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Safely hedge your bets with software-defined networking

Computer Economics recently polled a number of IT organizations about leading technologies in the workplace and their inclusion based on the classic risk versus reward model. The findings were less than surprising.

Software-defined networking came out on top as the best technology investment a company can make in 2016, according to The Data Center Journal. Those who have already adopted the technology in their workplace ranked their findings based off of how much money the investment returned, and how much it cost to begin with.

There's a reason that software-defined networking beat out the adoption of mobile applications and tablets –  the amount of money that can be saved with the right technology greatly outweighs the cost.

Why software-defined networking?
Early on in the 21st century, the Internet was gaining rapid introduction into the workplace environment. Its abilities were being tested in every possible way, shape and form. Ultimately what came out of it is the hyper-connected culture we find ourselves living in today.

"Software-defined networking is the best technological investment a company can make."

Just 15 years later and the Internet has spawned a new sensation – video. This is quickly being adopted as a useful tool to improve internal communications on a number of levels, but companies are beginning to feel the drawbacks.

Video files are massive and require large amounts of bandwidth to transfer the data. While the end result is extremely useful, it can also be slow, pixilated and take a long time to buffer. Ironically enough, the impediment to include video in the workplace is, well, video.

Software-defined networking through an enterprise content delivery network takes away all the struggles that video poses to a company with a legacy network. Instead of taking on a high-risk, costly endeavor to secure a brand new network, companies can implement an ECDN and keep their legacy network while having the flexibility to expand with industry trends.

The true value of an ECDN
Video is being adopted at an exceedingly high rate as a combination of market shifts take place:

  • Millennials, who grew up accustomed to using video, are starting to compose the majority of the workforce.
  • Human resource professionals are beginning to see the advantage of using video for internal communication.
  • Employees feel that they connect better with video in an office where most work is done in front of a screen.

All of these factors are colliding and moving video onto center stage, despite the fact that some companies can't handle it. Networks purchased even as recently as five years ago simply don't have the capacity to handle the large data file transfers brought on by video. This is where an ECDN can step in and help.

"This is one technology that all IT organizations should be examining closely given the feedback we received from adopters," Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics, an IT research firm, told TDCJ.

By enlisting the help of an ECDN, video file transfers only go through the WAN once, no matter how many people watch the video. So, if employee "A" watches an internal announcement from HR, it will load automatically, without using any resources, for employee "B" and everyone that follows.

This technology can be used to assist multiple functions of a business:

  • Easily creating internal announcements, such as executive memos, job openings and promotions.
  • Creating unified onboarding across multiple locations.
  • Improving user engagement on the Intranet.

With a reliable infrastructure backing the technological switch, companies can save money by not having to rent out large, pricey conference halls to relay executive announcements and can instead revert to using video to do so and reach the employees that may not have went anyway.

Businessman showing business woman something on his devicePromote office engagement with internal communication run through video.

Resources can be saved with an ECDN when it comes to training because once an onboarding video is uploaded to the Intranet and watched once, it lives there forever without needing to be downloaded again. This means that experienced employees don't have to take time out of their day to train new hires, and the company can be sure the same message is being relayed to every new worker with consistency. This is especially helpful at larger companies where the message may get lost in translation at times.

Video ultimately creates a face-to-face connection that just isn't available in some businesses. It can be shared on the company Intranet to create connections between multiple employees that otherwise wouldn't have been forged. Some companies use it to post weekly question and answer sessions with executives where they will answer user-submitted videos with a video of their own. It's an excellent method to connect and bond with workers. The same just can't be done with text communication like email.

Moving forward, it's clear that the best investment will be one that prepares a company for the future. Software-defined networking through an ECDN does just that, as it opens the floodgates for better communication methods between companies and employees, while welcoming the future with open arms.