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This year, enterprises will get a much better sense of the range of network and cloud services they can access across virtualized infrastructures, in the data center as well as in the WAN. They can expect more cloud-secured network-as-a-service (NaaS) offers from global telcos such as AT&T and BT as well as cloud-hosted IT workload-as-a-service (WaaS) offers from global systems integrators, building on the hybrid network and IT innovations from challengers such as VeloCloud, Riverbed, and Silver Peak which have started to make an impact in the enterprise mid-market. Last year was about early adoption in those start-up vendors' domestic US market – with some signs of them crossing the Pacific. This year Europe and other regional markets will join the party.
Through client enquiries and meetings with several mid-sized companies in the second half of 2016, Ovum learned how appealing the hybridized end-to-end cloud services model is to fast-growing companies seeking rapid scalability and the flexibility to choose new applications services as soon as they become available. It is important that mid-market enterprises test their own business development requirements against the agile infrastructure model.
Ovum recently met an emerging music festival organizer with no permanent staff or office premises; a well-established national travel agency specializing in international tours; and a financial services technology company seeking to become a major supplier of enterprise applications. They each wanted to accelerate growth through innovative network and cloud services. They each ticked the following five boxes before they consulted service providers on their transformation to virtual managed services:
Each had a business case for ICT transformation and could show how it related to their respective market opportunities in the fast-growing international music scene; the highly mobile and collaborative travel and tourism sector; and financial services trading, where innovation and superior technology are advantageous.
They all wanted an agile IaaS/WaaS solution, to help manage, for example, seasonal event and capacity variations or online ticket zoning, with real-time systems controls. Financial services are a bit more complex, and a more traditional two-year IT refresh cycle is typical in FSI, but this company was opening sales offices overseas and needed flexible networking in particular.
They were all used to reaching out to third-party solutions designers, or outsourcing for a solution (e.g. for website design and development or content management).
They all wanted integrated communications and IT that could help set up and tear down sites and support highly mobile courier and field sales teams (including with Salesforce.com).
Support was important to them because they all had several prospects or priorities in their roadmaps (e.g. diversifying as part of a growth plan, building new supply chains, or internal reorganization into new subdivisions of users with their own specific technology needs).
This is not a comprehensive list, but we think it gives some customer target indicators for service providers rolling out virtual managed services in 2017.
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