Planning for the future of infrastructure

How to unlock your network’s true potential.

Planning for the future of infrastructure

How to unlock your network’s true potential.

The digital infrastructure of most organisations is a complex network of platforms and solutions. Siloed workstreams and a lack of integration make it difficult to extract value from the investments made. How do you join the dots and create an infrastructure for the future? Here, we look at data as the connecting force that will help you solve the puzzle.

On the face of it, Tetris is an easy enough game. You only have to deal with seven shapes, and those shapes are always the same. Your simple task is to make sure they line up without leaving any gaps.

But as anyone who’s played it knows, Tetris is a much more tricky game than that. A single misplaced shape means quickly reviewing your strategy, affecting the placement of every shape that follows. Soon, even the smallest misalignment can create such an unruly puzzle that it’s no longer possible to tackle it by applying a coherent strategy. Firefighting becomes the only option.

Your infrastructure is exactly the same. It’s a network of different elements, the overall success of which depends on how well they align. If they line up, it can unlock huge efficiency and security gains for any organisation. But if they don’t, it can lead to an unruly mess that saps your resources as you fight to keep it under control.

So, how can you connect all the pieces of your infrastructure and start to extract real value from the network you’ve invested so much in?

Connecting the dots

It’s no secret that data is the currency that can truly unlock business intelligence today.

The trouble is, grasping that potential becomes more challenging as the quantities of data running through an organisation grow and grow.

“For our customers, the rate of data growth is increasing hand-over-fist every year,“ says Scott Cowling, our Director of Infrastructure Solutions. “The largescale adoption of multiple public and private cloud services, edge compute services, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, remote devices – it’s all led to this massive expansion in the network of data flows.”

And while theoretically this means there’s even more potential within your grasp, it also means that managing that data flow across your organisation is becoming as challenging as it is fundamental to a successful digital transformation strategy. 

Scott continues: “Data is created by your employees, by your customers, by your operational assets. But it’s no good if it just stays siloed in those areas of your business.”

So the question is: how do you bring all that data together to drive insights and create value? The only way to do that efficiently is by having effective infrastructure.

You can’t have a successful – or even functional – business without effective data flows
Scott CowlingDirector of Infrastructure Solutions, BT

The challenges of a disconnected network

“Infrastructure is not just at the heart of digital transformation, it’s the lifeblood,” Scott explains. “It’s responsible for ensuring that all associated digital transformation activities come together as a unified, holistic, functioning whole.

“If you adopt a more dynamic approach to infrastructure and data flows, then you’ll be more agile and able to adapt and respond more readily to more opportunities,” he adds.

But with all organisations having embarked on the journey to digitally transform their operations from different starting points, it’s inevitable that each one finds itself at a different stage on that journey, with a unique – and complex – existing setup.

That lack of standardisation gives rise to siloed workstreams, resulting in a lack of connected and actionable data. It also makes implementing infrastructure projects – which take around 18 months to complete and often span the tenures of multiple employees – even more complex.

But perhaps the most pressing issue relates to security. As data becomes more dispersed, the attack surface grows exponentially too, making it more difficult to monitor security issues across multiple, disconnected platforms.

It is therefore vital to both improve organisational data flow while protecting your business from cyberattacks.

Creating a secure and agile infrastructure

“In the past year alone, there’s been a 400% increase in the number of email attacks globally, and the threat landscape we operate in is becoming more sophisticated,” says Tristan Morgan, our Director of Global Security Advisory.

“That’s why embedding security into your infrastructure transformation projects from the start is fundamental to helping businesses unlock their potential and grow.

“A few years ago we saw organisations’ infrastructure and security teams working separately,” he adds. “But the future is all about bringing the pieces of the puzzle together. You’ll then have the visibility and controls to understand who is doing what and where on your network and get less employees circumventing security processes, ultimately resulting in better end-user experiences.”

It’s clear that security and infrastructure need to be approached in unison if they are both to be maximally effective. Coming up with joined-up plans and strategies is needed to crack the infrastructure puzzle successfully.

As Scott says: “Time spent planning is never time wasted.”

“Take the time to understand your current and desired data flows before making a knee-jerk reaction to changing things. And remember, you’re not alone. Rely on the expertise of infrastructure experts like BT to bring an unbiased view of what will work best for you, given your unique circumstances.”

Because who wants to enter their password five times in order get into a piece of software or platform?

Seeing further with BT as your partner

One of the key ways we’ve become a great partner when it comes to infrastructure transformation is through the experience of managing our own infrastructure – which connects 100,000 people across the world.

That aperture is enhanced by the expertise we have across 100% of the infrastructure landscape. “We’ve got security experts, cloud connectivity experts, SD-WAN experts, traditional networking and LAN experts,” Scott says. “The magic is in how we bring them all together, so you’re not having a series of siloed or point conversations with different people.

“We provide an end-to-end service, bringing our experts together to create a fully joined up infrastructure story. That’s the benefit of having a globally scaled, full-portfolio provider like us.”

When we say ‘we see further’, we mean that we have a unique aperture around data
Tristan MorganDirector of Global Security Advisory, BT