The calendar year is about to turn over a new leaf. With this change in dates, many businesses are reaching a point where they are just a few months away from a new fiscal year. This means revised budgets and a season of analysis across many industries. The time has come for IT leaders to begin making their 2016 wish lists, a process that can be incredibly exciting and absolutely daunting at the same time. It is a time when you can get IT leaders together to talk about what you absolutely need to spend money on and which solutions you would really like to add to your configuration moving forward. This is where value trumps all – you must be able to justify your wish list technically, from an end-user perspective and when talking to the CFO. Enterprise content delivery network solutions check all of these boxes. Here are five reasons why an ECDN should be on your IT wish list for next year:

“Value creation is a priority in modern IT departments.”

1. ECDNs get more out of your existing hardware

Value creation is a major priority in modern enterprise IT departments, and solutions that add to the return on investment potential of existing technologies create exponential value. On its own, an ECDN solution delivers considerable value by making it easier to move video and other large data packets through your network. What makes an ECDN so intriguing is how it does it. By employing software-defined technologies, an ECDN eliminates traditional network routing barriers and moves data through your infrastructure in the most logical pathway at any moment in time, allowing your hardware to be used to its full capacity.

This results in value creation in a few key ways:

  • It circumvents hardware upgrades by making your existing systems more powerful.
  • It lets your current hardware work at closer to full capacity to drive performance increases.
  • It enables you to handle other content types more easily because video traffic isn’t bogging down your network.
  • It makes it easier to keep up with Wi-Fi demands by working around network bottlenecks.

Ultimately, an ECDN takes your existing hardware’s value creation potential and increases it substantially, leading to a huge potential ROI.

2. ECDNs make video easy

Enterprise video has been a thorn in the side of IT departments for a long time. Holding large meetings via video is an incredibly powerful business tool – it keeps everybody connected while simplifying scheduling and eliminating travel – but it also brings a huge technological burden with it. Organizations have been developing strategies to handle video for a long time, with traditional content delivery networks, WAN acceleration tools and similar methodologies all finding a degree of success. However, the rise in the quality of video from a resolution standpoint and the scale of users accessing it has created a huge problem – no traditional network tool can reasonably keep up with video’s data demands.

ECDNs are the most viable solution to create an infrastructure setup that can handle video with ease. Adding hardware is not only extremely expensive, it will also create more network complexity, may not resolve challenges associated with bottlenecks and is usually a short-lived solution as video traffic demands are continually escalating. Furthermore, all of that hardware is wasted at the times when video is not a major source of traffic on your network, so it isn’t a high-value option either.

An ECDN solution is delivered through a hosted network controller. You pay for the service and the vendor manages the hardware. With a network map in place, this controller can identify the most efficient pathways to transport data and save you from the challenge of revamping your network to handle video. The result is an environment in which large-scale video efforts are easy and do not put a huge burden on the IT department.

“An ECDN is delivered through a hosted network controller.”

3. ECDNs are scalable

Future proofing is incredibly complex in enterprise networks. Moves, adds and changes can become nightmarish exercises in untangling cables and avoiding downtime. Putting more hardware into the network can prove a puzzle in finding space within cable trays and ducts. Networks are not typically built with massive scalability in mind. They have been traditionally designed to last upwards of five to 10 years, and even as enterprise IT demands have changed, that upgrade timeline hasn’t changed too much because adjusting the network configuration is such a risky, complex and demanding initiative.

What if scalability wasn’t a problem for your organization? Think of it this way: When server virtualization came along, your ability to add new machines to the configuration increased substantially because you could roll out VMs in a matter of minutes, and putting new physical hardware was simpler because you already had such a solid base of VMs frameworks to upload into the system that the whole setup process was easier. As server virtualization expanded to create the cloud computing industry, the idea of scaling app investments and similar strategies in a hurry became commonplace. ECDNs have this same impact on your network. They use software-defined principles to make scalability simple, letting your existing hardware handle large quantities of data without trouble.

4. ECDNs are easy to manage

Everything discussed in the scalability section points to a key advantage of ECDN solutions – you don’t have to worry about managing them. Instead, the vendor performs a network readiness test to evaluate your current ability to handle video and map out the structure of your network, establishes the network controller in its data center and runs everything from there. While you can play a key role in optimizing the ECDN and making sure it works as well as possible for you, the vast majority of the work – including maintaining the hardware – is handled by the vendor. This gives you a huge network upgrade without corresponding hardware challenges, something that is incredibly valuable as many IT teams wrangle with mounting responsibilities and try to figure out how to stay afloat while maintaining increasingly complex configurations.

“ECDNs have a positive impact on the entire business.”

5. ECDNs deliver value to every level of the business

On the IT side of things, we’ve already covered this value creation – simplicity, scalability and manageability come together to make the technology hugely beneficial for modern IT teams. However, ECDNs really stand out because they have a positive impact on the rest of the business. Your executives and other corporate leaders will benefit from the ability to hold large-scale meetings more easily while working from a single location instead of traveling. Your HR teams will be able to incorporate video strategies into their employee engagement plans. Your various business units will be able to hold more powerful virtual meetings – both internal sessions and events including clients. The ability to incorporate video into operations with ease is a major value creator throughout the business, making ECDNs an easy sell when you talk to the CFO.

Making your IT wish list for 2016 may be a daunting process that leads to plenty of debate. One thing that shouldn’t be a hard sell is the potential gains offered by a strategic investment in an ECDN solution.