Is your business digital ready? Or are you just beginning your transformation journey?
Honestly assessing where you are on the digital maturity curve allows you to identify how to accelerate your journey. For any company, the first step is understanding the trends that make digitization an imperative. For most organizations, successfully embracing digital business is now table stakes—not only for success, but for survival.
Digital readiness matters
The second annual volume of the Global Interconnection Index (the GXI), a market study published by Equinix, outlines the major macro, industry and regulatory trends facing all businesses in every industry. Taken together, the following trends significantly up the ante to succeed as a digital business:
- Digital business growth is forcing the need to support real-time interactions to realize value, requiring the direct and secure interconnection of people, things, locations, clouds and data.
- An increase in urbanization is transforming global demographics and demand origins, creating the need for proximity between digital services.
- Escalating risks demand greater and more sophisticated cybersecurity to protect proliferating vulnerability points as data is distributed across multiple sources and consumers.
- Increasing data compliance regulations require data to be maintained locally yet made available globally.
- Growing digital business ecosystems fuel digital trade flows, requiring data to be exchanged between a widening circle of ecosystem participants, including employees, partners and consumers.
To reach the end-state of fully participating in the global digital economy, companies must address all of these macro trends at some level. As a result, businesses are increasingly placing their IT services at the digital edge, closer to the people, things, clouds and data that need them.
IT services moving to the edge
The GXI identifies a consistent set of distributed IT services associated with the successful implementation of digital business platforms. The following diagram outlines these critical distributed IT services:
The GXI research also correlates the distribution of IT services with a set of interconnection use cases—or transformation steps—that form a maturity model for a digital-ready infrastructure. These steps are as follows:
Network optimization enables real-time interactions between people, things, locations, clouds and data. Businesses can solve latency issues by shortening the distance between users and IT services.
Hybrid multicloud architectures solve IT complexity and enable access to vital business ecosystems. Companies can more directly and securely connect between distributed IT infrastructures, multiple public and private clouds, and partners that drive global digital business.
Distributed security reduces vulnerability points when data is distributed across many different counterparties. Organizations can reduce risk and solve compliance challenges by deploying and connecting security services, and expand security ecosystem connectivity.
Distributed data scales the exchange of data and integrates it with analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), data lakes and data controls. By consolidating distributed data with analytics, AI, and cloud services, businesses can yield greater magnitudes of data input/output performance and gain greater insights faster for less cost.
For example, if you are deploying an Internet of Things (IoT) platform you will need network optimization to reduce latency when interacting with IoT devices (e.g., sensors, instruments, etc.) and exchanging data with users, IoT systems and clouds. You’ll need private interconnection to hybrid multicloud services to collect, process and analyze the data at scale. You’ll need to place distributed security controls adjacent to users, clouds, systems and data to ensure greater information integrity and security. And finally, you’ll want to integrate distributed data, IoT systems, analytics and AI to gain meaningful insights to fuel greater business models and value.
These steps allow companies to prepare and reinforce their IT infrastructures for digital business and achieve crucial goals such as expanding global reach, improving collaboration and reducing costs. As you think about your IT infrastructure, how do you measure up against these goals? Which of the steps described above does your organization need to take to become digital ready?
How the journey to an interconnection maturity model unfolds
The following diagram illustrates the steps that our customers are taking to implement global, digital-ready infrastructures:
The digital transformation journey typically begins with two network hubs that enable six or more interconnections to connect two or more counterparties. As the business incorporates hybrid multicloud interconnections, cloud hubs are added to the network hubs, increasing the number of interconnections to a greater number of counterparties. Security and data hubs are added to enable security services and data management controls, increasing the number of interconnections to a greater number of counterparties for wider access to these services. The resulting digital-ready infrastructure is comprised of global IT traffic exchange points, as depicted below.
A digital-ready infrastructure allows businesses to unlock the power of private interconnection to thrive in an increasingly digital world. As you think about your company’s regional or global reach and the partners and ecosystem participants you want to connect with, you’ll want to identify the optimal locations for network, cloud security and data hubs that offer the greatest user benefits and the maximum return on your investment (ROI).
Maximizing your ROI for success
A digital transformation that is self-funding provides immediate returns as you go, which is critical for success. Equinix customers that globally deployed distributed interconnection solutions at the edge on Platform Equinix® realized a dramatic 328% risk-adjusted, projected ROI over three years. These results were recently reported in “The Total Economic Impact™ of Equinix,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Equinix, published in April 2019.[i] And looking back at the first step in the interconnection maturity model, it’s no surprise that the study’s analysis showed 68% of the total benefit realized was from network optimization, which also contributed to a minimum reduction in latency of 30%. The study also showed that a hybrid multicloud infrastructure using the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) cut cloud connectivity and network traffic costs by 70% and 60%, respectively.
The organizations interviewed in the study said that “Equinix facilitates compliance through a distributed data and security model. Equinix’s global hubs allowed organizations to better comply with data regulations, many of which require strict localization. One organization said: ‘Equinix’s global footprint, along with the consistency of services provided across its data centers, was appealing to us. It has increased our visibility, helped us deal with audits, and made localization much easier.’” The organizations in the study dramatically reduced their complexity and risk by completing comprehensive enterprise information technology and security audits 60% faster than before.
Direct and secure interconnection provides the essential building blocks for a high-performance, scalable, secure and compliant global digital business platform. Understanding where and how your company can leverage interconnection allows you to map out your next steps toward digital maturity.
What are you waiting for?
Learn more about how to get your business digital ready by reading the Global Interconnection Index Volume 2.