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Hybrid and distributed working have forever changed how organizations plan and manage their network architecture, security and technology, often forcing them to scale up and invest in new skills.

But how well are they really prepared for these changes? Are CEOs and other senior executives doing enough to make their networks robust and agile enough to adapt to new demands?

For one, there is a rising preference for outsourcing. In NTT’s 2022–23 Global Network Report, more than 7 in 10 organizations classified as top performers in the research said they already outsource most of their network management or plan to do so in the next two years.

More than half of these top performers also believe that their future network IT needs would be fully outsourced and managed, compared with just over a quarter of organizations classified as underperformers.

So, how should you go about evaluating your network’s readiness for the future?

1. Think of your organization first, then think about your network. Break down silos and unite your business and IT teams behind your business goals to achieve your desired return on investment. Business strategy drives technology strategy, not the other way round.

2. Invest in a technology partner that can move you away from legacy network assets. This will help you obtain greater network availability, scalability and performance. Legacy network assets can be costly to maintain and require significant manual support.

Find a technology partner that can help with the heavy lifting of keeping your legacy network alive but also, in parallel, transform your network to make it fast, secure, agile and supported by new cloud operational models (seen as a top investment priority by senior executives quoted in the Global Network Report), so that you can keep innovating and evolving your network to make it future-proof.

3. Consider the network-as-a-service model.To move your organization forward, look to the network-as-a-service model to consume and pay for only what you need, while allowing you to access the latest trends in technology. This is a strategy worth considering at a time when global corporate network spending is rising.

4. Embrace new tools like AIOps in the pursuit of an agile network – but make this the responsibility of your managed service provider. Organizations now use various sources in this regard, including tools from independent vendors, in-house tools, managed service provider tools and partial automation.

5. Work with a partner that can help you evolve and manage your network and improve its output.
Your network and operational technology must work together in an end-to-end approach. This is a complex model for which you may not have the in-house expertise, so work with a partner that can advise you on the evolution of and investment in your network, and then manage the current state of your network while driving its transformation and improving its output.

According to the Global Network Report, nearly 9 in 10 organizations believe they need a third party to fulfill their network needs and stay ahead of change, network innovation and internal skills gaps.

6. Factor in security. Consider how changing security and regulatory requirements (specifically regarding data privacy) will affect your network. Security needs to be built-in, not bolted on.

7. Understand the costs.
Some managed service providers may seem to be priced more competitively but could offer fewer services and have hidden costs. A managed service provider’s capabilities, track record, client relationships and governance are all important factors to consider.

NTT can help you transform and build resilience for the future. Our networking capabilities can complement your existing infrastructure services and technologies to help sharpen your competitive edge.

Download our full 2022–23 Global Network Report now.

Matthew Allen is Vice-President of Service Offer Management: Networking at NTT