When companies speak of “killer apps,” they’re referring to applications that are so important to their organizations that their organizations might not function at all without them.
In the past, killer apps were software systems. Many of them act as operational “drive chains” that cut across all areas of the company. Popular examples include ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and SCM (Supply Chain Management), while others such as ERM (Enterprise Risk Management) help companies assess risk for planned business decisions.
In any case, the supporting IT functions that enable these critical applications – like storage and networking – have rarely been considered. Instead, they provided an invisible backbone that was part of the system deployment in IT but was not considered by management.
Now that could change.
The deployment of Edge IoT (Internet of Things), WI-FI 6 and 5G networks brings new possibilities that enable internal business operations and e-commerce for virtually every company, and these improvements are only possible through improvements to the network.
Should the network itself be considered a killer app?
The network as a new corporate drive chain
Describing systems like ERP and SCM as the power chains of companies has always made sense, as these systems touch all business functions and dictate the business processes in an organization.
This will also remain the case with these systems, but it is just as imperative to regard the network as a new organizational drive chain. This is due to its necessity as an enabler for automated IoT and industrial manufacturing, e-commerce, asset and environmental tracking and auditing, field service, sales, engineering, etc. In short, without a robust and secure network, most business processes today will be easy not work.
The new network-controlled applications
How companies use the network depends on their line of business, but most are either expanding or considering expanding network capabilities in these three areas:
1. Migrations to 5G
Businesses want to migrate to 5G networks over time. This will help them manage the amounts of data they can expect each day at the speed their business requires. Stock trading transactions are an example that requires 5G. Industrial manufacturing with its IoT data flowing in from countless robots, devices, devices and systems is another. With the shift to more remote workers using video conferencing and collaboration tools, the speed of 5G, which can be up to 100 times faster than 4G, will also improve the fidelity and reliability of these applications.
Unfortunately, 5G is expensive. Few companies will be able to afford to completely “clean and replace” their existing 4G (or lower) networks, so they must carefully plan how they will gradually migrate to 5G and what business operations and systems will need to be supported first will.
2. Internal implementation of WI-FI 6
WI-FI 6 allows multiple devices and applications to use different streams of the WI-FI frequency band.
For businesses, this means that higher-bandwidth applications and business processes can run concurrently.
One of the early adopters of WI-FI 6 is education, which needs to support many simultaneous transmissions of video training and education. As enterprises use more unstructured big data such as video, these massive data payloads must move from point to point within the four walls of the enterprise. WI-FI 6 can do that.
However, like 5G, WI-FI 6 deployment is expensive. It requires new investments in network infrastructure and an agreement between business stakeholders on who gets WI-FI 6 service first, while other applications (and departments) wait their turn and on older and slower WI-FI – Stay connected.
WI-FI 6 deployment planning should include strategic meetings with key business decision makers to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to who gets WI-FI 6 first. and how much is spent on it.
3. Cloud network infrastructure
Businesses use multiple clouds and need a robust network to ensure cloud resources and systems are always available to support the business.
The need for robust connectivity to the cloud is pervasive. Vendors of large business systems like ERP are all moving to cloud-based versions of their software. The cloud also supports IoT, video and audio collaboration tools. The cloud is increasingly being used by businesses as storage because it is available on demand and does not require a budget exception for an unanticipated capital investment. but — If the cloud network infrastructure fails, all of these systems and resources may be shut down.
For this reason, the network strategy must take place on several levels:
- First, there must be sufficient investment in network infrastructure to support the network security, resources, and bandwidth required for mission-critical enterprise applications.
- Second, there should be backup networks and failover plans built into the organization’s disaster recovery plans.
- Third, network staff training and development may be required to extend the scope of network expertise beyond the walls of the enterprise and into the realm of the cloud.
How CIOs should address networks
Due to the dependence of companies on their networks to deliver critical IT, networking is no longer a side function. Instead, it becomes the new killer app.
This places new demands on CIOs to ensure networking is at the forefront at strategic and budgetary tables.
Because most network managers come from highly technical backgrounds, they may need to be refocused and retrained in management and soft skills to meet the demands that will be placed on them when they sit and are called upon to sit in meetings with CEOs, CFOs, and others Explain in plain English why a specific network topology or approach is required.
Within IT itself, it may also be time to review the organization’s current social hierarchy. In the past, the application group always had the greatest prestige and the highest strategic role. This role may now need to be shared with network professionals as well.
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