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Thought leadership: NaaS and the “Experience Economy”

Post pandemic trends have accelerated the need for agility in IT, network procurement, and management. IT procurement cycles have accelerated, and investments have increased – much more than pre-COVID. According to a IDC, 71% of organisations report their long-term planning cycles have shortened due to COVID-19, with 82%  of the same participants stating that long-term planning cycles have been reduced to two years or less.

In addition, the post-COVID world has seen the hybrid workplace become the new norm. With a majority of employees splitting their time between the home office and workplace, managing and securing the enterprise inside and outside its boundaries in a flexible and scalable manner is a priority.

To address this requirement and ensure seamless connectivity, organisations are rapidly adopting consumption-driven NaaS models to balance the cost of their network growth with the digital experience of their stakeholders.

Organisations are also looking to accelerate connectivity to edge locations while easing the burden of managing those new locales. They require simple platforms that enable rapid access to new technology to ensure the network meets the needs of their business.

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) technology, and flexible consumption models like network-as-a-service (NaaS) make it possible for organisations to respond effectively to these challenges. IDC’s research also revealed that approximately one third of organisations have deployed NaaS and another 35% plan to deploy NaaS within the next one to two years.

Moving Towards an “Experience” Economy

Organisations are no longer looking to purchase just network hardware and software; rather, they are seeking to provide customers and users with an experience that offers:

  1. A best-in-class agile network solution with richer levels of visibility and cross-platform control including centralized management and AI/ML capabilities for seamless and efficient network operation.
  2. Technology that minimises operational risk and provides advanced data management and protection that spans the entire edge-to-core continuum.
  3. An optimized network planning experience along with scalability and sustainability built-in, and a simple monthly payment with no upfront capital expenditure. Additionally, the NaaS provider removes the traditional challenges of managing/operating networks.

The traditional method of purchasing based on price and product features is outdated. Organisations should embrace value-based decision making that focuses on the business objectives and that benefits for the various stakeholders (technology, operations, procurement, finance, security, data analytics, environment, etc.) who all have a vested interest in the network. These stakeholders, primarily the C-suite, should measure investments in terms of money, risk, and time, as well as make decisions based on a solid understanding of the return on investment (ROI).

Transitioning to Business Value 

The transition from purchasing based on price and features requires a new approach, one that is focused on business challenges, outcomes, and value. This approach provides a variety of benefits, such as:

  1. Receiving an integrated solution to address current and future business requirements, by having stakeholders work with teams they wouldn’t traditionally interact with.
  2. Obtaining more insight into hidden costs (e.g., planning and downtime, overtime, expedited freight) associated with your current network, along with specific business processes to be avoided.
  3. Developing a laser focus on business objectives, risks, and digital strategy with detailed contributions from the economic buyer and executives
  4. Securing investment validation and substantiation of solution by having the economic buyer and executives contribute to the process earlier

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