I was reading one of my newsfeeds the other day about an activesync server being overloaded by mobile devices when I had one of those flashbacks to time so long ago it was before mobile devices with email were even a glimmer in RIM's eye.
In the early 90's I was a divisional manager working for a telecoms company, based in the UK (no, not that one). We had to send in our weekly figures to the Finance Director (the term 'CFO' wasn't used). Each division had an excel spreadsheet on a Mac which they used to capture and process data, then printed a report and put it on the fax machine. Not exactly Hi-tech.
The FD then arranged for each of his 12 finance controllers to get email configured on their Macs so that they could send the actual spreasheets to each other. The mail client was included with MS Office so it was freely available and setup took a few minutes.
The divisional managers demanded the same thing, then their reports, and so on. We went from 13 mailboxes to over 5000 in a few weeks. You can guess what happened to our internal network. That's right, chaos. The most noticable impact for most users was when printers and fileservers just disappeard from the network (anyone remember the 'chooser' in older versions of MacOS?)
In the end we had to turn off email, size the network and other infrastructure correctly, then turn it back on in a phased rollout.
Fast forward to today...
Imagine that you and your colleagues suddenly increase demand on your network without any planning. For example, what would happen if 25% of your company started using desktop video tomorrow.
So, what can you do about it? It's very difficult to plan for all eventualities. The best advice I can give in a short article like this is: keep your options open. One idea is to push the capacity management issues off to a Cloud vendor. A 100% outsource may not meet your requirements, especially if you are in a tightly regulated industry or have specific requirements.
I would look to build a hybrid of in-house, third party-managed but dedicated Cloud, and shared public Cloud services. That way you can turn on new capacity in an appropriate way for your business when some bright spark finds a new way to use your network.
With management roles in sales, marketing, and strategy I have over 30 years in IT and telecoms specializing in transformation projects.