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Four Important Market Trends We’re Acting On In 2022

By Brian Lillie, Chief Product and Technology Officer

As Zayo grows and we continue to expand our footprint to reach more customers around the globe, we are keeping a close watch on market and technology trends. These trends help us identify what businesses need most right now and how we can help address those needs. However, it’s also crucial for us to anticipate future market and customer needs, apply our beliefs about where technology is headed, and develop solutions to help them long-term. Right now, we are watching several major market trends that are driving our product and technology strategy — below are thoughts on a few of them.

Digital Transformation is Real

The future of our society is digital. Enterprises, government entities, and other organizations must reimagine their strategy to take advantage of the benefits of digitization and deliver the experiences their customers and partners expect. The world was already headed there before COVID-19, with businesses starting to use IoT, AI, and other technologies, but the pandemic has had a significant effect on both digital interactions and the implementation of digital products. According to McKinsey, digitization of internal, customer, and supply chain interactions accelerated by three years, while implementation of digital tools and online experiences accelerated by seven years. Technology is a key enabler of digital acceleration; for example, dark fiber is critical to a strong transformation strategy.

The Cloud is Inevitable

Soon, every application we use will be cloud-native and cloud-deployed. The cloud allows us to connect anywhere, anytime — a necessity for an increasingly dispersed workforce. Gartner predicts public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending by 2026, up from less than 17% in 2021. The growth in cloud usage is driving increased demand for Network-as-a-Service (NaaS), which enables our users to operate a network without owning, building, or maintaining core infrastructure. The Zayo network is designed to support this increasing growth of traffic from our customer and partner premises and the edge to the cloud.

Network Experience via Automation is Critical

As Marc Andreessen stated over a decade ago, “software is eating the world,” and he was right. As organizations reimagine how they provide value to their customers and partners, software and automation are at the core of their thinking. Automation is booming as businesses focus on digital experiences: according to RapidAPI, 71% of developers planned to use more APIs in 2021, and 89% of telecom executives consider APIs a top priority. At Zayo, we have our customers and partners at the center of our thinking, and we’re focused on creating the “easy button” for them. All of our physical assets will be software-defined and consumable as automation becomes the norm via APIs, portals, mobile, and other evolving digital experiences. It’s clear what we need from the network.

SD-WAN, SASE, and the Edge

The global SD-WAN market is booming, growing at nearly 33% annually, and edge deployments are also increasing, with the market expected to surpass $87 billion by 2026. The reason for this growth is what SD-WAN and SASE give CIOs: secure network access at the edge and through the core, allowing them to apply policy and gain visibility over all of their deployed network connections, as society becomes increasingly spread out and data needs to travel securely and quickly from edge to cloud. The biggest struggle with connecting to the edge is the middle and last mile, where a performant, secure, and edge-intelligent network is crucial to success.

Things Are Evolving, and We’re Ready

The pace of today’s world is extraordinary, and we are constantly evaluating market and technology shifts to help focus our efforts on building a customer-inspired product and services portfolio. Fortunately, the market and technology trends we see, including those listed above, are right in our wheelhouse, and we are confident we can help our customers grow and transform successfully as a trusted partner and catalyst dedicated to their success. We are doubling down on the key elements (and our strengths) of this future-state network — fiber, optical, packet, and software — and bolstering our SD-WAN, security, and other edge capabilities. We are ready and excited to support our customers and partners in this exciting time.

We are early in our customer-inspired evolution, but we would be delighted to work with you as you drive your digital transformation!