Network Infrastructure

Our current landscape reinforces the need for reliable IT infrastructure in organizations of all sizes. As most employees will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, more pressure is put on organizations to test, assess and improve overall network performance. Moving forward, network infrastructure will play a deciding factor in an organization’s ability to survive. Recently, CDW commissioned a survey with Angus Reid to examine the relationship between the optimization of IT solutions, including infrastructure, and the state of business continuity. Thankfully, our survey found that nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of IT professionals believe their network is future-proofed and able to meet organizational needs as we adjust to our evolving landscape.

Drivers of change

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the demand for optimized IT infrastructure at a time where innovation within the digital landscape was already growing at a rapid clip. As reliable solutions have become more necessary than ever, we are constantly reminded of the potential consequences that can occur when the maintenance of IT infrastructure is not taken seriously. Thankfully, one-third of respondents (33 percent) indicated they review network infrastructure performance quarterly, nearly one-quarter (24 percent) indicated they review it every six months and nearly one-third (30 percent) conduct this review annually. This highlights that organizations are making commitments to ensuring network infrastructure is properly tailored to meet current and future needs, although some are doing it at a better pace than others.

Looking specifically at small businesses, many were significantly impacted and forced into closure due to COVID-19. However, many were better prepared for these changes compared to larger enterprises. Nearly two-thirds of small business IT professionals (62 percent) felt their organization had already adequately adopted new technologies to optimize performance pre-pandemic, compared to 45 percent of enterprise organizations.

Adopting new technologies to ensure business continuity

Canadian organizations are at various stages of their technology adoption. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of respondents believe they were proactive in adopting new technologies prior to the pandemic, while 53 percent of respondents noted their organization did an adequate job of doing so in response to the changing landscape.

Looking at the new technologies that were adopted, cloud saw significant attention among infrastructure trends. One-third of respondents (33 percent) noted there was accelerated deployment of new services in public cloud providers, while 36 percent witnessed growth and investment in existing public cloud services. Another 30 percent of respondents indicated growth in existing on-premise and co-location data centre services, while 38 percent experienced investment in data centre technologies to solve new challenges.

While this adoption is encouraging, concerningly, 39 percent of respondents don’t feel their organization’s network is future-proofed. This highlights a significant gap in technology adoption at today’s organizations. While it’s important to meet the current demands, it’s equally important to be prepared for the workplaces of the future and able to adapt to the evolving needs. Thankfully, 87 percent of those who don’t feel their current organization’s network infrastructure is future-proofed anticipate they’ll be conducting reviews in the coming months.

Ongoing barriers to IT

While the pandemic has impacted organizations of all sizes in different ways, there are some consistencies in the barriers they faced in their technology adoption to improve and future-proof infrastructure. The overwhelming barrier respondents indicated as most prevalent in optimizing network infrastructure was cost (66 percent). Other barriers included the perceived complexity of projects (29 percent), reluctance from senior management (22 percent) and project duration (11 percent). It is important for organizations to realize that updating and future-proofing IT infrastructure is no longer an added benefit, but has become a necessity to ensure profitability, success and business continuity.

Where do we go from here?

As regions across Canada face various second waves of the pandemic, the majority of organizations will continue having employees working from home for the foreseeable future. Some key takeaways for organizations to keep in mind are:

1. Recognize the link between infrastructure and business continuity.

Regardless of an organization’s size or sector, having agile and flexible infrastructure in place will help ensure operations can function in a manageable and future-proofed way.

2. Network performance must be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

With increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and an everchanging digital landscape, ongoing assessments to determine if improvements or modifications are needed are key to ensuring a safe, secure and efficient IT environment.

3. Infrastructure cost should be a consideration in annual financial planning.

If cost is the number one barrier to optimizing IT, this needs to be addressed and incorporated into an organization’s strategic plan. Sustainable and efficient infrastructure is a key business driver and should be an organizational priority.

If you’re interested in learning how to future-proof your organization and enable yourself to adapt to the ever-changing landscape, contact our CDW solution experts at 800.972.3922 or  visit cdw.ca/datacentre. Our complete market trends report is available here.

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