Digital technologies increase business efficiency in infinite ways in all industries, all around the world. For example, just think of the time-consuming and costly processes that have been eliminated by businesses deploying cloud, collaboration, robotics and data analytics platforms. CAPEX is reduced, while scale is increased. Supply chains bring solutions to market more effectively and faster. Repetitive tasks are expedited, making room for new value creation. And greater insights can be revealed in real time, making a real difference in customer satisfaction.
Yet, with digital transformation comes an avalanche of data that is being created and consumed in more ways across more distributed locations than ever before. This generates dissonance and drives up IT complexity as the physical and digital worlds converge. As they tackle the challenge of integrating the physical and digital out at the furthest edges of the enterprise, technology and business leaders are seeking new strategies for architecting distributed, hybrid IT infrastructures to combat complexity. They are finding that Interconnection, the direct and private traffic exchange between key business partners, is an essential building block for integrating and controlling this new hybrid IT environment and creating a digital-ready business.
New digital catalysts converge and collide
How did we get here? Major macro, technology and regulatory trends are converging to form a perfect storm of complexity and risk. Many of these trends are in direct opposition to each other, with technology and business leaders left standing in the middle negotiating how to best proceed. Just consider the following trends and their implications:
- Digital business requires real-time interactions between people, things, locations, clouds and data to increase value capture.
- Urbanization is transforming global demographics and demand origins, creating a need for proximity between digital services and users.
- Cybersecurity is expanding Interconnection consumption as firms increasingly shift to private data traffic exchange from the public internet to mitigate against digital threats as data is distributed across a growing number of vulnerability points.
- Data compliance regulations mean data must be maintained locally while being accessed globally.
- Vital business ecosystems are experiencing an increase in their mix of customers, partners and employees and require digital ecosystems and Interconnection to scale.
These trends are forcing the integration of physical and digital environments to the very top of the CIO priority list in all industries at local, regional and global levels. In a recent MuleSoft connectivity benchmark, 89% of IT decision-makers surveyed see integration challenges slowing/hindering digital transformation in their organizations, and 81% view point-to-point integration creating some of the biggest IT headaches. [i]
Real-life hybrid IT complexity in action
At Equinix, our customers are experiencing the challenges of hybrid IT complexity firsthand and are turning to Interconnection and colocation to bring vital integration and control to their digital transformation initiatives. For example:
- A leading U.S. healthcare provider was challenged to manage the opposing forces of needing to migrate to the cloud while maintaining legacy systems to meet healthcare data protection regulatory requirements. To comply, the organization needed to store petabytes of data for decades, but the data didn’t all fit in the cloud, given the legacy formats. The company built a secure, hybrid cloud infrastructure on Platform Equinix® as the hub for the global transfer of its data to both on-premises and cloud environments.
- A global food service provider needed to manage network performance across multiple networks and regions. There was increasing complexity behind its routing and load balancing capabilities, because to deliver optimal performance, it needed to know if the source of the data traffic was a phone, a computer, an Android or an Apple iOS. The company overcame this complexity via a high-speed, low-latency network backbone on Platform Equinix. This enabled it to efficiently move multiple types of data traffic coming from different sources in its food services logistics pipeline into the cloud.
- One of the most established retirement management companies in the U.S. needed to integrate previous generations of retirement contributions and actuary applications with new digital capabilities required for modern cybersecurity. The company was driven by new behaviors and new digital capabilities with identity management, etc. It addressed this IT dichotomy with “one-stop shopping” on Platform Equinix by securely connecting to multiple cloud providers via a hybrid/multicloud infrastructure.
All of these enterprise examples show how hybrid IT complexity can be conquered by leveraging a single Interconnection and colocation platform that enables you to reach everywhere, interconnect everyone and integrate everything essential for digital business success.
Using Interconnection Bandwidth to measure and drive digital business integration
In 2017, Equinix published the first volume of the Global Interconnection Index (the GXI), an annual market study that analyzes traffic exchange globally. It provided the first industry look at how Interconnection Bandwidth—the total capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic between a diverse set of counterparties and providers at distributed IT exchange points—is shaping and scaling the global digital economy.
Volume 2 of the GXI, which will be published later this month, will provide invaluable new insight into the accelerating global growth of Interconnection Bandwidth and how it is making digital business integration possible. It will explore how Interconnection is emerging pervasively across all ecosystems, industries and regions to help speed and scale digital business transformation, and meet the demand for greater integration and control of distributed hybrid IT infrastructures. And by looking at the distributed IT services dominating the implementation of digital business platforms, it will uncover which ones are driving Interconnection Bandwidth growth. Finally, the GXI will arm business and IT leaders with real-world data that shows how they can implement four combined Interconnection use cases, along with an IT maturity model, to solve the challenges of this new generation of hybrid IT complexity and create a digital-ready infrastructure.
As our digital world becomes more complex and decentralized, businesses need to simplify how they distribute and integrate their IT infrastructures while maintaining a high caliber of service. And one simple way to reduce hybrid IT complexity is by deploying an Interconnection strategy that enables the successful integration and control of all aspects of your digital business.
Start now by reading the Interconnection Strategy Guide. Then, watch the Interconnections blog for the launch of the Global Interconnection Index Volume 2.