In 2023, the network will continue to play a pivotal role in digital transformation initiatives, and we will see more enterprises investing time and resources for transforming their existing networks. While 2022 was full of challenges and meeting increased expectations due to dynamically changing scenarios, 2023 promises to be one of execution. Based on our experience, we would like to highlight the top five networking trends for 2023:
Huge emphasis on network modernization: As the network plays a key role in every digital transformation initiative, we expect a huge focus by enterprises on network modernization. Many enterprises still have legacy network infrastructure which reduces the network’s capability to deliver what businesses need. This is corroborated by a recent NTT 2022 Global Network Report, which found that 70% of CEOs believe their network maturity level is negatively affecting their business delivery. The adoption of hybrid, distributed work environments with multiple connected devices is erupting through enterprises but, despite investments, just two in five businesses say they are very satisfied with their current network capabilities. This has resulted in a new era of network modernization, with the majority of executives relying on it to enable business growth (>90%), and support artificial intelligence (AIOps) (91%).
More enterprises will leverage the power of automation: With increasing digitization, the demands on the network has gone up exponentially. Network automation tools can help in improving agility and efficiency, while lowering costs and reducing errors. This can help in accelerating provisioning of new services, with the ability to easily locate the root cause of network issues. This is corroborated by Gartner, which states that by 2025, 25% of enterprises will automate more than half of their network activities, an increase from fewer than 8% of enterprises in early 2022.
Focus on improving network security will increase:With distributed hybrid work models presenting far more attack opportunities for malicious actors, the importance of network security has become a major component of network architecture. This has inspired organizations to move to more centralized, cloud-based security solutions and a managed endpoint security model, as well as increasing their investments in network cybersecurity.In the hybrid workplace, security threats can come from anywhere. The NTT report cited above states that currently 87% of top-performing organizations are investing in their cybersecurity capabilities, compared with just 41% of underperformers. A key focus in this area is the move from perimeter-based security to identity-based security. Nearly 90% of organizations agree – about 40% strongly – that increasing security and compliance risks are hard to address throughout their IT and network operations. The need to improve security and compliance will be one of the top three network-requirement motivators for CEOs in the coming two years.
Preference for Network as a Service Models will increase: In the NTT report referenced above, respondents reported that their highest concerns, above even cost, are security, modernization, and access to a full suite of services from their provider. In terms of managing the network, more than 90% of senior executives prefer the network as a service model, citing the flexibility to scale up and down as a major benefit. Additionally, a complexity in deploying effective AIOps and automation solutions, which simplify ongoing network operations but are complex to configure initially, make the network as a service model more attractive. In 2023, we expect the Network as a Service Model to take off in a big way.
Outsourcing momentum will accelerate:Even though 86% of organizations still buy networks in silos and/or default to buying from an incumbent service provider, there is a change coming: nearly 9 in 10 say they would prefer to outsource their network to a single managed service provider which offers end-to-end solutions across industries (Source: NTT 2022 Global Network Report). Some have already made the leap: organizations with fully aligned technology and business strategies are nearly twice as likely as the rest to be looking to partner with a specialist managed service provider, because it can be complex to make the leap from strategizing to buying and managing the network. As the pace of rollouts of digital transformation initiatives increases, we expect the outsourcing momentum to accelerate significantly.
In conclusion, the network is no longer a static piece of hardware, but is now being increasingly looked at as a platform for innovation, and every organization that aspires to optimally leverage digital capabilities will focus on embracing network innovation.
The article has been written by Mr. Arun Pathak, Vice President- Managed Network and Collaboration Services,NTT Ltd. In India