Canadian businesses lagging in network innovation to support digital transformation, says Cisco report


Canada lags far behind other nations in terms of strategic implementation of projects and networking innovations that support digital transformation, spotlights Cisco’s recently released 2020 Global Networking Trends Report.

Canada ranks 11th among 13 countries, in terms of its digital transformation approach, with only 40 per cent of IT leaders in Canada reporting their firms have strategically implemented projects to support digital transformation.

But even those projects don’t seem to have a clear strategy, suggests Cisco’s research.

About a quarter of network architecture in the country has been found to be at minimum maturity stage. Twenty-three per cent of network strategists and Canadian IT leaders reported their network architectures are ‘best-effort’, the minimum level of maturity, compared to only eight per cent on average. In just two years, however, they expect to advance in maturity to ‘software-defined’ (29 per cent), ‘service-driven’ (44 per cent) or ‘intent-based’ networking (21 per cent). 

Money and constant maintenance have been identified to be the biggest obstacles getting in the way of network modernization in Canada. Fifty-three per cent of Canadian IT leaders expressed that the ‘lack of analytics-based architecture tools and/or budget or resources to implement automation’ was the biggest issue. Thirty-seven per cent reported ‘being too busy maintaining current network to consider network transformation opportunities’ as another obstacle to network modernization. 

Forty-seven per cent of network strategists said that investing in new network infrastructure equipment can be the most helpful thing to do to achieve the ideal vision of the network. 

Cisco surveyed 2061 respondents (IT strategists and network strategists) across 13 countries – Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, China, Singapore, Australia, Germany, India, France, Mexico, Korea and Japan – to explore how networking models and operations are being transformed by advanced networking technologies.

There were 130 respondents from Canada.

As per the overall findings of the survey, 50 per cent of the 1556 network strategists surveyed across different countries identified artificial intelligence as a priority investment needed to deliver their ideal network, impacting all technology mega trends. Across the 13 countries surveyed by Cisco, the majority of IT leaders identified the lack of professional services as the biggest obstacle to network modernization.

The report also found that IT must break silos in organizations that face significant operational and talent gaps. In addition, intent-based networking (IBN) has been found to be capable of fulfilling the unmet needs of service-driven networking, while AI has been found to accelerate IBN transformation and augment human mental capabilities.