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article imageAging infrastructure still impeding digital transformation

By James Walker     Sep 21, 2017 in Technology
Digital transformation strategies are being "held back" by a reliance on legacy tech, according to a new report. As companies try to modernise their IT, they remain restricted by aging infrastructure that can't be migrated to the cloud.
Information Age reports the survey from Riverbed Technology found almost all IT leaders have experienced difficulties caused by legacy systems.
1,000 IT leaders from nine countries were involved in the study. 97 percent said their old technology has proved incapable of keeping up with the cloud era.
The drive towards digital
This interaction between legacy systems and new digital tools is a big problem more and more organizations face as the shift to digital continues to accelerate. 98 percent of those surveyed agreed a next-generation network will be essential if their business is to be prepared for the future. As entire industries turn to the digital economy, firms that don't embrace technology stand to lose out. Those that do devise migration strategies often find themselves hindered by the need to maintain their existing infrastructure.
Transformation tension
The new survey confirms previous findings that paint a bleak picture for the chance of succeeding at digital transformation. Last month, another study found 90 percent of projects fail, even when they appear to have hit on a winning strategy. In many cases, the plan has to be scaled back, refocused or scrapped entirely due to the presence of existing business processes and legacy technology.
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The findings show that businesses struggle to adopt modern platforms. Companies with legacy networks are finding they're unable to support the demanding cloud-based workloads that are becoming critical to success. 93 percent of respondents to the Riverbed survey said their business is impacted by a legacy network-related service outage at least once a month.
Tech investments ramping up
Most businesses are planning to upgrade to newer infrastructure. 93 percent said they intend to adopt next-generation SD-WAN networking tech within the next four years, allowing them to adopt a full cloud-first model.
While this will unblock the implementation of digital transformation, it could also introduce a new set of challenges as data has to be migrated from the old network. Depending on the size of the business, purchasing a new network could be prohibitively expensive.
56 percent of firms said they want access to improved networking tech specifically so they can reach their digital transformation goals. Other stated motivations included improved business mobility, the ability to meet customer expectations of their service and the option of using IoT devices.
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"This survey and the resulting data reveal the tremendous pressure that IT decision makers are under to execute their cloud strategies, achieve digital transformation and keep pace with the speed of innovation that is the norm in today’s hypercompetitive markets," said Jerry M. Kennelly, co-founder and CEO, Riverbed Technology.
"It was almost unanimous that to have a successful cloud strategy, organizations must adopt next-gen software-defined networking immediately to support it. Riverbed is dedicated to ensuring this transformation is successful and that organizations are able to achieve the operational agility needed to thrive through the use of SD-WAN for cloud networking."
Digital leaders evidently know where they want their transformation strategies to lead. Getting there is proving a challenge though, suggesting tech companies and cloud providers could do more to simplify migrations to next-generation platforms.
Despite the implementation problems, businesses are pursuing their goals with determination. This suggests the potential benefits of transformation are now so accepted they're worth the initial struggle.
As new networks come online, companies will have more success stories to look to, making it more likely their own upgrade will run according to schedule.
More about digital transformation, digital disruption, Digital, Infrastructure, Networks
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