This year, enterprises have accelerated their digitalization efforts, migrating applications and infrastructure to the cloud as they move from dedicated data centers to shared public infrastructure.
The momentum is clear, but the question is whether the change is paying off. The public cloud services market totalled more than $233 billion in 2019 according to IDC, but a majority of enterprises report that they have not fully realized all of the benefits anticipated.
Many CIOs that I speak with understand the need for an advanced SD-WAN edge solution to reap the benefits of the cloud. It will automate connectivity to the cloud, secure direct access across the internet and simplify data transfers across multi-cloud deployments, ultimately improving the experience for end users and IT teams.
However, making incremental investments on basic SD-WAN capabilities alone will not yield the desired outcomes. The effort has to go beyond that.
To SD-WAN or not to SD-WAN? – The answer lies in the transformational business value it provides
With today’s uncertain business landscape, some organizations have looked to cut back costs on digital initiatives. What businesses do not realize is the value of advanced SD-WAN and how the technology translates to higher business productivity, greater agility, and increased business value and revenue.
While cost is often the key factor when thinking about implementing new IT investments, IT needs to look beyond conventional ROI figures to do with ‘speeds and feeds’ improvements and hard-dollar cost savings.
In order to make a compelling business case for a business-driven SD-WAN, IT leaders need a detailed evaluation of their organization’s strategic and operational rationale to determine whether their potential investment will reap transformational value and make sound business sense.
There are six dimensions that organizations can look at when accessing the business impact of their potential SD-WAN investments.
1. Retire legacy infrastructure
Conventional router-centric WAN architectures are rigid and complex to manage, hindering business agility. At the same time, manually provisioning infrastructure, deploying new applications or making policy changes can be error-prone, costly and inefficient.
Organizations can eliminate costly, performance-robbing MPLS backhaul with a business-driven SD-WAN that delivers the ultimate quality of experience and centralized management.
2. Ability to run on any transport
Conventional MPLS transport services can be rigid, expensive and have long lead times to provision. Companies are often forced to increase costs to over-provision capacity or constrain performance due to bandwidth limitations.
Organizations can enhance business agility with a business-driven SD-WAN that makes it easy to increase and leverage bandwidth, and run their entire business on shared, public broadband without compromising performance or security.
3. No service-level agreement trade-offs required
Backhauling cloud-destined traffic to central data centers to apply security policies and controls impairs application performance, adds cost and compromises security with limited visibility to resolve network issues.
Business-driven SD-WAN delivers the highest performance and availability for every application, anywhere and over any WAN transport. With centralized visibility into both the data center and cloud-based applications running across the network, IT can act proactively and reduce network downtime and administrative cost.
4. Ability to automate everything
Onboarding cloud-delivered security services and applications requires manual configuration and is time consuming. Circuit failover can be disruptive and affect productivity and revenue streams.
With a business-driven SD-WAN that enables a fully self-driving network, organizations can expedite and automate the onboarding of new sites, cloud-delivered security services and applications with zero touch provisioning. This brings cost savings in deployment and network administration and resolves issues faster.
5. Advanced security for the cloud-first enterprise
As applications continue to migrate to the cloud, changing traffic patterns are driving the need for a new WAN approach and security model that is uniquely architected for the cloud-first enterprise.
A business-driven SD-WAN enables end-to-end application segmentation to reduce the attack surface and allow end-users secure, uninterrupted access to business-critical applications while IT lowers costs and simplifies operations.
6. Freedom of choice
Today, enterprises are compelled to adopt an agnostic networking platform that can easily integrate with existing technology solutions – security, cloud infrastructure, and network management tools – that best align with their needs while maintaining business agility.
Enterprises want to leverage existing investments and a business-driven SD-WAN enables automated service chaining with to best-in-class ecosystem partner technologies. This ultimately yields a superior combined solution that keeps pace with changing requirements.
To be sure, selecting the right technologies to drive your business transformation strategy can be difficult. An SD-WAN setup, however, is an easy choice for many businesses.
For starters, it can bring WAN costs down and deliver a 5x return or more on investments over its lifetime. Costs aside, organizations will ultimately experience a multiplier effect from their investments in the form of increased business agility, reduced risk, improved customer satisfaction, and increased revenue in the long run. Those are worth a lot more.