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For this report, Ovum engaged with 16 operators to discuss the state of the business, to project the future of operating networks and selling enterprise services, and to determine how these will be fundamentally transformed leading up to 2025.


  • “The network” is a means to an end. It is a foundation on top of which service providers partner, package, deliver, manage, and support services.
  • The enterprise line of business is increasingly leading with an application-layer conversation, and network providers need to better voice their role as a primary player to engage early and directly to help build and support enterprise solutions.
  • Autonomous network functionality is growing and will benefit enterprises on many levels. But it will take years of design and testing before these agents become an embedded part of enterprises' own operations and workloads.

Features and Benefits

  • Learn from leading development and best practices efforts, and how these practices are projected to evolve over the next seven years.
  • Understand the range of choices available for network providers to build and tier channel and solutions partner ecosystems.
  • Learn the challenges that operators face in normalizing their internal operations, and early roles that automation plays.
  • Understand the potential positive role and benefits of an enterprise network provider in the future under a best-case scenario.

Key questions answered

  • What are the best-case and worst-case scenarios for enterprise network services providers in the next seven years?
  • What will happen to networks, and to the business of providing network services, over the next seven years?
  • What will be the evolving role of customer service and support as the network provider-enterprise relationship changes over the next seven years?
  • How may network providers make sense of channel, wholesale solutions specialists, and the spectrum of partner relationships in the next seven years?
  • How will automation affect the business of providing enterprise network services over the next seven years?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Ovum view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for enterprises
  • Recommendations for network providers

Defining the enterprise network provider of the future

  • Best case: Automated services partners take a prominent role in enterprise solutions
  • Worst case: Commodity toll collector for a cloud-driven ecosystem

Putting networks to work

  • What will "the network" become?
  • Driving applications to the network
  • Looking to 2025

Better service to enterprises and key channel partners

  • Processes that focus on the customer
  • Business process meets flexible and agile decision-making
  • Looking to 2025

Ecosystem of tomorrow

  • Looking to 2025

Orchestration, analytics, automation, artificial intelligence, and data standardization

  • Automation becomes more pervasive, remains siloed
  • Bridge-building to further intelligence and automation
  • The chasm of the large operator next step
  • Looking to 2025


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author