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Your network is the backbone of your organization, but it’s no use recognizing its importance without also investing in its ongoing evolution.

The rapid deployment of remote and hybrid working models during the COVID-19 pandemic was surprisingly successful, and both employers and employees have realized how effective these models are.

But this unexpected change in the workplace also showed how quickly the requirements made of your network can change, and how the technology that underpins it should be able to adapt to those requirements.

Innovation drives progress. If you don’t invest in your network, you won’t keep up with trends that may give you a competitive edge. Having an agile network means you can add new technology to it or swap technologies with relative ease and confidence, instead of being stuck with what you have.

According to NTT’s 2022–23 Global Network Report, 8 in 10 organizations classified as top performers in the research believe technological investment in their network will be instrumental to their success. Yet, only about 4 in 10 of those classified as underperformers share this belief. 

Also, the report found that 96% of executives were investing in modernizing their networks – both the technology itself and by adopting new operating models such as SecDevOps, which depends on a network that allows people to collaborate and access tools from anywhere.

Your network should be an agile, scalable framework that offers greater support for a much larger number of connected devices, increased visibility and control, and remote management and automation.

To achieve this transformation, here are three steps to follow as a start:

1. Get the right hardware in place as a solid foundation. New hardware technology will form the basis of support for increased bandwidth usage in your network due to larger numbers of connected devices, combined with much greater usage of high-resolution video content.

2. Implement a comprehensive software layer on top (this is a fast-growing area that’s rich in innovation). With traditional networks, engineers could mostly work out what to do, but modern networks are increasingly software-defined beasts, so the skill set is very different. Rather than configuring an individual device, you’re orchestrating things through a centralized control plane.

3. Add an operations layer, including advanced analytics, automation and AIOps, to ensure speed and agility. You now need granular analytics for every aspect of your network. Then, once you have derived insights from these analytics, you’ll want to cue certain actions. Beyond analytics (including automated monitoring and reporting), AIOps clusters large volumes of data across multiple domains and sources to detect patterns and make recommendations.

Automation can also cover software patching, security postures, inventory management and change and configuration management.

In the report, 90% of CIOs and CTOs are quoted as saying they need these tools in order to optimize their network operations. Bear in mind, though, that while these tools do simplify ongoing network operations, they require specialized skillsets to deploy, configure and optimize.

Such complexity is why there is value in working with an experienced managed service provider (MSP) like NTT that will contribute expertise, ensure security, help you optimize your network intelligence and bring prebuilt, AI-enabled network management platforms to the table, fast-tracking your network modernization initiatives.

Download our full 2022–23 Global Network Report now for more details on making a success of the latest global network trends and strategies.

Aishwarya Singh is Senior Vice President, Managed Network and Collaboration Services: Strategy, Offers and Transformation at NTT