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Global statistics show that about 6 in 10 employees are now working remotely all or some of the time – and South Africa is no exception.

To stay ahead of the game, organizations are using technology such as cloud and hyperscale solutions to improve their operations and offer an improved customer experience.

These technologies help them scale more flexibly – and in a cost-efficient way – and can improve collaboration between their employees and raise productivity … but only if they’re supported by a dynamic, scalable and secure network infrastructure

To manage the complex requirements of secure, software-defined and cloud-native networking, CIOs need advice on how it’s evolving, where to invest and how best to architect it.

Complexity shouldn’t be a hurdle

Adopting new technology requires careful planning and execution and a deep understanding of the South African market. The wrong choices can lead to confusion, interoperability challenges and delays on the road to digital transformation – not to mention an inconsistent user experience across the organization, which affects employee motivation and productivity. 

Facing inevitable budget constraints amid tough economic conditions, CIOs need to sweat their assets for as long as possible while they finalize their application and digitalization strategies – and, importantly, align these with their network strategy before they can deliver business outcomes. 

NTT DATA’s 2022–23 Global Network Report shows that 93% of CIOs and CTOs agree (51% strongly) that they’re increasingly looking to partner with a specialist managed service provider (MSP) for network-as-a-service (NaaS) solutions in order to address their in-house skill gaps and keep pace with the need to innovate.

According to the research, most respondents agree that a platform-based service will address these and future business needs. 

Why should your CIO engage with an MSP?

An MSP can guide you from network planning and design to operations, maintenance and optimization – even if you rely on multiple vendors and have a mix of new and legacy network components, and your IT team has varying levels of skill and experience. 

MSPs invest in new technologies that include analytics, automation, and AI and machine learning. This helps them identify and address potential issues before they become major problems. They also take care of implementing and operating these tools on your behalf. 

Also, MSPs use application programming interfaces to integrate various software packages and solutions and provide a single view of your network for management and monitoring. This includes carrier management, especially if the system integrator offers carrier aggregation to give dedicated broadband network access to all your branches and data centers. 

By outsourcing these services to an MSP, you can save time and money so you can refocus your IT operations on driving innovation and business outcomes. 

MSPs also support vendor-neutral infrastructure and can manage a range of services – from wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs) to cloud networking – under one contract, reducing the complexity of operating diverse environments and vendors. 

Beyond service-level commitments for response-and-restore operations, MSPs now also offer outcome-based contracts linked to as-a-service models, which hold the promise of progressive cost savings and greater risk mitigation across your organization during and after a network refresh. 

How NTT DATA’s Network as a Service helps your organization

NaaS is a type of managed service where a third-party provider delivers and manages your organization’s network infrastructure. You avoid the costs and complexities of owning and maintaining your own infrastructure while still having control over your network resources.

The benefits of NaaS include:

  • Support and availability: Buying NaaS from a specialist MSP means you get full-time expert support and higher levels of network availability, so you can focus on your core business while the NaaS team takes care of your network operations.
  • Security: Your security posture is improved through an internationally certified, secure-by-design approach with layers of control and governance. An MSP can optimize your network continually – to adjust to hybrid work conditions that present new security risks, for example, or to reserve enough bandwidth for mission-critical applications. 
  • Managing convergence across the multi-edge network: You can track security, network availability and performance consistently at every “edge” or “branch” – WAN, wireless LAN, data centers, the cloud, remote workers, IoT devices, operational technology and more – without compromising on user experience. 
  • Visibility and analytics: You gain deep visibility of your network health and operations through modern management tools and platforms that use automation, AIOps and predictive analytics. 
  • Innovation: It’s faster and easier than before to refresh your network hardware or software and deploy new network technologies. 
  • Cost savings and ease of consumption: The consumption-based model of NaaS does enable cost efficiencies. Budgeting for network services becomes more efficient and predictable, as there is no need to invest in, maintain and upgrade expensive network equipment or deal with multiple vendors and their different licensing needs. And, your capital outlay shifts to operational expenditure. NaaS also removes the need to invest in IT resources to do all this in-house.
  • Greater flexibility: You can scale your network capacity up and down as needed, which typically results in cost savings. 
  • Employee experience: Your staff enjoy high-quality access to applications and business services from anywhere, which improves the employee experience.

Find the right MSP and watch your network soar

More organizations are looking to maintain some level of autonomy over their network operations while benefiting from the readily available support offered by an MSP.

While MSPs were in the past mostly involved with maintaining on-premises computing and equipment, today they remotely monitor and manage their clients’ IT infrastructure and give them access to skills and operations toolsets (including AI-enabled tools) that improve network availability and give valuable insights into network performance. 

Organizations working with an MSP typically report: 

  • A 90% reduction in the number of incidents requiring manual intervention 
  • A 50% improvement in speed to identify incidents
  • A 50% improvement in time to repair 

Make the right choice

To realize these benefits, you need to find an MSP that leverages the latest without losing sight of your business outcomes.

When selecting a partner, consider the following:

  • The MSP should manage both the current state of your network and its evolution. They should also be able to incorporate the latest network technologies, including improved security, analytics and AIOps. 
  • Work with one vendor. This can minimize contract complexities and eliminate a lack of interoperability between vendors and the need to maintain multiple software versions, among other challenges. 
  • Adopt the NaaS model to save time and money. More than 90% of senior executives prefer this model, according to the 2022–23 Global Network Report – citing the flexibility to scale as a major benefit, followed by supply-chain certainty, accessing a catalog of services from a single source, and a balance between operational and capital expenditure. 

The first step is as simple as making contact with a global MSP. They will assess your network to understand your business objectives, technical environment and strategic direction, then draw up a roadmap for transforming your network operations into platform-delivered service operations. 


Request a complimentary Network Assessment by NTT DATA to see how we can help you future-proof your network.