Network-as-a-Service: Simplifying Operations in a Flexible Commercial Model


Network service models are being challenged to keep pace with increasing enterprise demands. Many organizations have started the network transformation journey, adopting software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) and cloud-based security, but many still need to take a close looks at their network.  In reality, network technology transformation underpins all things digital.

Historically, networks have been limited due to their purpose and singularly built functions. They often include multiple providers, sometimes within the same region with an overlapping scope of services. And within the subset of services provided by network carriers, the last mile is still the lynchpin as it limits scale and time capabilities. Hardware is often sourced from several OEMs with various segments (e.g., LAN, WLAN) potentially labeled as technology debt. In addition, purchases vary from capital expense to lease to rental without common or standard approaches.

A Network Service Model (NaaS) to Support Digital Transformation

The idea of Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) has been with us for quite some time, but even in today's modern world with seemingly everything available as a service, the true definition of NaaS is not well understood or even agreed upon by enterprise stakeholders and providers. Though its scope and goals often vary widely, some core functional elements are common to NaaS solutions.  

Besides building a strong foundation for digital transformation, network transformation engagements typically strive to achieve some very basic cost and service improvement goals. Companies engaging with NaaS providers also are looking for one or more of the following:

  • Create an agile infrastructure that can adapt to traffic pattern changes from cloud adoption
  • Establish continuous improvement in all things “network”
  • Find reliable, flexible, yet inexpensive network transport
  • Migrate applications to the cloud with confidence in the underlying network
  • Standardize operational processes that fully support customer policies
  • Reduce technical risk by ensuring a constantly maintained and current network infrastructure
  • Migrate the work of the network to providers to allow focus on their own core business

What You Need to Know about the Network Services Market

For the past decade, the technology to enable NaaS, even to a limited extent, has simply not been mature enough. As providers continue to invest in their infrastructure, platforms, software, billing mechanisms and portals, the reality of NaaS is now upon us.

This whitepaper details the network services market and notable components/ services, effects of market forces and trends, and many of the supporting and limiting technologies. Key considerations are also provided to assist with beginning the journey to NaaS adoption and network transformation.

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About the author

For more than a decade at ISG, Rob has led global consulting engagements grounded in complex Information Technology transformation. Rob is recognized as an authority in the ICT industry with experience steeped deeply in Voice and Network technologies, advising in 140+ engagement across the Globe. He brings a seasoned and valued perspective to clients and service providers alike —Rob and his team field the complex ICT projects for ISG.