For the first 15 years of the 21st century, network provider choices were limited, and network product sets exhibited little differentiation, ultimately becoming a commodity buy. Decisions were made on who knew whom, how well the vendor knew the client organization and what the budget allowed. Virtualization of network services has re-set the stage. The “democratization” of the IT infrastructure has ushered in an era of choice.
Where options were previously suppressed through monopolistic behavior and later by new, controlling technologies like private networks, the growth of a multitude of “niche” players that offer targeted expertise and hyperscalers and the “as a service” models have driven traditional providers to re-think their approach to the market. Network providers within the stack are expanding their footprint of services to survive, and hopefully, thrive. They are growing via internal investments (component, product, resource), as well as through mergers/acquisitions and partnerships to position themselves to compete in the marketplace. Examples include Comcast Business’ acquisition of global managed network services provider Masergy and Verizon’s partnership with RingCentral and its purchase of BlueJeans.
As technology has changed, so has the variety of players. You can no longer assume that services will be provided by one or two providers, but rather by multiple providers; this creates a healthy competitive playing field and the need for clients to engage the market from a “solutioning” perspective rather than a “sourcing” perspective.
There are many choices and technologies when it comes to building a modern enterprise network. How do you choose?
Top 4 Questions to Ask Before You Choose a Provider
Before you contract with a provider, you need to get answers to some significant questions:
- What is the provider’s strategic outlook for cloud-based networking, use of wireless technologies, overlay/underlay management strategy?
- Is the provider financially sound and able to absorb the costs of taking their clients on the network transformation journey?
- What does the provider’s (potentially brief) track record indicate for future performance in terms of network investment, tool upgrades, support models, etc.?
- What is the provider’s ability to perform right now?
ISG is here to help you navigate through the plethora of complex choices to find the right solution for your company. With ISG as your partner, you can realize the full potential of the solution vs. sourcing methodology.