Is your Digital Business Ready to Level Up?

New Global Interconnection Index helps businesses make the leap to digital

You don’t have to be a parent to know that the multiplayer game Fortnite has become the obsession of today’s kids (and the bane of their parents!). One of the most compelling aspects of any video game is the chance to “level up” to new capabilities, winnings and possibilities. In Fortnite this means growing the ability to show off ridiculous dance moves, don outrageous costumes and do battle in strange corners of the island.

In digital business, leveling up means successfully traveling a continuum full of increasingly rich rewards of innovation, growth and leadership. And like in video games, unlocking each new level of value in this world means mastering a whole new set of challenges and complexities.

Mapping the digital business continuum

As I talk with business leaders about their digital transformations, it’s clear that they are digital willing. They’ve made the commitment to embrace cloud, mobile, IoT and every other enabler they need to tackle today’s new business challenges. But are they digital ready? Do they know how to get to the next realm of value? The prize they’re after is the ability to reach everywhere, interconnect everyone and integrate everything they need for digital business success. To win it, companies are increasingly turning to Interconnection — the private and direct exchange of data between companies. Today, we released new Interconnection data and insights to help them level up.

The second annual Global Interconnection Index ( the GXI), a market study Equinix publishes that analyzes private traffic exchange globally, highlights how Interconnection is becoming the de facto method for companies to operate in today’s digital world. Interconnection Bandwidth capacity provisioned for this purpose is forecasted to grow 48% CAGR through 2021, almost double the expected 26% CAGR of global IP traffic. Over the forecast period, the annual private data exchange volume between businesses is predicted to be nearly 10X that of the internet.

What do these findings illuminate? They reflect a new reality: more people, software and machines are creating and consuming data faster and in more distributed locations than ever before. As major technology and regulatory trends converge to force the physical and digital worlds of IT together, businesses are faced with a massive next-level challenge: how to securely deliver a common set of distributed IT services while seamlessly integrating their many service providers and business partners. The solution is to more strategically interconnect their workflows across people, things, locations, clouds and data to support real-time interactions. As the fuel that powers all those growing interactions, Interconnection Bandwidth is quickly becoming a necessity for successful digital businesses to operate.

A front row seat for digital transformation

At Equinix, we are front and center for the digital transformations of thousands of customers around the world. Not only do we get to watch and learn from how their digital businesses evolve, we get to help simplify, speed and enrich their path.

Joe Brannan, Vice President of Data Center, Network and Storage Services at Lincoln Financial Group, recently drove this home for me when he remarked that working with Equinix is a chance to always “realize another layer of unlock.” Much like in Fortnite, he sees his company’s relationship with Equinix as the key to opening up new strategies and possibilities. According to Joe, “The network transformation strategy, converging with the data center strategy, converging with the cloud strategy, converging with other business strategies was unlocking and fueling all of those things.”

I love seeing this dynamic in action. A lot of customers come to Equinix because they have a new business requirement that’s forcing a change in their IT infrastructure. But once they realize their initial goal through Interconnection, they start seeing new opportunities they never knew existed that can get them to the next level in their digital journey.

Following are some real-world examples of how our customers are leveraging Interconnection to level-up as they transform. These and many other customer experiences are the catalysts for four powerful Interconnection use cases that any company in any industry can leverage to become digital ready:

  • Network Optimization: A leading multinational insurance company first turned to Equinix to increase its company’s network performance, but then quickly realized that this could also open up the door to new products and capabilities. Once the company optimized its network at Equinix, it was able to develop a new risk management SaaS offering that it now sells as a service provider to a completely new set of customers. Interconnection solved the customer’s initial challenge, and then allowed the company to create a whole new digital business model that otherwise may not have been possible.
  • Hybrid Multicloud: Sysco, the global leader in food products and services, also came to Equinix to optimize its network backbone for its millions of customer transactions per day. It gained 5X greater network performance at 50% less cost versus its legacy MPLS network. The company built on that success by creating a fast, redundant hybrid multicloud highway to accelerate the migration of thousands of its on-premises servers to public cloud providers. According to Kirk Joubert, Director of Network Services of Sysco, “Interconnection via Equinix is the glue in the middle that allows our ecosystem to properly function.”
  • Distributed Security: Enterprise Holdings operates the Enterprise Rent-A-CarNational Car Rentaland Alamo Rent A Car brands through an integrated global network of independent regional subsidiaries and franchises at more than 10,000 airport and neighborhood offices worldwide. Other Enterprise transportation options include: retail car sales, fleet management, vanpooling (rideshare) and truck rental. Enterprise started its digital journey at Equinix with a vision for network transformation. The company wanted to increase bandwidth, ensure security, and provide a better user experience for its global customers and employees. By deploying direct and secure Interconnection at Equinix, Enterprise reduced the network latency it was experiencing by connecting via the public internet by at least 20%. From there, the company deployed its global connectivity strategy for internal users, pushing security policies from a centralized security stack to all of its branch locations for greater control. According to Courtney Weston, Assistant Vice President of IT at Enterprise Holdings, “With a footprint of up to 10,000 branches, trying to pull all that together from a security perspective was daunting. Moving forward, the Interconnection enabled by Equinix for our global security solution allows it to be flexible and adapt as our security rules change.”
  • Distributed Data: Matt Douglas, the Chief Enterprise Architect at Sentara Healthcare sees “a huge transformation in the health care industry,” especially when it comes to securely managing data. By leveraging hybrid cloud Interconnection at Equinix to transfer all of its data into the cloud, he believes that Sentara is “ahead of the game.” Because of HIPAA patient data privacy regulations, Sentara must track the actual performance of securely moving data from its on-premise data center to its Microsoft Azure cloud at Equinix, where its compute, data lake, data services and predictive analytics reside. Douglas sees “amazing” low latency (under 11 milliseconds) when privately exchanging data from Sentara’s data center to the Azure cloud at Equinix, at less than 60% in overall infrastructure costs, and with no down time.

These are just a few examples of how our customers have successfully leveled up to a digital-ready state via Interconnection on Platform Equinix, gaining new digital capabilities and layers of value at every step on the continuum. Check out the Global Interconnection Index Volume 2 to learn how to harness the power of Interconnection Bandwidth and conquer the Interconnection use cases that matter most to win at the game of digital business. And though I can’t promise this, it may even help with your Fortnite dance moves too!

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