OREANDA-NEWS. June 22, 2016. Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, today released survey results from over 2,700 IT and business decision-makers (ITDMs and BDMs), revealing that companies are not prepared for the inevitable impact of digital disruption.

The new global report from Wakefield Research and Juniper Networks:

  • Highlights the ongoing disconnect between IT and the C-Suite;
  • Draws attention to the reality of how prepared -- or unprepared -- companies are for the digital disruption that has already hit some industries; and
  • Reinforces the benefits of automation investments to increase business agility and stay ahead of the disruption curve.

"For over 20 years, Juniper has partnered with customers to embrace business growth by investing in network innovation," said Rami Rahim, CEO of Juniper Networks. "True innovation requires an understanding of the value that technology delivers. Now more than ever, savvy technology investments are vital to maintaining a business advantage. The C-Suite doesn't need to code, but leading a company strategy for growth requires a strong relationship between those who set the strategy and those who execute."

Arm your current and future IT leaders for the disruption ahead

More than half of the respondents (55 percent of ITDMs and 51 percent of BDMs) expect a new disruptive technology, product or service to be introduced to their industry within the next two years. However, IT departments aren't feeling prepared for the changes ahead. Almost half (45 percent) of ITDMs surveyed believe a quarter or more of their IT workforce will not have the skills they need to succeed five years from now.

To address the skills gap currently hindering organizations from fully capitalizing on opportunities stemming from the expected digital disruption, Juniper Networks today announced an expansion of the company's OpenLab program to seven locations worldwide. OpenLab provides customers, partners, academics and other industry leaders with hands-on access to network automation workshops, educational programs and dedicated lab resources.

In addition, Juniper is working with innovative educational provider, General Assembly, to develop a curriculum to help the business and technology community gain highly sought-after and practical skills in order to remain relevant in today's rapidly changing technology employment landscape.

School your C-Suite and brace for rapid change

Nearly nine in 10 respondents (84 percent of ITDMs and 84 percent of BDMs) admit their organization would perform better if their current C-Suite were more tech-savvy.

A lack of investment in IT creates a barrier to innovation, preventing business from keeping up with the pace of change and staying competitive. Nearly half of the respondents (46 percent of ITDMs and 50 percent of BDMs) expect it would take one or more years for their company to develop and support an improved product or service if challenged by a competitor. That's time they may not have given the speed at which disruption can hit.

What's worse, legacy infrastructure is slowing business growth. More than half of respondents indicated their company's IT infrastructure would be very or somewhat likely to create an obstacle in accelerating a new product or service.

To remain relevant today, organizations need to address impending industry disruption by rethinking their IT approach to ensure they are investing in ongoing innovation. Market advantage is more likely to last when leadership stays at the forefront of technology innovation.

"Even access to the best tech doesn't ensure digital success in today's competitive environment. Companies must have the right mix of talent to lead and execute successful technology transformation. And they must continually ensure that their talent is 'digitally ready,' by both recruiting and training with an eye for the skills that will help them meet demand and scale in an agile, shifting technology landscape," said Fiona Vickers, Senior Client Partner and Managing Director, Digital at Korn Ferry, the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm, that recently published a report entitled Leaders for a Digital Transformation.

Invest in automation

To stay ahead of the disruption curve, organizations should prioritize network automation investments. Study results show that both ITDMs and BDMs see IT and network automation as essential for their company's future competitiveness.

Nearly three in four respondents (70 percent of ITDMs and 72 percent of BDMs) say they're excited by the opportunities network and IT automation create for their company. Of the ITDMs already using software-defined networking (SDN) or network functions virtualization (NFV), nearly all (93 percent) say it's given them a significant edge over their competitors.

ITDMs at companies that have adopted SDN report greater benefits and capabilities than they originally expected; respondents were most likely to report cloud interconnect, virtual data center and security automation as the business benefits of SDN adoption. ITDMs at companies that have adopted NFV reported greater benefits and capabilities than they originally expected; respondents were most likely to report that NFV adoption enables virtual security, virtual routing and WAN optimization.

The study, commissioned by Juniper Networks, was conducted by Wakefield Research via an online survey of 2,704 respondents in the U.S., China, Australia, Japan, India, U.K., Germany and France. Click here for more information or to download the full report.

Supporting Quotes:

"General Assembly is focused on providing training that empowers professionals through practical and engaging programs that companies need to stay competitive in today's digital age. The findings in Juniper's study are another indication for companies around the world to invest in their talent and confront a very real skills gap."

- Charlie Schilling, General Assembly, GM, Enterprise

"Service providers need to offer customers turnkey services on scale to drive business growth. This requires creative network management capabilities to orchestrate and automate the delivery of innovative services. Being able to harness the power of network functions virtualization coupled with advancing workforce skills sets are now imperative elements for companies to compete and stay ahead of digital disruption."

- Conleth McCallan, managing director at Datanet

"As a cloud engineering and consulting company, we've seen first-hand the benefits of adopting SDN as we help our customers keep up with their rapidly growing businesses. We've been at the forefront of realizing the cost-saving and operational benefits of a software-defined approach and our software defined infrastructure, A.C.R.E. (Advanced Cloud Resource Elements), has allowed our customers to deliver new data center and IT infrastructure that can scale as their customers' needs change and grow. SDN is a game-changer in our industry and has implications not only for our customers, but our customers' customers as well. We are committed to acting as advisors and bridging the skills gap to allow our customers to realize the benefits of software-defined IT services based on highly scalable, flexible and automated platforms."

- Kevin Fibich, founder and managing director at CloudSeeds

Additional Resources

About Juniper Networks

Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. Our team co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure networks with agility, performance and value. Additional information can be found at Juniper Networks (www.juniper.net) or connect with Juniper on Twitter and Facebook.