• Atul Ojha

Digital Transformation, Managed Network Services & SD-WAN

Updated: Aug 4


This time around we have a look at how these 3 components are critically dependent on each other in the journey of a digital organization and why the time is NOW to embark on this journey before it is too late.


"Digital Organization" is the journey that a lot of organizations globally have embarked on and various initiatives are underway to transform the business processes to digital. Industry pundits predict that the global spending on digital transformation technologies will increase at neck breaking pace. The digital transformation technologies have demonstrated to create great benefits to organizations in the areas of operational efficiencies, enhanced or new revenue streams and a much better customer engagement and experience. I think as far as benefits and advantages of digital transformation technologies are concerned, universally people agree and the debate of ‘if and but’ has been put to rest for some time. Needless to say, during the pandemic, the digital organizations displayed a far superior competitive advantage over others and have done relatively better.


The successful implementation of digital transformation will require the organization to adopt critical technologies like cloud, IoT Internet of Things, artificial intelligence AI & machine learning, ML. The journey to digital transformation will also depend on availability and flexibility of wide area networks WAN, owing to:

  • Effect on network expansion due to growth of global traffic.

  • Intelligence is moving to the edge driven by IoT and ecommerce.

  • Changing WAN outlook driven by cloud adoption.

  • Higher bandwidth requirement at the edge driven by rich media consumption.

These transformations will require an adaptable WAN architecture. Better networking at the branch is critical to business, defining success by better employee productivity, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. This needs a shift toward a more flexible software-defined and virtualized networking architecture. All this has led to adoption of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) as the technology of choice for upgrading their current legacy WAN ecosystem. SD-WAN has come strong to support direct and secure access to cloud applications, provide cost-effective growth in bandwidth, and improve network availability.


For organizations that are wanting to adopt software-defined architecture all by themselves are facing adoption challenges. Largely because of lack of technical resources and also because of integration complexities. A managed service provider can bring in a lot of relief and commercial benefits on areas like cloud, security robustness, uniform or tailormade SLAs service level agreements, tested functionalities, customer self-service portals and global learnings.


Virtualized network services and innovations in the area are accelerated, driven by key stakeholders like full scale communications service providers and equipment vendors and has been very helpful for creating robust network architectures. Organizations will benefit considerably as they attempt to enhance customer experience by incorporating modern AI and ML tools.


In summary, managed network services bring significant benefits to organizations as they undertake the journey towards a software-defined networking implementation, eventually to reap the benefits of digital transformation.


Legacy WAN lacks the agility and ability to respond to increasing adoption of cloud services and demands for higher bandwidth. Most enterprises have identified three key challenges with current WAN implementation:

  • Secure connectivity to cloud applications.

  • Managing various connectivity as MPLS, ethernet, 4G/LTE etc.

  • Cost-effective management of applications at the branch

Organizations, however, are cautious with the rollout of a new technology and its potential impact on mission-critical applications. Implementing a software-defined architecture has proven to be more challenging than various claims of “ease of deployment & provisioning” by SD-WAN providers.


Organizations will be better off to handle these challenges by choosing a managed services provider with appropriate experience in deploying and managing software-defined and virtualized networking services.


Virtualized network services are the new game changers in networking, driven by a desire to create a cost-effective increase in network capacity and implement a cloud-based commercial framework. The architecture is based on separation of software functionality (as in virtual network function, VNF) from the hardware. Hardware-based appliances do not scale as easily as software and are not portable. VNFs, on the other hand, can be hosted anywhere — spanning datacenter, aggregation point, provider edge, and customer premise.


SD-WAN is one of the most prevalent use cases of this emerging software-defined and virtualized networking architecture. SD-WAN has emerged as the new architecture that enhances secure connectivity to the cloud, supports multi-connectivity options, and simplifies customer experience across various deployment modes.


SD-WAN overcomes the limitations of traditional enterprise WANs in areas such as support for cloud applications (SaaS and IaaS), simplified deployment and management, cost-effective bandwidth utilization, greater overall WAN flexibility and efficiency, and improved WAN security. The provision of multiple connectivity options, including cellular, improves network availability — a most important consideration.


Considering these benefits, it is no wonder that SD-WAN adoption continues to rise in the enterprise market.


At Axon Networks we believe we can play a critical role in managed network services for your organization, provided you are ready to leverage all of this to your advantage in many more ways than one.


Stay safe & healthy.


Regards,

Atul Ojha

Co-founder

Axon Networks


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