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Does Your Argument Stack Up? Getting SD-WAN Investments Over the Line

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SD-WAN stack

Delivering the network availability your business needs to access optimum value from investment in applications can be tricky when investment is often focused on the application and not on the plumbing.

Choosing an SD-WAN solution could be the answer because it will help you to sweat the existing network assets you have but it still needs investment.  Making the case for network infrastructure investment is not straightforward – after all it’s just a pipe, isn’t it?

Our networks and our technology landscapes are now so complex and interdependent it is important to start thinking of the network as an enabler of business rather than a simple transport link.

On its own it’s just the plumbing. In the context of digital transformation, exceptional customer experiences and enhanced employee engagement, it’s a crucial piece of the jigsaw.

That’s why, when we’re trying to make the business case stack up, we can’t treat the network infrastructure as a standalone project anymore. We need to see it as a fully integrated part of our digital landscape and consider this when allocating budget.

We’ve put together 5 things we think are important to consider when building your business case for SD-WAN.

#1 Can you achieve your digital transformation goals without the right network infrastructure?

With many digital transformation initiatives not delivering against expectations, you might ask the question ‘Have they considered the network in all this?’

This is not simply a question of WAN upgrades but a complex evaluation of provision, speed, capacity and performance to ensure that digital transformation objectives are achieved.

SD-WAN could be a real enabler of successful digital transformation so any investment in this solution needs to be considered in the wider context of the project overall with the anticipated returns of these initiatives sitting front and centre in your SD-WAN ROI calculations.

#2 – How complex is your existing network infrastructure?

In any large distributed enterprise, it’s probably fair to say that the WAN has been built over time with multiple technologies, including an array of legacy equipment, multiple connectivity types and multiple service plans.  Supporting change in this environment is probably a real headache.

When constructing a business case for SD-WAN it is important to quantify the resource that might be required to service and support your existing WAN infrastructure and compare this with what that cost would be in an SD-WAN environment.

#3 How Consistently does your WAN perform?

Higher pressure on the network with increasing volumes of bandwidth hungry applications that are being delivered over cloud-based infrastructures means that the likelihood of brownouts or even blackouts impacting the quality of the user experience is significant.

Think about the cost of down time in your current environment and balance this against the network availability levels that an SD-WAN solution offers. This calculation should form a key part of your business case for implementing an SD-WAN solution.

#4 How standardised is your connectivity?

When we’re delivering business operations across 100s or even 1000s of sites in multiple locations, the types and speeds of connectivity available creates a complex picture.

If we then want to implement consistency in user experience across this landscape, it can become very expensive.  Because SD-WAN solutions can help to maximise available bandwidth across multiple connectivity types it provides a real-world answer to this problem. So, when weighing up the costs of your SD-WAN project, don’t forget to consider what it would cost for the increased bandwidth needed to support your modern application environment and offset this against your SD-WAN investment.

#5 Can you afford to lose customers or internal talent?

Increasingly your customers are becoming more demanding and your internal talent pool have higher expectations.

The right SD-WAN solution could help you to deliver the application assurance you need to deliver, interactive in-store experiences and value-added applications to help attract and retain customers and employees. When thinking about your business case for SD-WAN, it’s important to not neglect to mention the opportunity cost of not investing in this technology.