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Large Enterprise Forum

Managing enterprise connectivity

Companies need a reliable, secure, and scalable connectivity infrastructure, which is easy to manage. by Kusum Makhija

Prakash Bajpai
President Enterprise Reliance Infocomm

With bandwidth prices coming down, connectivity has increased manifold in the enterprise. That said, connectivity has also brought with it a host of issues such as scalability and security. With a deluge of data flowing across the network, it is crucial for enterprises to have secure information. More importantly, the key customer concerns are speed, reliability, and consistency.

Expanding Horizons

The boundaries of an enterprise go beyond its nationwide locations to encompass its suppliers, distributors, retailers, and customers. Along with the need to be connected to these entities, an organisation has to communicate with its sales force and business executives who are on the move throughout the year. This has lead to enterprise connectivity becoming a critical focus area in most organisations.

“As business has evolved in the infocomm space, processes have been structured in a different way, they are more technology-centric. The market for wireless technology has picked up. My organisation is looking at connecting more than 500 cities across India through a single network for data connectivity,” says Prakash Bajpai, President Enterprise, Reliance Infocomm.

Vendors are looking at building content and broadcast management capacities to cater to the diverse and magnified business needs of enterprise customers.

Impediments To Growth

Among other technologies, virtual leased lines, peer to peer and multi point to point connectivity are picking up among the enterprise.

In spite of claims made by connectivity vendors, it is not unusual to have unreliable connectivity in the last mile, especially in the case of remote locations. Enterprises need better connectivity as they add new applications, set up new locations, add personnel, build DR sites, and set up data centres.

Most simply purchase a new leased line or VSAT link or upgrade their existing links. Before the successful transition to MPLS, can happen, organisations need to look at the existing leased line structure and plan their VPNs.

“As business needs are changing, so are the thinking paradigms and so are the solutions offered by vendors like us,” explains Bajpai.

Connectivity Strategy

Organisations need to have an enterprise connectivity strategy in place keeping all of the above factors in mind, and should ideally be a mix of various factors according to the company’s priorities. It should create policies regarding the deployment, use, monitoring, management, and bandwidth upgrades.

Another crucial aspect of technology upgradation is the redundancies involved. The hardware and software upgradation and replacement cost are major concern areas for CIOs, especially with shrinking product lifecycles. Blending legacy and new generation applications could be the possible answer to the CIO’s dilemma.

The IT infrastructure services market shows demand for robust infrastructure and core capabilities. The skill sets required are mostly for mission-critical applications. With the managed services market expanding, enterprises are looking at a one-stop-shop for all their IT requirements.

In some organisations, IT plays an extremely business-critical function. For example, IT and connectivity play a vital role in the case of a stock exchange. A minute of downtime results in huge financial losses for the exchange, brokers and stockholders. However, an FMCG company may get away with a few minutes of downtime, as connectivity is not vital to the core functions of its business.

New Applications

The advent of IP phones have led to newer applications in enterprise connectivity. Right from banking, bill management, ticketing, e-mail; group messaging to audio video capability, these phones support an array of applications.

Another key trend to look for, according to Bajpai, is the evolution and penetration of CDMA technology in India. GPRS, its competitor still lags way behind in terms of performance and cost. In such a scenario, there is no doubt that CDMA is going to emerge as a preferred mode of providing net access to road warriors. “CDMA is creating interesting futuristic capabilities in the enterprise connectivity space and is a phenomenon to watch out for,” adds Bajpai.

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Indian Express - Business Publications Division

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