Since the early 1990s, web applications have grown considerably in scope. The web applications of the 1990s included only informational and advertising content, but by now they have become a robust suite of critical business functions. Cisco Systems, Inc., is a prime example of an organization that depends heavily on and promotes the web for most of its business functions, both internally and externally. Internally at Cisco, employees attend training seminars, book flights, fill out vacation requests, and reserve customer demonstration equipment online. Additionally, their phone system, corporate communications, remote access, and e-learning systems are run over the web. External customer-facing functions including ordering hardware, downloading software, requesting customer support, and receiving training are all completed over the web as well.
Not only have high-tech industries like Cisco been rapidly adopting web technologies, but seemingly old-fashioned brick-and-mortar companies are relying now more than ever on web-based portals for greater productivity gains, increased revenues, and cost savings. In turn, the increasing dependence of organizations on the use and growth of networked applications to ensure that success has grown to levels never seen before. This heavy reliance on web content has spurred organizations to achieve network cost savings and application acceleration to ensure continual growth and prosperity.