Empowering Digital Transformation Through Network Automation
26 October, 2020 by Alex Hawkes
2020 has seen a real acceleration in the adoption of new digital business models. At Capacity Europe last week, PCCW Global’s VP of Digital Innovation Marketing, Neil Templeton, took to the virtual stage to explain how network automation is helping businesses embrace digital transformation.
How has the network requirements of your customers changed during 2020?
“Since March and the onset of COVID 19, we’ve seen an accelerated pace of change with businesses and their move to digital transformation. We are not only experiencing this change ourselves, but we are also seeing it with our carrier and enterprise customers. We’ve noticed a few trends within that.
Firstly, more of our customers are moving to a cloud or hybrid cloud environment, as well as adopting SaaS for their business critical applications.
A few years ago, businesses were still experimenting with migrating these workloads to the cloud. Today they are running business critical applications, like ERP systems, in the cloud, and operating their businesses using dozens or even hundreds of SaaS platforms.
As a result, we’ve seen a surge in demand from enterprise and carrier customers to upgrade their networks – and they need the ability to upgrade those networks fast.
Secondly, we are seeing greater business interdependency. It’s no longer enough to just turn-up networks between data centres - businesses now need networks that can bring together SaaS, cloud and other networks. It’s a much broader ecosystem that we are a part of. This is creating both challenges and opportunities for the telecoms industry.”
What is important to today’s customers?
“It’s never been as important to be customer-centric when building your business and developing your products and services. Everything today has to be driven by what the customer wants. Everybody is on a journey to change their business and embrace these new digital ways of doing things.
In particular, we are seeing that customers want speed and agility. They need network agility that can match their cloud workloads - so that they can flex, turn-up and reconfigure services when they want to do so.
The other thing that is really important to them is simplicity. In this ever complex world of interdependency, the network is handling more types of connections. Customers want that network headache to be taken away from them and are looking to their network providers to simplify things for them. They want to move to a point and click operating environment or to be able to automatically call upon products and services via an API.
Customers are no longer willing to wait 4-6 weeks to have a network service turned up. They are looking for quick deployments and then want to have flexibility with those deployments.
As they move more data to a cloud environment, security and privacy is also of increasing importance to customers. The public internet is no longer good enough for some of these business critical applications – and so customers are looking for high-quality, direct and fast connections into their cloud environments.”
How has your business adapted to these changes in the market?
"Over the last 18 months, our business has gone through huge transformation and cultural change. We’ve adopted a much more agile approach and framework, which has permeated down throughout the organisation.
That journey began in 2017 with the acquisition of the Console Connect platform, which set us on the path to becoming more of a software business. We’ve come a long way since then – we’ve automated our IP network globally and integrated with all the major cloud providers. We are constantly growing our ecosystem of cloud, SaaS, UcaaS and IX partners.
We are essentially moving our entire business to this automated environment, which will eventually become a meeting place of applications, users and infrastructure. It’s been really exciting to see all that develop in such a short space of time.”