By Shawn Lund, Managing Director, Technology Strategy and Architecture, Deloitte Consulting LLP
What if Uber were coming to networking and it promised to disrupt the industry as much as transportation? Would your organization be ready to ride the wave or would it be swept away by the tide?
That’s exactly the game-changing transformation your organization faces with Networking as a Service (NaaS), the emerging IT solution offering the same pay-as-you-go benefits of any other cloud-based “as a Service” option – but on a grander scale.
Existing Model Challenges Some IT Professionals
To understand the power of NaaS, let’s review the existing infrastructure adoption model:
As your equipment and solutions age, a major refresh initiative is kicked off. Hundreds, or thousands, of hours later a multimillion-dollar deal is signed. Then you dedicate more resources to deploying the refresh, training IT staff to use new systems and inevitably fielding post-deployment help-desk calls.
In addition, overprovisioning typically occurs for a variety of reasons, whether to address potential spikes in demand or anticipate scalability needs sometime in the distant future.
What’s more, your enormous infrastructure investment doesn’t result in an equal tax advantage. Instead, you’re forced to spread the tax benefits over the next several years.
Fast forward three to five years and your infrastructure is growing outdated, requiring your IT staff to rinse and repeat. But, the effort is onerous and other projects are more business critical, so you push the refresh out another few years. This introduces risk of a catastrophic outage such as those recently plaguing some of the major airline carriers.
A New Way Forward
Enter NaaS, which can offer attractive benefits to a variety of organizations.
It begins with simplified solution evaluation processes because your IT staff doesn’t need to understand the latest technologies or see around corners. That’s the job of the NaaS provider. Decisions are more straightforward: Does the NaaS provider offer the capabilities we need?
Less time evaluating options and fewer meetings with vendors can translate to keeping IT and business stakeholders focused on projects that add value. Further, if you select a NaaS provider that can also tackle the deployment and operation, similar resource savings may occur.
On the financial side, tax benefits can accrue when you sign the contract, because you’ve shifted the costs from capital expenses (CapEx) to operating expenses (OpEx).
Intelligent, Flexible and Agile to Address IoT and Mobile-First Needs
Most importantly, your business can gain an intelligent network with greater flexibility and agility. For example, if you’re pursuing a new IoT initiative, or expanding your Mobile First environment, your NaaS provider can get you the needed Wi-Fi coverage.
The same holds true for other business scenarios, such as adding square footage to an existing facility, opening a new location, or changing addresses.
Additionally, NaaS can assist in industries where utilization spikes commonly occur – such as during busy retail sales seasons or when summer guest traffic surges at a beachside resort.
Beyond a financial model with scalable and intelligent infrastructure, NaaS also helps ensure you’ll have access to the latest security features and technology innovations. For instance, location-based services options and analytics can be added anytime, rather than waiting until a refresh to enable your systems to support them.
Alliance Offers a Complete Solution
At Deloitte, we’ve been observing a shift in interest toward modernizing networking infrastructure models, rather than infinitely replacing gear. This is true for both business and technology staff across clients and industries we serve.
As business decision-makers see the potential benefits of cloud-enabled infrastructure, they’re asking their IT departments “why can’t we do this with our Wi-Fi infrastructure too?”
In IT, the challenge has been lack of end-to-end NaaS providers who offered a complete solution – data center, branch and WAN – as well as the expertise to execute and operate.
After listening closely to customer needs and concerns, we decided to sync with HPE Aruba to offer a comprehensive NaaS solution. By combining our deep insights and consulting capabilities with HPE Aruba’s leading-edge technologies, deployment and support abilities, we can customize a solution based on needs.
For example, if a company only needs design services and equipment staging, we can provide that. If a business wants to go further, to include deployment, we can help them. And, for those interested in design, implementation and ongoing operations, with our relationship with HPE, we can supply these capabilities.
Keeping You Ahead of the Pack
If NaaS is appropriate for your company, the earlier you embrace it, the faster you can gain advantage over your competitors. In addition to recapturing significant financial and human resources, adopting NaaS can enable your business to pivot whenever new market opportunities arise.
Like so many transformative innovations, the NaaS model will help define the winners and losers of the next decade. Savvy businesses should consider the potential early, while others could get left behind.
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