Trends like cloud computing, enterprise mobility, big data and video are coming together to put a strain on enterprise networks. Businesses are responding to rising connectivity challenges by changing the way organizations invest in the network. A recent Technology Business Research study found that companies are increasingly moving away from traditional network hardware investments and focusing their spending on solutions like software-defined networking services and wireless solutions. This change stems from a simple paradigm shift – businesses aren’t as worried about adding capacity to the network as they have been in the past, as they are instead focused on getting more agile and adaptive.

Looking at shifting network requirements

Enterprise network spending has risen by 6 percent year-to-year during the first half of 2015. This has led to $31.5 billion in spending on network systems during the period. Krista Macomber, a TBR data center analyst, explained that the entire vendor landscape is shifting across the network sector as organizations revamp the way they upgrade their networks. Companies want to make their IT systems a business enabler, not just a background cost sink that supports the organization. This is where software-defined technologies, wireless functionality and similar solutions come into play, as they give organizations an opportunity to make enterprise networks more flexible.

IT systems have long been approached as a background cost for businesses. They tend to be expensive and companies often look at them as a necessary evil. This is changing as organizations become more dependent on technology and look at their IT capabilities as a strategic business enabler. Christian Perry, TBR data center practice manager and principal analyst, explained that the move toward agile, flexible networks is disrupting traditional spending patterns as companies transition to operating IT as a service.

“The long-term network infrastructure growth outlook is more uncertain as customers radically alter their approach to network architecture to support evolving business requirements for heightened agility and responsiveness,” said Perry.

Pile of different coloured wires stacked on top of each other Traditional network investments are not the answer to rising business technology demands.

Considering ECDNs in this new network world

As businesses face a new network reality focused on agility, they need to reconsider how they invest in hardware. The reality facing most organizations is that upgrading hardware to the degree necessary to create an agile and flexible connectivity configuration would cost too much. Routers, switches, Wi-Fi access points, cabling systems and other hardware needs to be deployed to both provide the capacity necessary to data-rich apps and services while also providing flexible data pathways to avoid bottlenecks. Traditional hardware configurations can’t keep up with this demand unless you add significant excess capacity to the network alongside specialized, expensive, intelligent data routing solutions.

To envision the near future of the network industry, consider what has already happened in the software sector. A few years ago, organizations were spending so much time and money purchasing software, trying to find space in the budget for new software suites and managing licenses that they couldn’t feasibly keep up. Then cloud computing came along, letting companies provide software to their employees as a service and creating new opportunities for business agility.

The same transformation is happening in the network space. The time and financial investments needed to keep the network up to pace with rising business demands, particularly in areas like enterprise video delivery, can be staggering. Maintaining traditional network purchasing models isn’t an option. Solutions like enterprise content delivery networks use software-defined technologies to deliver network advances as a service. They use hosted network controllers and similar technologies to help you get the most out of your existing network capacity through a subscription plan, eliminating the cost barriers that can come with traditional network boundaries.

Businesses are becoming more dependent on technology playing a role as a business enabler, and ECDN solutions make that possible in the network realm.