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SD-WAN for Digital Transformation: Making the WAN the Easy Part with Automation, Policy-Based Management, and Abstracted Connectivity

Author: John Burke, CIO & Principal Research Analyst

Digital Transformation (DT) initiatives harness technology, especially emerging technologies, to drive business value by raising revenues, decreasing costs, improving customer loyalty, or creating competitive advantage. DT efforts often hinge on providing new and exciting services to staff or customers across the WAN and the Internet, or on Internet of Things (IOT) initiatives, or on lean and agile branching strategies that bring the physical edge of the enterprise closer to the customer flexibly, with lower overhead and shorter lead times.

Engineering a WAN to support continuous and more rapid change is key to enabling ongoing transformational efforts. But for most companies, the WAN is among the pieces of the IT environment that are hardest to change.

SD-WAN is a natural partner to Digital Transformation. It provides a base for continuous WAN uptime, vital to many DT initiatives. It provides a platform for optimizing and guaranteeing delivery of real-time-sensitive traffic, central to many lean-branch, IoT, and workplace-focused DT efforts. It decreases dependencies on specific connectivity providers and eliminates waiting for connectivity as a limiting factor in branch turn-up, supporting any agile-branch DT strategy. And, it makes IT more responsive while reducing both the cost of connectivity and the labor required to manage it.

To DT-enable their WANs, IT professionals should:

  • Re-engineer your WAN to meet the needs of DT efforts
  • Evaluate SD-WAN solutions as the means of re-engineering your WAN; evaluate tools from multiple vendors and of multiple form factors
  • Make a business case for an SD-WAN deployment based on both DT initiatives enabled and WAN costs reduced
  • Explore direct-to-Internet models in support of cloud-facing initiatives

Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Transforming Organizations Need Transformed WANs
    • Traditional WAN Resists Change
  • The WAN, Transformed: SD-WAN
    • Automation Everywhere
      • Smoothing the Bumps
      • Centralizing Control
      • Lightening the Load
    • Connectivity Unbound: Improving the WAN Three Ways
      • Reducing Bandwidth Costs
      • WAN Now, WAN Forever
      • Unchained Connectivity
  • Conclusion


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