Tuesday, on the same day that Juniper Networks released a report – “Will Your Company Survive the Next Big Disruption? IT As the Great Enabler” – from Wakefield Research and Juniper, the company also announced the global expansion of its OpenLab program for partners and others.
The OpenLab program offers resources that include educational programs, software-defined networking (SDN) sandboxes and network-functions virtualization (NFV) interoperability testing, to learn more about virtualization and automation technologies, according to the company. These resources provide partners a test bed for new product development and service offerings.
The company’s original OpenLab center, in New Jersey, is just one of seven locations including Sunnyvale, California; Bridgewater, New Jersey; Amsterdam; London; Tokyo; Singapore; and Sydney, Australia. The new locations will open by year-end.
There’s a dire need for IT innovation, according to the vendor-sponsored report, which highlights a disconnect between the C-suite and IT team; outdated infrastructure and an IT skills gap; and, the realization that automated technologies are required for business advantage.
The June report respondents included 1,800 IT decision makers (ITDM) and 904 business decisions makers (BDM), globally.
From the get-go, a high percentage of both ITDMs (90 percent) and BDMs (89 percent) were confident that their primary products and services today offered a competitive advantage over their competitors. But, the respondents see the disruption writing on the wall in as little as one year. Twenty-two percent of ITDMs and 30 percent of BDMs expect disruption to hit their businesses within the year. That combined response increases to 54 percent in one to two years; 57 percent in three to five years; and then retreats, 21 percent, in more than five years.
What’s interesting is that after the anticipated first year of disruption, where the BDM respondent percentage was higher than the ITDMs, a higher percentage of ITDMs expect disruption in all of the following years.
Not surprising then was the fact that about nine in 10 ITDMs and BDMs agree that business performance would improve if the C-suite was more tech-savvy and that this lack of technical knowledge on the part of the C-suite was actually holding the company back.
In particular, the report noted that it was the C-suite’s lack of awareness about the vital role that the network plays in the company’s success that was troubling.
Another section of the report focused on two obstacles with the potential to hamper future success. One is …
… an IT talent gap that, if not remedied, will hinder a businesses competitive advantage. The report surveyed a number of industries including retail/sales, service provider, financial services and health care.
The second obstacle to a company’s future success, specifically its ability to offer new products and services, was an outdated IT infrastructure. Service providers were most at risk for outdated infrastructure hampering business success – 80 percent of ITDMs and 69 percent of BDMs agreed that infrastructure posed an obstacle to future growth.
Cost was viewed as the biggest barrier to infrastructure upgrades by ITDMs and BDMs — 51 percent and 48 percent respectively.
When looking at the network, there was interest all around in the advantages that network automation could offer. More than two-thirds of ITDM and BDM respondents in all four business verticals were “excited” about the potential of network automation for their business.
The lion’s share of ITDMs – greater than 80 percent in each of the four verticals – viewed network and IT automation as essential for company competitiveness.
On the SDN front, adoption was mixed with 82 percent of ITDMs deploying a mix of SDN and traditional technologies, according to the report. Similarly, deploying a mix of NFV and traditional network was reported by 85 percent of ITDMs.