Interconnected Enterprises Set to More Than Double by 2017

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In this new interconnected era, organizations can’t do it alone when it comes to creating value. They must rely on each other – and interconnection – to succeed. A recent Enterprise of the Future survey of 1,000 IT decision-makers by Equinix revealed that businesses worldwide have developed a vast and accelerating appetite for a new level of interconnection, which has become essential to market differentiation and growth.

Perhaps the survey’s most notable finding is that enterprises appear to be positioning themselves for a radical transformation from corporate-centric to interconnection-centric IT infrastructures. In fact, the number of interconnected enterprises worldwide is set to more than double by 2017 – increasing from 38% to 84%. This surge in interconnection is readily explained by the survey’s findings that 3-in-5 businesses believe that interconnection with employees, partners and customers is “very important” to their company’s ability to compete.

Among other top findings:

  • Revenue growth is the enterprise’s top priority, and the top IT strategies to drive growth are all heavily interconnection-dependent.
  • The benefits of interconnection are real and quantifiable – more than 1/3 of survey respondents who have already deployed interconnection solutions report greater than $10 million in value created, with 58% reporting this value came from increased revenue opportunities.
  • Multi-cloud interconnectivity is a prominent business strategy worldwide, with 86% of the companies planning to interconnect to multiple clouds across multiple locations over the next five years.

It’s clear from the survey that interconnection has become a top strategic priority for the enterprise, but what is the catalyst for this “interconnection surge?”

First, it’s important to note that the enterprise-grade interconnection we’re talking about is much different from the connectivity of yesterday. Modern interconnection establishes direct and secure, physical or virtual connections between an enterprise and its partners, customers and employees. It enables companies to meet the anytime, anywhere, any device connectivity demands of today’s end users.

The reason this kind of interconnection has become so critical is the enterprise is being slowed by existing, highly centralized IT architectures, which are often contained in on-premise enterprise data centers. They can’t scale to meet the growing numbers of dispersed users with which they interact. These complications were widely acknowledged by survey respondents, with 51% calling siloed business and IT architectures a “very important” barrier to their company’s IT agenda.

Those limitations have the enterprise approaching a tipping point, where business workloads will exceed IT’s capacity to support them. But many of the “most important” infrastructure obstacles for IT leaders, as revealed in the Enterprise of the Future survey ̶ systems uptime, cost to scale, high latency ̶ can be solved by better interconnection.

For instance, improving interconnection by distributing and deploying IT closer to end users for direct and secure connectivity decreases latency, increases efficiency and creates redundancy, so the enterprise network can divert around problem areas during outages.

The survey also indicated that reducing data safety risks, in general, was a major priority of survey respondents:

  • Cyber-security was by far the biggest disruptive trend, cited by 64% of the respondents.
  • 3 out of 5 said that minimizing exposure and improving security was a “very important” business challenge.

Again, direct and secure interconnection can reduce those risks by circumventing the Internet. This shrinks the “attack surface” by reducing the number of hops required to interconnect locations and closing off attack points.

Some of the most interesting findings involved what companies learned from becoming interconnected enterprises. For example, “reducing risks, improving security and minimizing exposure” was seen as the top priority when pursuing interconnection by 71% of the interconnected enterprises, but only 50% of the non-interconnected enterprises saw it as the No. 1 priority. That 20 percentage-point difference reinforces the real value that enterprises realized in addressing these issues through interconnection. And that value is what will sustain the coming interconnection surge.

Download the complete Enterprise of the Future Report.