The network is the foundation of any organization. Without it, manufacturing plants, financial institutions, universities and smart cities would grind to a halt, and hybrid work would be a thing of the past.

Whether the goal is optimizing production lines, facilitating stock trading in microseconds or connecting citywide systems for efficient governance, the network is the glue that holds everything together.

It’s also essential for enabling AI, enforcing cybersecurity and realizing organizations’ sustainability goals.

No AI without the network

AI is evolving continuously and holds immense potential for transforming industries. A common application of AI in networking is the use of AIOps to simplify network management.

According to NTT DATA’s 2022–23 Global Network Report, senior executives identify real-time analytics as their most critical need when it comes to network management, followed by the ability of network managers to drill down fast and efficiently to deal with problems while reducing downtime. This points to a rising need for AIOps and automation, and 9 in 10 senior executives say their network is already self-managed to some extent.

But just as AIOps is optimizing network management, networks create a platform for generative AI to optimize business operations. Generative AI is presenting new challenges because its vast datasets require immense computing power and storage. High-speed, low-latency networks help meet these computational demands, facilitating the fast and reliable connectivity that is crucial for AI processing.

Supporting sustainability

AI isn’t the only hot topic of our time – there’s also sustainability. Modern networks allow you to proactively monitor, manage and reduce infrastructure energy consumption – something NTT DATA has also implemented in our own data centers. Organizations that have aligned their network strategy with their business needs are almost three times as likely to reduce their environmental footprint via network technologies as those that have not, according to our network report.

Sustainability is also important when considering how cables and infrastructure are manufactured. Optical networks are gaining traction because they’re more energy-efficient and resilient than copper cables. Copper is a rare earth metal that has to be mined and refined. The production of fiber cables also uses fewer raw materials and creates fewer pollutants than copper cables.

Getting ahead in cybersecurity

A third key factor is cybersecurity, which is increasingly in the spotlight as cyberthreats rise in volume and severity and as countries introduce legislation that puts the onus on organizations to secure private information. For example, in the US, the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act will soon require critical infrastructure companies, including those in financial services, to report cybersecurity incidents.

Aiding organizations in complying with these regulations are two relatively new approaches to network security: secure service edge (SSE) and secure access service edge (SASE), which extends SSE through a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN).

SSE and SASE enable you to continually secure anything, anywhere, so that people can access only what they are authorized to. This kind of secure access is made possible by the network, and it’s being offered by all of NTT DATA’s vendors and partners. To improve security and gain access to skills, 98% of organizations are open to the concept of network as a service, according to our network report.

A strategic imperative

It’s clear that the modern network is both a technological backbone and a strategic imperative. It can support your sustainability goals, strengthen your cybersecurity defenses and help you mine the potential of AI to achieve your business outcomes – but it must be the right network, with the right features.

Not all networks offer low latency, high performance and high reliability, and only newer networks are capable of energy management and segmentation. Understanding what you require from your network is therefore crucial in selecting the right one and achieving your business goals.


At NTT DATA, we apply deep network expertise to manage your network refresh from start to finish to ensure it supports your strategic initiatives.

Our network technology solutions portfolio covers all aspects of networking, from consulting and design to implementation and management, as well as support services.


Read more about NTT DATA’s Business-driven Networks to see how your infrastructure and operations can keep pace with business shifts and demands.