Demand for Advanced Interconnection Drives New Opportunities, Challenges for Channel

Edward GatelyInterconnection is increasingly on the radar of enterprises globally, presenting numerous challenges and opportunities for channel partners looking ahead.

That’s according to Equinix’s new Enterprise of the Future survey of more than 1,000 IT decision-makers in 14 countries. The new level of interconnection has become essential to market differentiation and growth, and businesses globally have “developed a vast and accelerating business appetite for it,” according to the results.

Tony Bishop, Equinix’s vice president of global vertical strategy and marketing, tells Channel Partners a proven shift is taking place in enterprise IT right now toward interconnection. Companies globally agree that revenue generation is their top IT priority and are looking to interconnection-oriented strategies to achieve this, he said.

“Direct and secure interconnection also significantly eases cybersecurity concerns, which 64 percent of Enterprise of the Future survey respondents reported could drive them to consider re-architecting their IT infrastructure over the next 12 months,” he said. “Cybersecurity was by far the biggest disruptive trend cited.”

The number of interconnected enterprises is set to more than double from 38 percent to 84 percent globally by 2017, according to the survey. Three in five businesses believe interconnection is “very important” to their ability to compete, it said.

Also, more than one-third of respondents that have deployed interconnection report more than $10 million in value created, with 58 percent reporting this value came from increased revenue opportunities.

In 451 Research’s Interconnection 101 report, analyst Jim Davis said with the “rise of services that depend on network speed and reliability, interconnection facilities will be more in demand. And facilities where the largest number of firms can meet have become “extremely valuable.”

“There is a challenge for both the enterprise and the channel partners that service these customers,” Bishop said. “It is clear that traditional enterprise IT is not built …

… to compete in this new interconnected era. Existing architectures are highly centralized and can’t scale to meet the increasingly mobile enterprise end user. Without fundamental change, businesses will not be able to compete. This reality is forcing a broad IT rethink as enterprises move direct and secure interconnection into their strategic center. The channel must be ready for this shift and provide services that are geared toward interconnection.”

A positive user experience is considered “very important” to 53 percent of respondents, while connecting more locations with more speed is very important to 51 percent of respondents.

Reducing risk, in general, was a major priority of respondents, with three in five saying that minimizing exposure and improving security was a “very important” business challenge and one in four calling it the single most important, according to the survey.

“While the fact that cybersecurity topped the list of IT concerns is not surprising, what was surprising was that for companies that had yet to deploy interconnection, only 50 percent ranked ‘reduce risks, improve security and minimize exposure’ as a reason to explore interconnection, whereas 71 percent of the interconnected enterprises ranked security as a key interconnection driver,” Bishop said. “These differences indicate that enterprises that have yet to become interconnected may be underestimating the true value interconnection can provide in addressing risk and security concerns, compared to interconnected enterprises, where the security of direct interconnection is clearly better understood.”

Partners with abilities to help companies develop multi-cloud strategies have a distinct opportunity in this shifting IT environment,” he said.

“Multi-cloud interconnectivity was mentioned as a prominent worldwide business strategy, with 86 percent of the companies planning to interconnect to multiple clouds across multiple locations over the next five years,” he said. “Being able to directly and securely connect to cloud providers, bypassing the public internet, will ease security concerns for the enterprise.”

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