For Siemens, the corporate network is at the heart of its digital evolution.
Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization.
Siemens AG has over 300,000 employees globally and revenues of nearly 80 billion Euros. Its goal of digitally transforming the entire organization is ambitious: from innovation and production processes to internal collaboration and customer service. This company-wide plan depends on the transformation of its IT network infrastructure. Long term, Siemens sees the Internet as the new corporate network.
“The digital evolution will bring far reaching changes in every area of the business. We will see faster innovation cycles as integrated production is automated to the highest level,” explains Frederik Janssen, Director Service Portfolio & Lifecycle Management IT Infrastructure at Siemens.
More complexity, more devices
“We already have a large scale network infrastructure and we need to meet the demands of digitization within the company. Growing cloud use and mobility have added more complexity to our various networks which we need to deal with,” explains Janssen. “The manual processes we have in place, in many cases, just will not scale up to meet our future requirements”.
For one thing, the demand for bandwidth will increase dramatically, which is due to the sheer number of devices being used by the company, with more coming online every day, Janssen says. This is coupled with increasing amounts of data being transferred in certain areas of the intranet or Internet and the proliferation of video and audio.
In addition, the number of endpoints on the network is increasing due to the demand for more mobile devices. Already, approximately 160,000 of its employees are using smartphones or tablets for work. “They are all requesting more flexibility and freedom in the way they work”, according to Janssen.
Adding further to the complexity on the network are the IoT and M2M devices connecting to cloud services. As an engineering giant, Siemens is well aware of the potential for Industry 4.0 to transform its own business and those of its customers. Siemens is already a leader in robotics and automation, key areas where it is looking to expand further.
On the road to digital transformation
Siemens has already kicked off a series of initiatives as part of its change strategy. On the network side it has just completed the roll out of a new internet access solution, Cloud Optimized Network Access, which is being run by Orange Business Services. Optimization will help Siemens improve and maintain the overall performance of its networks in to the future. This is the foundation on which the company’s next generation network is being built. “This is designed to address the full scope of our corporate network infrastructure,” Janssen explains.
With the development and solution release cycles getting shorter, Janssen believes it is essential for the customer and service provider to work even more closely together on the future network infrastructure. “You need a solid plan in place that everyone understands and be totally convinced you are on the right track, otherwise you can lose your way in an ever changing environment,” Janssen explains. “I say this because we are talking about a network infrastructure that takes years, not months to roll out. You therefore need a partner that gives you confidence in the fact you are doing the right thing, provides flexibility and will let you change things on the fly if you have to”.
Janssen sees himself as an “enabler”, bridging technology and complexity on one side, with business requirements and future demands on the other.
With the help of Orange Business Services, Siemens is planning for its future IT needs. “The perfect future network would be a public network like the Internet which is robust enough to serve all critical SLAs, which we have, but bringing in the flexibility of a pay-as-you-consume model,” according to Janssen. On the security side he ideally sees a move from the flat networks we have today, to a micro segmented, carefully controlled structure. “From a user perspective they will always get the best possible connectivity, highest performance and security will be default, so they don’t have to think about it”, he concludes.
Siemens is a global player focused on finding ways to improve life in many areas. It has recently been looking to simplify its network and security to enable faster and more effective response management. Orange Business Services has been working with ZScaler to secure Siemens’ data, whilst providing its users with access to the high-speed Internet they require. Orange security cloud security-as-a-service has replaced on-premises appliances, infrastructure-as-a-service has been rolled out to a large number of users and a direct and fast break-out to the Internet via Orange VPN has been deployed. Benefits have included increased security, simplified processes and better value.
Read more about digital transformation at Siemens.