Building a distributed global enterprise: the role of technology

The explosion of online, social and mobile technologies has resulted in a 24/7 worldwide workplace

March 10, 2014

By Christo Briedenhann, Regional Director at Riverbed Technology

Christo Briedenhann, Regional Director at Riverbed Technology

Christo Briedenhann, Regional Director at Riverbed Technology

The explosion of online, social and mobile technologies has resulted in a 24/7 worldwide workplace. Long gone are the days when business was confined to desktop PCs and a 9-5 working day. Today, organisations are increasingly operating from multiple locations and on multiple time zones.

In a globalised marketplace characterised by speed, efficiency and follow-the-sun operations, today the distributed workforce is a critical business enabler. In such a landscape, business models are triggering a redesign in IT architecture; flexibility, simplicity, security and continuity are key imperatives that are enabled by trends such as application growth, virtualisation, cloud computing and enterprise mobility.

However, where productivity is the name of the game and speed is how you win, are CIOs focusing enough on end-user experience and employee productivity? For example, a large Internet company recently calculated that a page-load slowdown of just one second could cost up to $1.6 USD billion in sales each year. This shows that by enabling fluid global collaboration, quick downloads and speedy cloud-based applications, CIOs can directly demonstrate real business impact. As they strategically redirect their IT investments to bring their ecosystem of employees, partners and customers closer together, CIOs are at the centre of a radical rethink in IT – one that caters to the demands of a global business and a highly distributed workforce.

There is no silver bullet that can enable a CIO to accomplish all the large goals of an enterprise. Applications, storage, networking and security all play into the mix. The network itself has evolved from simple HQ-branch architectures to now include Internet VPNs, and business class internet services, leading to a complex hybrid network. But no matter which technologies are used, an optimised network is the one that ultimately ties it all together, matching applications to the right path with the right characteristics. Dispersed businesses demand a LAN-like environment across the hybrid WAN; one that enables employees to experience IT in a manner that makes them feel that the applications, files and data they need are always local. Regardless of bandwidth limitations, application design, distance or latency, the environment not only demands high performance levels, but it is a critical imperative for survival.

The benefits of WAN optimisation for business are tangible across a range of new business practices. In the past, decisions were handed down from headquarters, while today remote workers’ decisions help define the organisation’s journey towards its vision. Employees are collaborating rather than merely executing orders, even as they demonstrate speed and mobility in going closer to the customer. Secondly, CIOs and business leaders are leading the corporate initiatives to ensure applications performance everywhere with a sharp focus on the mobile worker. As such, it is essential that these employees are provided with fast access with mobile WAN optimisation solutions to corporate resources around-the-clock.

By implementing WAN optimization, CIOs can enable employees around the world to enjoy the same level of performance as their counterparts in headquarters. Data centres are better protected and organisations respond faster in the event of disasters. Infrastructure can be consolidated without performance loss at distant or remote locations, yet retain the flexibility to move data and applications, often providing faster response than ever before.

In an increasingly global marketplace, business without borders is an aspiration for growing enterprises. However in order to translate this vision a reality, businesses need to technology and infrastructure to support it. With WAN optimization, organisations can grow their business across locations without worrying about technology-related roadblocks, and significantly improve performance, overall productivity and success.