Fast, reliable internet connectivity is essential for businesses to run smoothly and adapt quickly to market changes. It is also necessary to support the growth in hybrid working, which requires employees to have reliable connections in their offices, home, and remote locations. And with 75% of hybrid workers saying their expectations for flexible working have increased in the past couple of years, there is no doubt that hybrid is the future, according to Gartner.
Everyone who relies on connectivity, including employees, clients, customers, partners, and suppliers, expects it to be stable, secure and optimized for speed. Without achieving that, you risk delivering a poor end-user experience, leaving employees unproductive and customers frustrated.
“The acceleration of the digital business model has raised the stakes in deploying, operating, and optimizing a highly resilient and responsive network infrastructure,” explains Mark Leary, research director of network observability and automation at IDC.
As IDC points out, connectivity is a strategic element in every organization’s effort to maintain, sustain and expand its operations. Various technologies support its ability to provide scalable, anytime, anywhere access. They all play a role in storing, transmitting, and funneling data quickly and securely across complex physical and geopolitical infrastructures to provide real-time insights.
The challenge is choosing the right combination of networks to support business performance and resilience, while being able to manage this complex network globally. Furthermore, deploying the technologies is just the beginning. They all need to be configured, monitored, and maintained at a reasonable cost.
To make the right network choices for your business, we suggest addressing the following three areas when you are building your connectivity roadmap.
1. Define what you need to support your business
If you think of the internet as a US highway system, it will resemble a gridlocked version of interconnected routes – fast and slow lanes with drivers switching accordingly. Drivers in multiple occupancy lanes move slightly quicker, while others travel in dedicated express lanes where drivers pay a toll to access clear routes. Like network connectivity, this highway connects people to work, businesses to partners, supply chains, trading opportunities, and customers globally.
In addition, different companies have different connectivity needs. Even within a single company, there can be multiple connectivity requirements, depending on business function. CIOs and C-suite executives must conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine what connectivity options will suit the business best. This evaluation should cover the number of users to connect, which locations, the baseline expectation for performance, acceptable standards for latency, and goals for speed and security.
From this, you can determine what level of performance your users require. Those on mission-critical projects may always need a high-speed highway, while those in administration may be able to operate on a sometimes-congested route. It also provides a basis for understanding the technology opportunities and challenges in aligning connectivity with business needs.
2. Calculate the cost of global connectivity
In today’s uncertain economic times, cost is crucial in any business investment. Global connectivity, especially internet connectivity, can be very complex to procure and manage. C-suite executives and CIOs need to work together to work out the investment required to achieve optimal global connectivity. This should go beyond deployment and look at recurring costs, and additional outlays linked to operations, future upgrades, and support.
In line with this, enterprises need to work out how much it will cost to operate, maintain and update robust networks that provide seamless connectivity for users. According to Gartner, if you have clear measures of success, you are 2.6 times more likely to be effective at cost management going forward. 
Enterprise connectivity is going through a state of transition, and so are budgets, according to IDC. This has resulted in dual strategies for network infrastructure investments. Enterprises are re-investing in delayed technologies due to the pandemic and preparing to futureproof networks to support business demands. 
As IDC points out, it is essential to remember that there is no end to connectedness; instead, it is an evolutionary path allowing the enterprise to adapt and change as market and business conditions move.
Furthermore, do you have the in-house IT skills to manage complex connectivity and cloud environments? Many enterprises are struggling to find and hire internal expertise. Opting for a managed solution with an expert, trusted vendor may be prudent. Managed services can compensate for the skills shortage and provide a competitive opportunity by freeing up IT teams for higher-value business tasks.
If the latter option is the best approach, use the same due diligence to research, trial, evaluation, and selection of a connectivity partner or vendor.
3. Strategically deploy and maintain connectivity
Enterprises have been forced to adapt to a more distributed way of working. Global connectivity is no longer a simple issue of communications. It is a critical infrastructure that maintains competitiveness and drives productivity, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
IDC estimates that this year, more than 30% of organizations will prioritize connectivity resilience to ensure business continuity, resulting in uninterrupted digital engagement for customers, employees, and partners.
Whether utilizing internal teams or opting for a trusted partner, the CIO must remain involved in the design, implementation, oversight, and support of the chosen connectivity solution. Why? Because connectivity plays an increasingly more prominent role in business economics, geopolitical unrest, and global crises such as pandemics.
The overarching connectivity and vendor choices should prioritize minimal outrages and slowdowns based on the enterprise’s need for 24/7 reliability and security, with maximum coverage and cost savings.
Global connectivity is a critical corporate asset and a fast, reliable, and secure connection is essential for keeping business running smoothly. It is, therefore, vital that C-suite executives remain committed to optimal connectivity performance and continuous change to increase productivity and ensure connections can scale to keep up with the growing demands of the business.
There is a lot to consider in order to support and optimize your business’ network performance globally, but you don’t have to go it alone. By partnering with a managed service provider, you can reduce the complexity and better future-proof your network. A managed service provider will help you to build your connectivity roadmap for organizational success and remove the majority of the management burden from internal IT teams, freeing them to focus on the needs of employees, partners, and customers.
Expereo is a leading global provider of managed network solutions including, Global Internet, SD-WAN/SASE, and Enhanced Internet. Through partnerships with local providers in more than 190 countries, Expereo simplifies the complexity of sourcing, deploying, and managing local internet access for governments and multi-national enterprises. Founded in 2004, Expereo empowers customers to realize their digital transformation and operational goals with improved productivity, enhanced agility, and optimal reliability across their network. Customers have real-time visibility and control of their multiple internet services through Expereo’s, intelligent Internet platform, Expereo.one. The portal supports APIs for fully automated integration with enterprises’ internal systems, providing them with a single point of management and enabling business-grade Internet connectivity everywhere.
 Gartner future of work trends 2022 https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/9-future-of-work-trends-post-covid-19
 IDC Worldwide enterprise network performance 2022 – 2026 https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US49632922&utm_medium=rss_feed&utm_source=alert&utm_campaign=rss_syndication
 Gartner: Driving business with cost optimization https://www.gartner.co.uk/en/insights/cost-optimisation
 IDC trends driving enterprise networking 2022 https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US48892722
 IDC Worldwide future of connectedness 2022 https://business.comcast.com/community/browse-all/details/idc-futurescape-worldwide-future-of-connectedness-2022-predictions
 IDC predictions for the future of connectedness https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS48391321
With over 20 years’ experience as a technology professional, Salim is the Director of Solutions Engineering to support Expereo’s managed global network and cloud connectivity solutions. His expertise includes, but is not limited to Global Internet, SD-WAN, and Security.More articles by Salim Khouri