Interest and investment in networking solutions and infrastructure continues to soar.

An overview of the evolution of the network makes for interesting reading. Initially, companies were eager to equip workstations with a desktop PC and tap into the resource to leverage off computing efficiency, speed and accuracy.

Then, considering the increasing levels of ongoing R&D and a constant demand, decision makers quickly copped on to the benefits of linking PCs across an established local area network (LAN). Users could produce more and at a quicker pace if they could access and share a centralised source of information, and digitally interact with each other.

It was not long before decision makers realised that the LAN more than met expectations, and there were obvious advantages to expanding the link. The emergence of the wide area network (WAN) linking offices and capitalising off inter-branch connectivity was a natural progression, fuelled by the drive to expand presence in the market and assimilate, consolidate and utilise interest.

The corporate network had quickly grown from a few stand-alone PCs into an all-encompassing and connected network. It can be reinforced with peripheral and other digital equipment, that could integrate with systems and migrate onto more advanced infrastructure – as and when technology develops.

Those who had been quick to adapt to change and embraced the opportunity had a critical business resource that represented a tangible, sustainable extension of the business.

We now find ourselves in a position whereby services and applications have shifted from being on a network and now rest within the cloud-based computing domain.

The fact is the network and managed ICT services space has matured to the extent that now ‘anything-as-a-service’ is available and accessible, be it hardware, software, licensing or any other critical business application.

In essence, what started out as a simple LAN has developed into a fully-operational, accessible and sustainable global network.

The prognosis looks good for networking in SA. Traditional limitations in the form of bandwidth restriction, exorbitant operational costs associated with managed services investment, available resources and a shortage of technical skills are being slowly but surely addressed.

These services and applications are readily available to a much wider spectrum of businesses – from the small and medium-size enterprise, right through to the larger enterprise