Software-defined Networking is an Essential Consideration for Successful IT Transformation

Making the switch to software-defined networking delivers significant business benefits and plays a key role in IT Transformation.

In the fifth of a series of blogs inspired by influential research published by industry analyst ESG, we discover the impact that software-defined networking can have on an organization’s IT Transformation efforts. 

With both data and IT users being more distributed than ever in a typical enterprise, the network connectivity between them is increasingly important and relevant to business success. Modernizing the IT infrastructure is a fundamental step in any company’s journey towards IT Transformation – and software-defined networking is an essential consideration. Why should your prospects and customers be thinking about it? Because software-defined networking (SDN) is a modern data center technology that can measurably affect an organization’s IT maturity.

The advantages of a more agile network

There are three different ways an organization could adopt SDN, each using a different technology. Importantly, however, they are all open networking solutions.

Because an open network is more programmable, flexible and automated, it delivers more agile, centralized administration capabilities. Network provisioning is no longer a bottleneck, so adopting a cloud service delivery model becomes easier, application deployments become faster and VM recoveries can be achieved sooner, minimizing application downtime.

A more agile network with centralized admin allows IT staff to focus less on routine network management and more on strategic-level IT advancement. It also enables higher levels of scalability, by allowing the network to meet traffic demands of workloads as they grow and fluctuate over time.

So when your customers are considering and transitioning to SDN, they should always opt for open networking technologies, instead of locking themselves into proprietary vendor solutions.

How does software-defined networking affect IT maturity?

New research shows that the implementation of software-defined networking can play a key role in increasing an organization’s operational agility as well as its ability to achieve full IT Transformation.

Earlier this year, ESG conducted a survey of 4,000 IT executives from private- and public-sector organizations across 16 countries to evaluate their progress in embracing IT Transformation1 – and rank them as ‘Legacy’, ‘Emerging’, ‘Evolving’ or ‘Transformed’.

Almost all (97%) of the ‘Transformed’ companies surveyed by ESG reported that they are committed to software-defined data center (SDDC) technologies, including SDN – and 77% of them have already begun implementing those technologies. In contrast, just 1% of the ‘Legacy’ organizations have implemented SDDC technologies such as SDN.

These statistics are detailed in ESG’s Research Insights Brief on the foundational role that a modernized network plays in IT Transformation2.

Software-defined networking accelerates IT Transformation

Overall, the ESG research found that making the switch to software-defined networking delivers significant operational and wider business benefits.

Compared with ‘Legacy’ organizations, the ‘Transformed’ organizations in the study – those companies that are users of SDN – are typically:

  • 5X more likely to be significantly ahead of their competitors in time to market (49% versus 13%).
  • Nearly 2X more likely to execute most of their application deployments ahead of schedule (42% versus 22%).
  • Nearly 2X more likely to typically recover VMs in less than 30 minutes (32% versus 18%).
  • 5X as likely to have made excellent progress enabling a rapidly elastic data center environment (46% versus 18%).
  • More than 3X as likely to report excellent progress in virtually pooling their infrastructure resources (50% versus 17%).

As well as detailing the operational advantages that a more agile network delivers, the ESG report highlights the particular relevance of SDN for organizations preparing for Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives, those connecting to the cloud and businesses that need to offer a positive digital experience to end users via their websites, online storefronts, and mobile applications.

Do you have customers and prospects like this? If so, they will almost certainly be interested in the competitive edge that SDN can give them…

Read and share the full ESG Research Insights Brief >>

Discover how software-defined networking can help to improve operational performance and speak to prospects and customers to discuss their specific needs. You can also use the free ESG online assessment tool with them to demonstrate the opportunities and value of IT Transformation.

Explore our dedicated IT Transformation campaign and marketing tools >>


1 ESG Research Insights Paper, ‘Research Proves IT Transformation’s Persistent Link to Agility, Innovation, and Business Value’, March 2018.

2 ESG Research Insights Brief, ‘The Network’s Foundational Role in IT Transformation’, May 2018.

About the Author: Julie Tatum