Intelligent Tech Channels Issue 55 - Page 54

EXPERT SPEAK

UNLOCKING NETWORK-AS- A-SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CHANNEL

With all market indicators suggesting that mass adoption of Network-asa-Service ( NaaS ) is imminent , channel partners must prepare themselves to capitalise on this heightened customer interest . Sherifa Hady , Vice President Channel , Europe Middle East and Africa at Aruba , a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company , tells us more .

COVID-19 triggered a surge in interest in As-a-Service adoption across the IT industry . Unprecedented uncertainties and disruptions meant that companies came to value the versatility and flexibility of their technology solutions more than ever . Enterprises and SMBs alike saw their IT needs evolve rapidly , with most forced to digitally transform at a pace beyond their capabilities . As they turned to external support to cope with increased IT complexities and cybersecurity challenges , reliance on the channel grew .

Indeed , while it is still a small share of their business for most , recent research from Canalys shows that channel partners are starting to wake up to the opportunities that As-a-Service is creating . Over one in two ( 58 %) channel companies forecast growth in ITaaS revenue this year and almost a third predict it to be double-digit .
Included within this shift is a rising interest in Network-as-a-Service ( NaaS ), which we define as when an organisation has over 50 % of its network rollout , operations and life cycle management delivered by a third party on a subscription basis .
Sherifa Hady , Vice President Channel , Europe Middle East and Africa at Aruba
The appetite for NaaS is rising , with our own research showing that it is now being discussed in 86 % of EMEA companies . Recognition of the channel ’ s part to play in its uptake is also clear – with IT resellers showing up strongly in respondents ’ expectations of who to purchase NaaS from .
With all market indicators suggesting that mass adoption is imminent , channel partners must prepare themselves to capitalise on this heightened customer interest . So if this is you , how do you go about it ?
Understanding the key drivers and barriers to adoption
First of all , it ’ s important to understand exactly what is driving the broader industry ’ s appetite for NaaS . Our research revealed that 75 % of respondents agree that having the flexibility to scale their company ’ s network based on business needs is at the heart of their interest . That ’ s in addition to its time and cost saving benefits – 57 % believe NaaS will free up IT team time for innovation and strategic initiatives , while 76 % expect it could reduce operations costs .
On top of these benefits , the rapid move towards public cloud is also helping transform customer purchasing behaviour , with greater acceptance of As-a-Service and pay-per-use consumption models . Customers are also attracted by the promise of being able to manage cashflow and mitigate financial risks through OPEX IT investments instead of capital expenditure .
Of course , as with any rising technology trend , barriers to adoption among both customers and partners remain . Our survey found that one of the largest roadblocks to NaaS adoption for customers was a lack of understanding .
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