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Your network is essential to your business; but is it essential to manage it yourself?

Shahid Ahmed, leads Accenture's Network Technology group | March 4, 2013
Whatever industry you're in, your enterprise network is essential to your organization's success. You're spending a lot to maintain and upgrade it — millions of dollars in many cases. And you're probably struggling to acquire and then retain the skills needed to operate your network asset effectively.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

Whatever industry you're in, your enterprise network is essential to your organization's success. You're spending a lot to maintain and upgrade it millions of dollars in many cases. And you're probably struggling to acquire and then retain the skills needed to operate your network asset effectively.

Are those struggles just a fact of life when it comes to the network? Maybe not. Maybe the network has become so essential that it makes more sense to let someone else manage the components that are not core to your strategy.

What's the potential value? Just from a cost standpoint alone, pretty substantial 20% or more in some cases. But the real value of such a sourcing approach can be measured just as much in terms of business capabilities: having ready, reliable and scalable network bandwidth for your rapidly changing business needs. It's the classic case of "more for less."

Organizations have several options for structuring and managing network services through the use of an external provider and integrator. Here are the three most prevalent options:

* On premise. With an on-premise approach, a company contracts with best-of-breed vendors to execute activities across the network life cycle while retaining overall oversight. In effect, this is a kind of co-sourcing agreement. Different vendors are given different responsibilities, but the client still retains full, end-to-end responsibility for the integrated solution and for overall performance.

* Service aggregator. This involves contracting with a third-party service aggregator to transform and manage the network, using multiple vendors. The aggregator manages the platforms, as well as the provisioning and management of IP telephony, and the IP application platforms reside in the aggregator's data center. With this option, an organization gains greater flexibility in the overall solution while retaining more strategic control.

By working with a network services aggregator, organizations can access leading practices and market-leading vendors, a standardized platform and continuous technology upgrades through the integrator, all at a lower price point.

* End to end. A third option involves a comprehensive outsourcing approach contracting with a third-party provider to host the communications platforms and services and to manage the end-to-end network environment. The client lets an external provider manage everything associated with networking (LAN, WLAN, WAN) and IP telephony/unified communications platforms, as well as the contact center infrastructure.

There are two flavors of the end-to-end model one in which the client still owns assets and another in which the outsourcing provider owns the assets. The end-to-end approach to network sourcing is particularly attractive to organizations that want to develop leading-edge network capabilities very quickly.

 

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