By Kelly Baig, Director of as-a-Service Marketing at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company\n\nAs-a-service IT consumption models have proven to be increasingly popular across the IT asset stack thanks to the enhanced visibility, control, and flexibility these models afford business and IT leaders. Particularly for enabling real-time insights to make strategic business decisions, the flexibility of as-a-service models facilitates improved responsiveness, agility, and security for the IT team to take advantage of critical business opportunities and to improve operational efficiency.\n\nToday, the success of as-a-service models is driven by the opportunity for CIOs to receive both on-premise as well as cloud-based delivery of the latest hardware and software network components, known as networking as-a-service (NaaS). NaaS \u2013 which is defined as enterprise network infrastructure, such as hardware, software, management tools and lifecycle services, consumed via a flexible consumption operating expense (OpEx) \u2013 enables these organizations to keep pace with change and network innovation without the accumulation of technical debt. NaaS also provides automation and data analytics that put IT teams into a proactive stance and in tighter control of their networks, ensuring optimal performance and better outcomes from the infrastructure investment.\n\nAfter all, 70% of IT\u2019s time is spent trying to diagnose and fix issues, according to a recent survey from analyst firm Gartner.1 In contrast, NaaS enables IT teams to recapture wasted time and pivot to serve new requirements within their respective scopes, which is especially necessary in light of urgent priorities which may have emerged in the face of COVID-19 related challenges.\n\nOperational Flexibility is Paramount\n\nNaaS provides greater flexibility for accessing new hardware and software capabilities as they become available while providing the option to right-size IT investment through predictable pay-as-you-go and budgeting options. This flexibility is especially crucial as enterprise organizations must increasingly manage data at the edge \u2013 wherever the edge is located \u2013 in the cloud, on-premises, or in the branch environment and beyond, including the hybrid workplace environment where employees increasingly must work outside the traditional office, whereever they have a secure and stable connection.\n\nThe dramatic explosion of data at the edge, boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the exponential growth of IoT devices, is straining legacy enterprise network operations and management. In response, NaaS can deliver dynamic scalability of the network while providing managed access to the most advanced hardware and software technology, all in a flexible consumption model via as-a-service.\n\nEliminating the Burden of Asset Management with NaaS\n\nParticularly for organizations that lease IT equipment, end-of-life decommissioning issues require both attention to regulatory compliance and secure equipment disposal processes. With the ability to provision networking assets through as-a-service consumption, CIOs can gain peace of mind without the burden of developing and managing comprehensive asset management strategies, including such tasks as determining upgrades and returns, overseeing proper decommissioning, and observing safe disposal practices.\n\nAccording to a recent report from IDC, which was sponsored by Aruba, titled Network as a Service Enables Flexible Consumption of Secure and Agile Enterprise Networks, in which 1,000 IT decision makers (ITDMs) were surveyed on their attitudes about NaaS, security is strategically important for NaaS engagements regardless of size or industry vertical. In fact, 41% of ITDMs said they would anticipate using flexible consumption for networking in their next procurement cycle. IDC\u2019s research underscores that a well-formed IT life-cycle management policy that includes a comprehensive decommissioning policy reduces security risks and improves sustainability metrics.\n\nNaaS Enables Increased Operational Efficiencies and Precision \n\nThe approach with NaaS provides data analytics, expanded telemetry, artificial intelligence, and automation \u2013 which provides critical efficiency gains in network operations. Advanced automation reduces manual management of the network in concert with managing network operations remotely, providing increased visibility and analytics from usage through to bandwidth.\n\nNaaS can also power new categories of applications and workloads that work in concert with the cloud, but operate at the edge. To achieve this modern form of networking and its myriad benefits, CIOs must reexamine the entire legacy network portfolio from assets to processes and make decisions that focus IT\u2019s time where it matters most, and gain unprecedented efficiencies, through precise insights and control in network operations.\n\nTransitioning to NaaS at the Pace of the Business \n\nDepending on the needs of the business, a wholesale transition may not be prudent; benefits can be realized through a staged transition that aligns with prevailing business goals. CIOs can still realize crucial benefits, including the ability to refocus IT staff on the most strategic business tasks; to reduce the effort and cycles required to complete updates and upgrades; to capture more insights on all aspects of network, providing more useful cost metrics; and to experience improvements to operational efficiencies and overall network performance. In time, these benefits can be realized throughout the as-a-service transition across the entire network.\n\nTo learn more about Aruba\u2019s as-a-service options, visit our website.\n\nRelated Resources:\n\n1 Gartner Identifies 5 Network Cost Optimization Opportunities, press release, June 2019.