Networking models evolve 

You don’t have to look very far to see that a transition is underway in IT. Organizations are changing how they acquire and consume software and infrastructure. In part, this is driven by their need to deliver services that meet increasingly dynamic business needs. The network has been undergoing the same evolution. The broad-based adoption of network automation and analytics over the last few years is resulting in huge leaps in agility, flexibility, and security.   

For example, many organizations have achieved greater efficiencies by automating user onboarding, provisioning network and endpoint devices, applying network and security policies, enabling cloud connectivity, troubleshooting issues, and creating service tickets.  At the same time, organizations have become attached to the benefits afforded by the “as-a-service” model for software and infrastructure. Now some are asking the question “what about the network”? 

Consuming network infrastructure as a service 

The promising news is that today we’re in the early phases of the next part of this evolution where organizations will be able to acquire and use networking capabilities as a service. In this cloud-enabled network-as-a-service model (NaaS), organizations will be able to flexibly consume networking capabilities without having to own, build, or maintain the infrastructure themselves.    

NaaS is a trend with big potential to reshape the industry over the next 3-5 years.  For this reason, we feature it in our 2022 Global Networking Trends Report: The Rise of Network as a Service.  To better understand what’s behind this trend, we surveyed over 1,500 networking professionals and conducted 20 in-depth IT leader interviews across 13 countries.  This comprehensive report includes their perspectives on: 

  • the motivations for deploying NaaS 
  • the capabilities and services IT teams expect
  • IT teams’ top concerns about moving to NaaS
  • the impact of NaaS on roles and skill sets
  • IT organizations’ plans for adopting NaaS  

Reasons for moving to NaaS

When we zoom out to the 30,000-foot view of the findings in this report, it’s clear that while some IT organizations have little interest today, others are excited about what NaaS promises.  The reasons vary but look at some of the samples of what the respondents are saying and you’ll see some of these common threads. 

  • Making the network futureproofMany organizations (35%) identified that a major motivation for them to adopt a NaaS model is that it will continuously afford them the latest networking technologies and capabilities.  It’s a full-time job just keeping up and researching what new technologies are available and how to integrate them. IT teams expect that by adopting NaaS they will no longer have to wait for their next technology refresh cycle—they’ll always have the latest. 

  • Reactive to proactive and preventative—Organizations are realizing they must keep pace with the dynamic needs of the business.  The network is critical to the business and IT organizations cannot afford to get caught flat-footed.  NaaS is about doing networking more proactively, whether it’s responding to disruptions or accommodating new business needs. 

  • Reducing IT’s burden—IT leaders are reassessing the core value their organizations provide. Many of them believe their organization can deliver much more value than that delivered by just managing and maintaining the network. They rightly believe NaaS would drastically reduce their network lifecycle management burden and free up their highly skilled engineers to innovate and deliver new projects. 

 More NaaS resources 

Whether you’re already all-in on as-a-service models or you just want to keep up on the latest industry trends, I encourage you to check out these resources and see if and how NaaS could fit into your networking strategy. 

 As always, I look forward to seeing your comments and questions below. 


Prashanth Shenoy

Vice President of Marketing

Enterprise Networking and Mobility