Easily integrated end-to-end security and the ability to scale the network are sparking growth.

Dale Smith, Channel Director, EMEA/LATAM

July 13, 2023

4 Min Read
Communications network as a service
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Dale Smith

Analysts predict exponential growth for network as a service (NaaS) over the next few years and it’s clear this is an opportunity for the channel, as more customers choose this consumption model. It seems that now is the perfect time for resellers to dip their toe in the water and start offering NaaS services to customers who see the benefit of having their network managed remotely.

The Market Opportunity for Network as a Service

A Canalys (registration required) poll found that 76% of channel partners surveyed expect to see growth overall in their managed services in 2023, with 27% predicting growth in this area to be over 20%. For partners who have traditionally fulfilled a reseller role, it might be a daunting prospect to get started in this new space. However, it’s often a natural progression for resellers to start offering the NaaS model as they already have deep knowledge about the products they sell.

Network as a service brings about a myriad of benefits that are well-suited to today’s customers, including the ability to scale the network up or down to meet business needs, taking the workload off the in-house IT team, as well as potential cost-savings due to businesses only paying for what they need. Not to mention, a NaaS provider is likely to deliver a better service and end-user experience due to their in-depth knowledge about the solutions they provide and an overall level of expertise in the field.

This move to NaaS comes as businesses are trying to cut costs and skills shortages remain in the IT industry, meaning more are opting to outsource their IT operations. Adopting a NaaS model also means that companies can adopt the latest network technologies without having to invest time and money upskilling their IT team to understand new tech or ripping and replacing their whole infrastructure over short periods of time to keep up with network demands.

Investing in the Right Solutions

Many partners who offer “as-a-service” solutions are looking at smart ways to use AI-driven solutions in the same way that IT teams in-house would use AI to pick up monotonous tasks when operating the network. Channel partners can also use AI solutions this way, making network operations for multiple customers smooth and relatively easy to maintain.

For customers who want the ease of network as a service, this may also be the best option from a business performance perspective, as they have the assurance that the network is smart enough to effectively manage itself, reducing the potential risk of human error and downtime. Investing in a solution portfolio that has AI at the heart of its operations is the key to minimising error and ensuring the best service for customers and end-users.

In addition to AI-driven solutions, partners must also prioritise investing in network solutions which offer built-in or easily integrated end-to-end security. This is a key concern for customers right now because of increasing digitalisation and increased use of IoT devices within businesses, meaning more risk of potential access points for cyber-attacks.

Managing customers’ networks means the responsibility is in the partner’s hands when it comes to securing the network. This is likely an initial concern for customers considering remote management of their network. Because the customer isn’t managing the security in-house, they may be initially reluctant to put their trust in a third party. However, this route historically poses less risk as it ensures the right security protection is selected, meaning there are no security blind spots in the network.

It’s a No-Brainer for Increasing Profitability

Businesses are undertaking digital transformation to improve efficiency of business processes, the overall performance of the business and the experience for customers. Many business processes and services now rely on the network due to increasing digitalisation of services. The market need is there for network as a service for this reason. It’s likely that traditional resellers will be able to increase their overall profitability with expanded offerings as the demand grows for differentiated network services.

Partners can also expand and invest in differentiated services across WLAN, location services, SD-WAN and branch security through the “as-a-service” model to maximise value for customers, providing management into all of these areas as well as insight and analytics for customers as their business continues to grow. For customers, this model makes sense from a business perspective, as the subscription model will reduce capital investment costs, and IT teams will see the benefit in having a third party manage the deployment, taking the complexity out of network management and increasing overall efficiency for their business.

Dale Smith is channel director, EMEA/LATAM, at Juniper Networks. Dale has 20 years of experience in technology, starting his career in the partner community and then moving to value-added distribution. He joined Juniper Networks in May 2018 from Exclusive Networks, where he was EMEA Channel Manager responsible for driving business plans for Palo Alto Networks. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @JuniperNetworks on Twitter.

About the Author(s)

Dale Smith

Channel Director, EMEA/LATAM, Dale Smith

Dale Smith is channel director, EMEA/LATAM, at Juniper Networks. He has 20 years of experience in technology, starting his career in the partner community and then moving to value-added distribution. He joined Juniper Networks in May 2018 from Exclusive Networks, where he was EMEA channel manager.

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