SD-WAN Benefits: Rising Expectations Create New Action Items for IT Leaders

July 23rd, 2019

New IDG research indicates that the majority of enterprises are investing in SD-WAN, but adoption rates aren’t the only thing on the upswing. Expectations regarding the benefits of an SD-WAN deployment are accelerating too. What does this mean for investors? See how rising anticipations are creating new action items for IT leaders looking to champion an SD-WAN solution.

A 2019 SD-WAN Market Trends Report summarizes recent survey results from IDG Research, showing the three most anticipated business benefits of SD-WAN are:

If you’re familiar with SD-WAN, this list may come as no big surprise, but here’s what is most notable about the new findings. Expectations are steadily rising across all three of these benefit areas. Over the past two years, IT leaders showed increasing levels of anticipation. Security expectations saw the biggest jump at 15 percentage points (45% to 60%) and cost savings wasn’t far behind at 14 percentage points (36% to 50%). Efficiency also jumped 10 points.

What does this mean for IT leaders? It signifies market readiness, but it also raises the bar on SD-WAN and acts as a call to action. Here are three tasks every IT leader should be taking in order to champion an SD-WAN project.

Action Item: Prepare Your Case—Buyers are Confident and Ready

The new research indicates a sign of SD-WAN readiness and maturity both with the technology and the market. As adoption rises, IT professionals have a better understanding of the benefits SD-WAN delivers, how it fits in their organization, and the best use cases for it. Investors have gained confidence over the past two years, which is a sign that the SD-WAN pitch is more likely to be well received.

Action Item: Exemplify Your Returns with Proactive Solution Modeling

With higher expectations, those trying to champion an SD-WAN investment may be asked to demonstrate return on investment in the way of security, cost savings, as well as productivity gains. SD-WAN is new, and few organizations have deep experience with the technology. Therefore, a cost-benefit analysis or a proof of concept will likely be a wise investment.

Clearly modeling your connectivity strategy and management plan can help identify where your upsides will come from. This is an important step particularly because efficiency gains and cost savings may be better in theory than in practice. Providers typically offer a free design consultation to guide investors in how to create a connectivity plan that will best balance price, performance, and resiliency. Here’s the SD-WAN connectivity guide and three-step approach that Masergy uses.

The Realities of Efficiency Gains and Cost Benefits

Action Item: Earn Approval by Aligning Benefits to Management Tiers

Another interesting finding is this: The most important IT benefits of SD-WAN differ across the ranks of management. Director/Manager-level employees categorize management simplification as the most important benefit, while executives and vice presidents most appreciate the ability to customize the WAN, orienting it with the needs of each location and application in order to “right-size” the network according to business priorities. After all, SD-WAN is highly efficient at maintaining a precise fit between services needed and services used–particularly when SD-WAN is tightly integrated with the provider’s own software-defined network. Since agility advantages align differently with each type of decision maker, these insights are critical in helping SD-WAN champions earn internal buy-in.

Whether you’re acting on a case of FOMO or simply preparing your enterprise for IT agility, SD-WAN is increasingly foundational in the digital age.

Get all the IDG research insights in the full report: 2019 SD-WAN Market Trends.

Interested in a free SD-WAN consultation and proof of concept from Masergy? Contact us today!

Ray Watson

Ray Watson is VP of Innovation at Masergy. He brings over 17 years of expertise in IT strategy, application solution design and next-generation network architectures. Ray has enabled numerous global enterprises in transforming their IT infrastructures to guarantee business outcomes. Ray is an industry thought leader in IT transformation and is a frequent speaker on topics such as hybrid networking, SDN, NFV, cloud connectivity and advanced security. Prior to joining Masergy, Ray worked at Airband Communications and Broadwing Communications. He holds a B.S. from Purdue University.

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