Today's IT Challenges
Agility has become an increasingly urgent requirement
for business success. Customers want customized solutions and more product choices,
and they want them faster, with global service and support, and at the lowest
cost. Whether it means adopting Web-based business models from front-end storefronts,
developing a unique brand experience, or reorganizing back-office payments and
partner-based supply-chain management, successful companies - no matter what
their size or organizational structure - must be quick and flexible enough to
respond to customer demands, market opportunities, competitive threats, regulatory
mandates, and other events and pressures.
However, companies cannot just decide to transform or reinvent themselves at
a crucial moment if their core business processes and operational systems are
not architected for flexibility.
In the typical enterprise, the IT infrastructure is made up of hundreds of
applications that may reside in different data centers and run on disparate
platforms, often traveling over separate networks. As new applications are added,
each requiring its own management system, operational complexity increases.
These proliferating silos of computing resources and associated operational
complexity confound the organization's ability to adapt quickly when each application
demands its own unique set of resources, resulting in yet another silo.
So when business unit managers request IT organizations to meet new business
demands, what is a realistic plan of action for CIOs and IT architects?
Architecting a Service-Oriented Network
While it may not be practical to take a uniform or standardized approach to
all business applications, IT architects can take a uniform approach to the
network, which is the common denominator for all applications, computing resources,
video and telephony. The network is pervasive, touching all fixed and mobile
devices, end users, and even those outside the enterprise, such as supply-chain
Moving to an increasingly more intelligent network provides the kind of dynamic,
application- and service-aware infrastructure that a nonintegrated infrastructure
simply cannot provide.
Traditionally, the network has been regarded as a transport pipeline to move
data or voice from point A to point B. Today, the network is evolving as a platform
for business solutions that enables communications and collaboration throughout
the organization. A strategic asset for a Web-based business transformation,
the network dynamically enables resources across multiple silos to deliver business
agility as needed. It integrates IT assets with critical business processes,
creating a platform for application optimization and process improvements.