Data has dominated nearly all technology talk lately, while attention to networks has retreated into an auxiliary position, putting even the most AI-savvy companies at risk. In the recent 42-page report, “Modern Networks: How to Fast Track Competitive Advantage in the Digital Future,” Accenture explains how legacy network connectivity—with its high maintenance costs, increased security vulnerability and limited coverage, performance, and flexibility, has become a roadblock for companies looking to use cutting-edge technologies to improve resilience, efficiency, and productivity.
Digitalization has increased 162 times during the past 15 years
Network capacity has grown only 43 percent during the same time while innovation spend has grown only two-fold
By 2026, data generation will jump more than 2.5 times to 7.0 Petabytes per second from 2.7 Petabytes per second in 2021.
87% of respondents in Accenture’s global survey of 1,000 business and IT executives said the growing data demands of their new AI systems have outstripped the current capabilities of their networks.
“In fact, a configurable, consumable and automatable network is the connective tissue of a company’s digital core,” write the authors, “which unlocks future innovation, fueling new products, services and experiences.”
Digital Cores Require Unique Modern Infrastructure
The report shares the example of how Zuelling Pharma, which had long been manually selecting items for shipping, wanted to automate its processes with such possibilities as AR vision picking and drone inventory management. Another example: leading automaker Stellantis looking to use video analytics to conduct quality inspections and customize components and accessories.
Without up-to-speed networks, however, companies like these need unique modern infrastructure to seamlessly connect the companies’ digital core.
“The benefits of next-gen technologies are driven at least in part by rapid digitalization of every aspect of business, and indeed, everyday life,” explains the Accenture report. “Their adoption has led to an aggressive rise in enterprise data generated, shared and processed, as well as expanded enterprise workloads and higher storage and computational requirements. While it has provided a unique opportunity for businesses to drive innovation and growth, this explosion of digitalization combined with the surge in new technologies available to enterprises (and the volume of data generated and used) has put a strain on current networks which, for the most part, haven’t kept pace with evolving business needs.”
Business needs are growing faster because of the breakneck speed and scale of enterprise data and because of the new and heavier demands on networks by generative AI and LLMs. In order to learn patterns and structures of natural language, modern LLMs require massive amounts of data, along with high-capacity networks.
Risks of Inadequate Network Infrastructure
Leading companies are making sizable investments, but they are heavily weighted toward maintaining legacy networks.
Inadequate network infrastructure creates 6 key risks for businesses:
Technology effectiveness risk
Business efficiency risk
Customer experience risk
Trust & privacy risk
“It’s clear something needs to change,” write the authors of the report. “The network of the future must be a modern one—one that is an enabler of future technologies and innovation, not a cost center that confines the enterprise to the present.”
What Does a Modern Network Look Like?
Accenture surveyed 1,000 senior technology and business executives and found that 89% of enterprises see a modern network as an enabler of trusted, secure IT architecture. The survey also found that
84% cited improved security and data governance as a significant business outcome of network modernization
88% consider it a determinant of how enterprises move data between locations efficiently and at scale
80% or more expect a modern network to provide superior user experience in the cloud.
“A modern network enables various layers of a company’s digital core comprising cloud infrastructure, data and AI, applications and platforms and incorporating other new technologies that will enable forward-looking capabilities,” write the authors. “A modern network helps drive flexibility, resilience, innovation and, ultimately, Total Enterprise Reinvention.”
Up Next: How to Achieve a Modern Network