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You can’t grow your business without your network and infrastructure – and if you don’t invest strategically to keep these aligned with your business goals, you won’t get very far.

In NTT DATA’s 2022–23 Global Network Report, 97% of CIOs and CTOs say networks are vital in enabling outcomes related to business growth. About 9 in 10 organizations classified as top-performing in the research (based on their business performance) are investing more in their networks to support their digital transformation, while less than half of other organizations say the same.

Choosing a managed network service provider

It’s clear that a secure, reliable and high-performing network is now an even more important part of an organization’s IT infrastructure and business strategy. The reasons include a more distributed workforce, the rise of cloud applications, and rapid digitalization that is driving operational efficiencies and competitive advantage.

In this complex environment, more than 90% of IT leaders agree that ever-increasing security and compliance risks are a challenge throughout their IT and network operations, and 90% of IT executives prefer to outsource their network management to a single strategic IT outsourcing partner.

If you’re thinking along the same lines, here are 10 important points recommended for your checklist when you’re considering a strategic managed network services partner to manage your enterprise network requirements:

  1. Deep expertise in network transformation: Can the service provider manage the design, scale, innovation and optimization of the network in support of hybrid work, edge-to-cloud requirements and rising security threats? Are they experts in state-of-the-art technologies in complex environments?
  2. A comprehensive range of products: The service provider’s products should accommodate a range of vendors and network types, and include a managed software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) platform with the ability to extend the managed solution to the local-area network (LAN). Network on demand, network security and other virtual network functionality should also be comprehensively supported.
  3. End-to-end managed network services: If you’re looking at using one provider, they should be a one-stop shop that takes care of your entire network solution, across WAN and LAN environments and multiple vendors. They need to show how their services will improve operational efficiency, not create more work for (or the need for) in-house IT personnel. Covering the full breadth of components, including reporting, automation and analytics, is a critical aspect of this capability.
  4. Full-stack IT capabilities: Networking and IT are becoming more interdependent. Therefore, seek a managed IT service provider with broad network and IT competencies, from design and consulting to the outsourced management of IT operations and security infrastructure.
  5. Comprehensive security: Evaluate the service provider’s managed security capabilities. At a minimum, these should include zero trust network access, cloud security, threat detection and response, and firewall protection. Check their International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other security certifications.
  6. An expansive local and global network: Assess the depth and breadth of the service provider’s network – including their status as a Tier 1 IP network operator, their geographic coverage and access to a range of carrier management services.
  7. Future-proof solutions: A managed network service provider’s ability to innovate is important when it comes to future-proofing your network. This includes substantial research, development and investment resources, automation, well-defined product roadmaps and the ability to draw on a large ecosystem of industry-leading technology vendors.
  8. A deep market presence and ecosystem: Evaluate the breadth and depth of the service provider’s global market presence, including their in-region footprint and customer base as well as their account management and technical support teams.
  9. Best-in-class customer experience: The service provider should provide real-time analytics and advanced automation that support customer-experience drivers such as service-activation and incident-resolution intervals. Check the comprehensiveness and competitiveness of their SLAs and the track record of their customer support.
  10. Low vendor risk: In a volatile business environment, a trusted managed IT service provider should lower risks related to your vendors – so, choose a firmly established market leader with financial stability, substantial resources and a roster of blue-chip clients.

These criteria are not exhaustive, but they will help you construct a strategic framework for selecting a network services partner that can manage your mission-critical network infrastructure. For third-party validation, you can then also check industry analysts’ views on potential service providers.

NTT DATA has been recognized by Gartner as a Leader in this Magic Quadrant for the tenth consecutive year, and has been positioned furthest on Completeness of Vision and highest on Ability to Execute for the third consecutive year.


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Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global, Danellie Young, Karen Brown, Gaspar Valdivia, 22 February 2023

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