Five considerations for choosing a Network as a Service vendor

In the evolving landscape of business, Network as a Service (NaaS) emerges as a vital solution for managing networking needs. This article outlines five crucial considerations for selecting the right NaaS vendor. From tools and resources to support and a proven track record, each aspect plays a pivotal role in ensuring successful deployment and maximizing the benefits of NaaS for organizations.

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Network as a Service

In the ever-evolving realm of business, organizations are continually seeking innovative ways to optimize their operations, enhance agility, remain competitive, and scale their digital transformation journey. To facilitate this transformation, networks stand as fundamental catalysts, providing the connectivity, scalability, flexibility, security, data insights, and integration capabilities that businesses need to thrive in the digital age. 


With that, Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) has emerged as a transformative solution, offering businesses a resilient and scalable approach to managing their networking needs. But what is NaaS? It is defined as network infrastructure hardware, software, services, management, and licensing components consumed in a subscription-based or flexible consumption model. NaaS allows organizations to outsource the provisioning, deployment, network management, maintenance, and lifecycle management of network infrastructure. Consequently, it is equally important to select the right vendor for deploying NaaS. 

Choosing the right vendor: a critical decision in business success 

To maximize the benefits of this technology, selecting the right vendor in a NaaS implementation is imperative, which can directly impact the business's success. The vendor should be able to assess the NaaS readiness and offer a solution that supports the desired business or operational outcomes. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the following five aspects:


1.    Tools and resources: Does your NaaS provider offer sales and implementation tools to drive your success? For sales, having an assessment tool to present customers’ readiness for transitioning to NaaS, along with an ROI calculator to illustrate the differences between a CapEx and OpEx investment, is fundamental. For implementation teams, an installation guide that includes a checklist of requirements and clear, structured processes is essential for seamless set up and to ensure success. These resources not only facilitate informed decision-making but also help optimize the transition.

2.    Training and implementation: Determine the effort required to set up the solution and understand what the learning curve will be. Many vendors will provide training, but it may not be included in the implementation cost. Prioritize NaaS vendors who offer well-established processes, comprehensive implementation guides, and best practices for design and deployment. These elements can significantly contribute to a successful start and streamlined execution.

3.    Pilot: While a solution may appear to be an ideal fit on paper, it may not align with actual expectations or needs. Every organization must ask these questions – is their vendor willing to commit to business development funding that can help them mitigate the risk of moving to a new subscription-based implementation? Are you able to establish a pilot to showcase the technology’s value? The vendor’s willingness to share the risk will not only demonstrate their commitment to achieving success but also warrant providing the necessary support throughout the pilot.


4.    Support: When it comes to support, no matter how diligent the selection processes are, there are chances that issues may arise. From planning to deployment, operating to optimizing, it’s imperative to thoroughly evaluate the availability, quality, and extent of the included services to ensure receiving timely help when required.

5.    Proven track record: Consider a vendor’s experience and presence in the networking space. It’s important to look at both aspects – longevity and their commitment to innovation. Therefore, it is vital to check if they are leveraging cutting-edge technology or if they have a clear, forward-looking roadmap indicative of their commitment to long-term development. It is also equally important to understand if they actively gather customer feedback and make product adjustments accordingly. Moreover, organizations must assess whether the vendors have satisfied customers who are willing to share their experiences or diverse use cases that demonstrate the value of NaaS across different industries and company sizes. These factors can serve as strong indicators of capability and credibility in the networking arena.

In essence, organizations must keep these factors in mind to carefully assess and choose the right vendor for NaaS deployment – seamlessly and successfully. A reputable vendor will bring expertise, customization capabilities, technology integration skills, scalability options, ongoing support, and security expertise to the table, helping the organizations maximize the benefits of NaaS while minimizing risks and disruptions. 

Author: Prakash Krishnamoorthy, Director - India at HPE Aruba Networking