Accenture conducted a blind survey with 300 senior IT and business executives from companies with annual revenues in excess of US$1 billion. Respondents came from ten industries and seven countries. Participants from IT included CIOs/CTOs, their direct reports, and vice presidents (VPs) or directors of infrastructure/network The business respondents included line-of-business executive vice presidents (EVPs) and VPs.
They were looking to see if enterprise networks were under as much pressure these days as they projected they would be. They also investigated which barriers posed the greatest threat to networks keeping pace with what the business was demanding of them. The report, Network Readiness Survey, found that "less than 40% [of respondents] said they were "very satisfied" with overall capability (36%) and bandwidth (38%). Half or less reported being "very satisfied" with their network performance (43%), security (50%) and reliability (50%).
So, half of today's users find room for improvement in the enterprise network with current data loads.
There are other strategic misalignments at work here. 48% saw "misalignment between IT and business needs" as the main obstacle to keeping networks in phase with the business demands placed on it. The second and third most commonly cited barriers were "inherent complexities between business requirements and operational needs" and "demands for bandwidth, performance etc. outpacing the ability to deliver" at 45% each.
Perspectives play a major role here too. The choice of the top-three barriers "varied greatly" depending on where these executives sit within the organization. No single issue was found to appear in the top-three barriers cited by respondents from all job categories In fact, each role sees a different barrier as the greatest challenge, as the report shows.
But, software-defined networking (SDN) is popular among all. The results indicated that most companies (77%) were in the process of deploying SDN or have completed their rollout. What phase of deployment is important here, since SDN may not be implemented enterprise-wide.
How about funding for this? Is it a fight? Nope. Thirty-one percent describe funding network improvements as "easy" and within the network infrastructure team's control. Forty-two percent of business executives considered the funding approach to be "easy," similar to the 42% of CIOs/CTOs.
When taking a wider view, it still seems 23% of executives across all roles described securing funding as "difficult" or "very difficult," requiring either special budget from both the infrastructure team and the business or a directive from the c-suite. The report had to admit, upon reflection, that "it was clear that the majority continue to see their networks in pieces and parts."
— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.