Transforming the Transformers

The rise of SD-WAN deployments clearly marks the industry’s migration away from legacy MPLS platforms and the embrace of cost-effective flexibility in networking.

According to Gartner, 20 percent of enterprises have adopted SD-WAN, a number expected to grow to 60 percent by 2024. The rise of SD-WAN deployments clearly marks the industry’s migration away from legacy MPLS platforms and the embrace of cost-effective flexibility in networking. The SD-WAN market is projected to reach $5.25 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 31 percent from 2018 to 2023, according to a report by IDC.

There are several benefits to SD-WAN that prove to be very compelling for enterprise customers.

Cost savings

SD-WAN utilizes lower-cost connectivity that works in conjunction with or replaces expensive MPLS connections. Moreover, Nemertes Research notes that due to the more transparent and automatic failover when WAN links fail, SD-WAN can reduce branch WAN outages and troubleshooting costs by 90 percent.

Business agility

By using broadband circuits instead of dedicated lines, SD-WAN can be installed and provisioned quickly, taking a matter of days to come on line instead of a month or more. The centralized, policy-based management of SD-WAN also lends itself to rapid deployment of new WAN-based services.


Instead of relying on multiple devices and firewalls at each site, SD-WAN offers the ability to consolidate and simplify security management with built-in security and encryption capabilities.


SD-WAN enables traffic to flow over two or more independent WAN links, allowing organizations to diversify their WAN connections and increase reliability. 

Cloud and mobile application performance

SD-WAN increases application performance by intelligently controlling and more efficiently utilizing all available WAN transport resources. 

Application visibility

Most SD-WAN solutions offer visibility tools that help network managers monitor application usage and performance.

Increased IT staff productivity

A study by Nemertes found that those who converted to SD-WAN have experienced a 20 percent reduction in staffing required for the WAN and a 33 percent reduction in the amount of time WAN staff spend troubleshooting. 

Bringing Digital Transformation Full Circle

As enterprises invest in SD-WAN to upgrade their networks in support of their digital transformation initiatives, it’s also critical that MSPs understand last-mile connections with laser accuracy in order to capitalize on the growing trend. To be competitive, network operators and MSPs need to quickly identify diverse, redundant networks that can serve potential enterprise clients. To do so, these service providers must begin their own journey of digital transformation to integrate new technologies into their sales efforts to achieve this objective and meet their SD-WAN conversion targets.

One of the common challenges in digital transformation—regardless of industry or organization size—is the ability to relinquish old processes and technology to make way for the new. Service providers are not immune to this issue. Unfortunately, many providers’ sales teams still rely on archaic processes, such as Excel docs and “best guesses” to determine these last-mile connections. The irony here is that the provider ultimately responsible for this transformation has not looked within its own organization to fully realize digital transformation with regards to data collection and organization.

Providers that begin this transformative journey should rely on location-based intelligence and street-level knowledge of the competitive landscape to be able to identify diverse, redundant networks that can serve multi-location enterprises. Those that lack the location-specific intelligence into which networks can service which locations will fall behind on executing SD-WAN transformation projects, while those armed with location-based analytics and insights will capitalize on this lucrative trend.


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