How to Prepare for an SD-WAN Digital Transformation

Posted by
Josh Bouk

10 October 2017

Blog

'Digital transformation' is the buzz phrase of the moment. An umbrella term to describe the change a company must undergo to embed digital technology, it can refer to any alteration in the foundational components of a business – be that infrastructure, operational systems, or network.

In the modern era, digital transformation has become essential. Regardless of the size, industry, or reputation of an enterprise, innovation is the key to survival. But the strength of a digital transformation lies as much in the way companies prepare for integration, as the technologies themselves.

Digitally Transforming SD-WAN

The first step of any digital transformation project is preparation. Enterprises must examine the value of existing configurations to determine project feasibility, and then discern which components can integrate with the new configuration post-transformation.

Across a series of previous posts, we have outlined the value of SD-WAN: its ability to transform enterprise networks, eliminate deployment bottlenecks, and optimize existing architecture.

In this post, we focus on providing a comprehensive step-by-step preparatory guide, we'll provide enterprises must prioritize before undergoing an SD-WAN digital transformation. 

This begins with the creation of a comprehensive, simple, and straightforward digital strategy.

Discover how to extract the most value from your SD-WAN deployment: download  our implementation guide now.

Step 1: Create a Digital Strategy

To execute a digital transformation successfully, enterprises must create a culture conducive to change. SD-WAN has garnered the attention of many throughout the networking marketplace  presenting an opportunity for enterprises to be more responsive and agile and keep up with the global demands of business, but despite these benefits, there will always be those averse to change.

Forging a clear and coherent digital strategy is one of the most important elements in the successful execution of a digital transformation. A business case creates the vision and direction for the project and ensures everyone involved in the execution of the project shares a common goal. But it is the digital strategy that provides the workforce with all the necessary information they require to execute the transformation effectively, helping to quieten any dissatisfaction. 

As a rule, both the business case and the digital strategy must be presented to executives, key employees, and stakeholders in a carefully constructed document that articulate a clear path to an attractive return on investment (ROI).

But crafting a detailed, informative, and comprehensive strategy document is no mean feat. Without a thorough understanding of the current state of the network, it’s impossible to determine which components can integrate with the new configuration post-transformation. To support the strategy process, it's necessary to conduct a full-service audit.

Step 2: Conduct a Thorough Audit

The purpose of auditing is to locate and identify all equipment present within the enterprise. The ultimate result is the creation of a master asset register which includes a comprehensive and tagged list of all telecoms equipment.

A master asset register can be used as a point of reference throughout the digital transformation, enabling enterprises to discover which assets need upgrading or replacing and those that are simply no longer required.

Communicating with your TEM provider throughout this process is crucial. The best TEM vendors provide a continuous, systematic, full-service telecoms auditing solution. This should include the full procure-to-pay lifecycle and be reflective of all recent MACDs (Move, Add, Change and Disconnects), ensuring your master asset register is accurate and updated at any given time.

Critical infrastructure and asset audits can run concurrently with companies' day-to-day operations, and at the end of the review, enterprises will gain a much clearer picture of the state of their systems.

Step 3: Perform Extensive Market Research

Numerous start-ups and established industry players have crowded into the SD-WAN marketplace to capitalize upon its increasing impact on the connected world. With such an array of options, all offering variations on the same theme  technology that uses SDN principles to dynamically aggregate multiple WAN links, improving performance and decreasing reliance on costly MPLS connections  navigating the SD-WAN environment can prove challenging. 

The first step to discerning which of these providers can provide the best solution must come from extensive market analysis. Thorough research makes it possible to adequately assess vendor value for money, risk of investment, and competition – with this information, your enterprise can make a more informed decision about which vendor is the right fit.  

Throughout this process, your TEM provider can be a vital support network. Vast experience of the telecoms market allows them to offer invaluable benchmarking expertise – providing information and advice on such things as viable rates and assisting with negotiating waivers – to create customized reports tailored to your specific needs.

With a deep understanding of the networking marketplace, visibility into vendors, and knowledge of what they are really willing to provide, your TEM provider is perfectly placed to help you benchmark and source a new contract, while ensuring that you get both the best rate and terms.

Preparing to Succeed

The phrase: ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ is heard across all walks of life, but the inverse is just as true. Taking steps to prepare for SD-WAN will provide your enterprise with greater insight into the networking marketplace, an opportunity to smooth the transition process, and the ability to make the right vendor decision. Succeeding to prepare is preparing to succeed

Innovation has become a key driver of success for enterprises. Only those who are readily prepared for a digital transformation will be able to extract the greatest value. But the strength of a digital transformation lies not just in the technologies themselves but also in how companies prepare to transform their business. What separates digital leaders from the rest is a clear focus on preparation, combined with the leadership style and tools poised to drive the transformation forward.

 

This post is the fifth in a 6-part series exploring everything an enterprise needs to know about SD-WAN and how effectively preparing for an SD-WAN digital transformation can smooth the transition process.

In the final instalment, now available here, we will journey through an SD-WAN deployment to determine the hard cost-savings that an implementation can save your organization. To follow this blog series, sign up to our blog digest, or to gain up-to-date insight into how to extract the maximum value from your SD-WAN deployment, while smoothing the transition process, download: The Complete Guide to SD-WAN Deployment.

Implementing SD-WAN The Complete Guide to Enterprise SD-WAN Deployment

Topics: SD-WAN

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How to Prepare for an SD-WAN Digital Transformation

'Digital transformation' is the buzz phrase of the moment. An umbrella term to describe the change a company must undergo to embed digital technology, it can refer to any alteration in the foundational components of a business – be that infrastructure, operational systems, or network.

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