In its 2017 State of the CIO report, CIO Magazine found 72 percent of CIOs surveyed were struggling to balance business innovation with operational excellence, i.e., the need to “future- proof the business” while “keeping the lights on.” And that’s exactly where the enterprise finds itself today: facing a constant call to innovate to stay ahead of known competitors and potential upstarts – without missing a beat in delivering the current quarter’s numbers.
Gartner names this tension at the heart of business transformation “bi-modal,” which in so many words finds the CIO charged with minding the store while building a new one.
Elaborating on this theme in its 2018 CIO Agenda, which identifies growth as the number one business priority of CIOs, Gartner states:
“The quickening pace of digitalization and technological innovation is changing the CIO role from delivery executive to business executive. To successfully lead digital transformation, CIOs must help their organizations move beyond digital experimentation and pilots and start bringing digital best practices to scale.”
Taking a Wrong Turn at TEM
Bringing digital best practices to scale is a vital goal, but most companies are having difficulty getting there because they are mired down by old legacy systems – and the old legacy tools used to manage them. Put another way, enterprises can’t optimize their current businesses or go about transforming them, without knowing their networks. And they don’t.
It’s not their fault.
What began with fixed wireline networks has now morphed, proliferated, and accelerated into an amalgam of wireline, VoIP, mobile, and cloud-based networks and applications. The idea of managing all these networks – and the array of users and business functions they support – can seem like a pipedream for many enterprises still struggling to manage one with the telecom expense management (TEM) tools they have built or inherited.
Whole departments in the enterprise are dedicated to just paying phone bills, using legacy software from companies that have been bought and sold several times over. The march of VC money into this space hasn’t helped matters, enriching some investors but leaving many clients holding the bag.
That’s because the majority of TEM providers built their businesses too narrowly around bill payment, addressing only a symptom of a bigger problem, when what the enterprise really needed was a stronger grasp of network inventory.
That’s where GSG focused its energy beginning in 2005 – it’s why we launched the company – and that’s why today, with the same management team and no outside money calling the shots, we are able to give the CIO the keys to the kingdom: complete network inventory visibility to manage not only telecom, but every other communication network, including mobile, IoT, cloud SaaS applications, and, importantly, whatever comes next.
Show Me the Inventory!
Enterprise communications data sits in silos across information systems and geographies, so getting a complete, actionable picture of a company’s global network is extremely difficult. That’s the problem we have solved once and for all with the new Sakon Platform. Among other things, Sakon provides a living network blueprint from which all network-related cost, employee engagement, and transformation decisions can be based. A single system of record accurate enough to power all communication and cloud expense management and elastic enough to support every type of network activity and dependency.
And that’s important, because the network is the workhorse of business transformation.
Every employee gaining productivity through cloud-based apps and mobility depends on the network. Every phone call to a customer or interactive chat depends on the network. And chances are every IT-driven innovation that sustains or advances the business depends in no small degree on the network. So, is not knowing your network really an option?
A single system of record accurate enough to power all communication and cloud expense management and elastic enough to support every type of network activity and dependency.
One of our global customers knows every data and voice circuit, router, switch and SONET ring in its network – and every carrier contract that overlays them – because Sakon has captured all 270,000+ lines of its network inventory, enabling a deep understanding of each circuit’s use, cost, value, and performance – and the ability to more dexterously manage them.
This precision view of inventory, and the understanding it fosters, is the root of all IT cost and lifecycle management; it is also where the enterprise can know what services each employee is using, how much they are using, how to improve their experience, and, when they are no longer with the company, seamlessly shut off those services.
Knowing the network is also the foundation of effective network transformation. Today, we are seeing so many clients migrating their data networks from MPLS to SD-WAN, which boasts outstanding performance, particularly for SaaS applications, at significantly less cost. But changing networks can be a little like leaping onto a bullet train. CIOs are right to be cautious, because without the right tools, how can they prove the ROI and ensure they can make the switch without grinding the business to a halt?
Which brings me back to the plight of the CIO, the balancing of innovation and operational excellence, and the opportunity to scale digital through the adoption of best practices. When you know your network, you know how to optimize its performance, make it and the applications that run on it more efficient and cost-effective, and replace it with an even better one without missing a beat.
We recently saw this play out at a prospect turned customer. After we had engaged with them for months in the TEM trenches of an RFP, the prospect’s CIO happened to see our network inventory capability – the best he had ever seen – and how it powered everything from TEM to MMS to network transformation elegantly in a single platform.
The next day we had a signed contract.