By 2010, 60% of organisations will outsource major parts of their network management because of the difficulties and risks involved with managing services internally, Forrester Research has predicted.
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The demands placed on internal networks by the business mean that IT managers are burdened with managing network services across silos such as servers, storage, security, databases and applications, said Evelyn Hubbert, senior analyst at Forrester.
"Network management has become more than just pinging routers and checking device availability. Today, it is more about getting a handle on ensuring secure, reliable service delivery across distributed networks," she said.
David Willis, vice-president at analyst firm Gartner, said key areas where it made sense to have network services hosted by third parties included remote monitoring and management, telecoms management, IP telephony and managed mobility.
"The advantage of a hosted platform is that the equipment resides in a carrier-class environment, with high availability, back-up power, network redundancy and physical security," he said.
Many enterprises see a risk in buying IP telephony and mobility equipment, as they could quickly become obsolete given the pace of change, said Willis.
Research from Gartner indicates increased adoption of leased IP telephony infrastructure within enterprise as a way of shifting the cost of maintenance and upgrades to a third-party supplier.
Findings from the 2007 CMA market survey of 354 UK network professionals identified voice over IP (59%), and enterprise mobility (41%) as the main drivers for firms' future network plans.
However, the survey also found that users were concerned with the overall experience of the fixed and mobile services they had deployed on their networks.
"The growing impact of IP on enterprise mobility makes it critical that our members' companies get the quality of service they need and that suppliers make significant efforts to better themselves in this area," said CMA chairman Carolyn Kimber.