your company’s expansion plans.

Basic infrastructure issues can be addressed via global colocation data center facilities, but establishing WAN connectivity is trickier. Connections provided by your enterprise’s legacy network technology-based WANs and Internet-based VPNs can limit your ability to quickly and cost-effectively deploy location expansion strategies, due to their inflexibility and high costs. In addition, ensuring the quality and security of global interconnections over the best efforts of the public Internet, which is latency-prone and difficult to manage, is not always possible.

You need an interconnection solution that re-architects legacy WANs from a centralized, corporate-IT model to a globally distributed model and brings connectivity directly to where your employees, partners and customers are located. And if the level of interconnection is agile enough to support the evolving mobile and social habits of your users, then you will have established a platform for greater global user satisfaction and quality of experience (QoE).

Connecting Your Global Supply Chain

Some companies have tried to improve interconnection performance within globally dispersed supply chains by throwing more bandwidth and connections at it. Think online payments ̶ that industry quickly discovered that adding bandwidth and connections didn’t solve high-latency issues, but shortening the distance between each connection in the supply chain process did.

Direct, high-speed connections between physically distributed “communications hubs” can virtually shorten the time it takes to go between two points, much like international airport hubs shorten the time of global travel. And within geographic interconnection locations, proximate connectivity to local partners can mean performance and economic gains.

Improving Operational and Business Efficiency

Close coordination among partners also helps maximize your operational efficiency and minimize your costs across global manufacturing, transportation and distribution entities. Proximate interconnection to local partners, data and real-time analytics greatly improves your interactions and enables you to bring your products/services to global markets faster.

There are other global interconnection considerations, including whether private connections to local data for compliance regulations are available or whether secure connections between globally distributed multi-clouds are accessible. And these connections all need to be made without using the public Internet and risking data breaches and man-in-the middle attacks.

Becoming an interconnected enterprise can solve many of these problems and simplify the extension of your worldwide data center/IT footprint.

In the next blog in our series, I’ll talk about how to expand your company’s cloud presence through interconnection.

Read more about the interconnected enterprise from Equinix.com and check out some white papers, case studies and an infographic.

Read all five parts of the Interconnected Enterprise series.