May 17, 2020

Are CEOs well equipped for digital transformation?

Digital Transformation
Professional Services
William Smith
2 min
Newly released research has shone a light on the extent to which CEOs and other business leaders are helping or hindering digital transformation
Newly released research has shone a light on the extent to which CEOs and other business leaders are helping or hindering digital transformation.

In so...

Newly released research has shone a light on the extent to which CEOs and other business leaders are helping or hindering digital transformation.

In some cases, according to professional services firm Accenture, a CEO’s talk might not match her walk. Having surveyed 8,300 organisations and 885 CEOs across 20 countries, 80% of CEOs claimed to “have the right technologies in place”, while 70% claimed “to be very knowledgeable” about their company’s technology investments. The research, however, also found that only 10% of companies were making an “optimal” investment in technology, generating twice the revenue growth of those lower down on the list.

Such pig-headedness may be having a significant effect on the bottom-line, as Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer emphasised in a press release: “Most companies are risking significant future revenue growth because of the gap between the potential and realized value of their technology investments.”

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A separate report from MIT Sloan Management Review and Cognizant made similar findings. With 4,394 executives surveyed from across the globe, the report found that 71% considered themselves to be “prepared to lead” in the digital economy, closely matching Accenture’s findings. Only 12%, however, agreed that those above them had the same characteristics.

“A generation of leaders in large companies are out of sync, out of tune, and out of touch with their workforces, markets, and competitive landscapes. What got them to their current exalted status won’t be effective much longer — unless they take swift action,” said Benjamin Pring, co-author of the report and director of the Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant. “Allowing unprepared senior executives with outdated skills and attitudes to stick around forces next-generation, high-potential leaders to move on to new pastures, which harms morale and ultimately shifts the organisation further away from where market demand is heading.”

When it comes to digital transformation, it seems, executives would do well to heed the words of that perennial favourite and Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan: “Your old road is Rapidly agin' / Please get out of the new one If you can't lend your hand / For the times they are a-changin'”.

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Jun 8, 2021

Fastly's CDN Reportedly to Blame for Global Internet Outage

Technology
Fastly
servers
websites
Tilly Kenyon & Oliver James Fr...
3 min
Multiple outages have hit social media, government, and news websites across the globe

A huge outage has brought down a number of major websites around the world. Among those affected are gov.uk, Hulu, PayPal, Vimeo, and news outlets such as CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC, and Financial Times.

It is thought a glitch at Fastly ─ a popular CDN provider ─ is causing the worldwide issue. Fastly has confirmed it’s facing an outage on its status website but fails to specify a reason for the fault ─ only that the problem isn’t limited to a single data centre and, instead, is a “global CDN disruption” that is potentially affecting the company’s global network.

“We’re currently investigating potential impact to performance with our CDN services,” the firm said.

What is Fastly?

Fastly is a content delivery network (CDN) company that helps users view digital content more quickly. The company also provides security, video delivery, and so-called edge computing services. They use strategically distributed, highly performant POPs to help move data and applications closer to users and deliver up-to-date content quickly.

The firm has been proving increasingly popular among leading media websites. After going public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019, shares rose exponentially in price, but after today’s outages, Fastly’s value has taken a sharp 5.21% fall and are currently trading at US$48.06. 

What are CDNs?

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a web of small computers, or servers, that link together to collaborate as a single computer. CDNs improve the performance of internet-connected devices by placing these servers as close as possible to the people using those devices in different locations, creating hundreds of points of presence, otherwise known as POPs.

They help minimise delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. This helps users around the world view the same high-quality content without slow loading times. 

Without a CDN, content origin servers must respond to every single end-user request. This results in significant traffic to the origin and subsequent load, thereby increasing the chances for origin failure if the traffic spikes are exceedingly high or if the load is persistent.

The Risk of CDNs

Over time, developers have attempted to protect users from the dangers of overreliance through the implementation of load balancing, DDoS (Denial of Service) protection, web application firewalls, and a myriad of other security features. 

Clearly, by the state of today’s major website outage, these measures aren’t enough. Evidently, CDNs present a risk factor that is widely underestimated ─ which needs to be rectified with haste. Content delivery networks have become a key part of the global infrastructure, and so it’s imperative that organisations start to figure out risk mitigation strategies to protect companies reliant on the interconnected service from further disruption and disarray. 

Over the coming days, both Technology Magazine and Data Centre Magazine will continue to provide updates on the current situation as developments are made.

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