Cloud, data analytics make telecoms a top tech priority - is your network up to the job?

IT leaders appear keen to prepare for the data explosion, but do business leaders understand what's ahead?

Telecoms and network bandwidth are back on companies' IT agenda as enterprises gear up to handle the surge in traffic caused by new software use cases, according to analysts.

Moving applications to the cloud is the top strategic network priority for SMBs and enterprise in 2013, according to the annual telecoms and networks survey by analyst firm Forrester, which canvassed the views of 2,100 IT professionals in Europe and North America for its The Expectation Gap Increases Between Business And IT Leaders report.

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Cloud computing made a significant leap in importance compared to last year's survey, which found that it was only a top priority for 37 percent of participants. Now, that figure is 63 percent.

The other technology that has moved up the ladder of strategic importance is M2M, which was only considered a high priority by 11 percent last year and this year was rated a top priority for 36 percent.

Delivering greater mobile support for customers and business partners was stable, but still dominant category, with 60 percent of IT professionals reporting this as a top priority compared with 64 percent last year.

Thanks to changes in business IT models, telecoms is now rising in importance for businesses.

"The top network and telecommunications priority for businesses in 2013 is to increase bandwidth sufficiently to handle the explosion of traffic triggered by cloud computing, multimedia usage, and data analytics," Forrester said.

According to Forrester's research, business leaders are not as aware of what it takes to build a network that's ready for the future. For example, a mere 38 percent of business leaders strongly advocated an all-IP network, 60 percent don't have software defined networking on the radar, while nearly 40 percent are unaware of the internet's new addressing system, IPv6 , which according to Forrester, means they are therefore underestimating a key building block for business process automation.

The gap in thinking between business and IT is largest when it comes to increasing bandwidth with 79 percent of IT leaders voting it as a top strategic priority, while only 56 percent of business leaders counted it as one.

Likewise, 57 percent of IT counted an all-IP environment as a top priority, while 38 percent of business leaders thought it was. A greater concern for the latter group was that a network upgrade could cause disruptions to business.

2013-07-25 01.54.21 pm
Image: Forrsights Networks And Telecommunications Survey, Q1 2013