How to master a complex SD-WAN ecosystem

Author: Dave Page, CEO

Published: 23 April 2019

Many organisations are adopting SD-WAN as a flexible solution to manage multiple and disparate networks. Investment is showing no signs of slowing and IDC reported an 83.3% increase in SD-WAN infrastructure revenues in 2017, predicting that the market will reach $4.5bn by 2022.

Despite this growth, companies are still dubious about migrating from legacy networks and as with all business decisions, organisations need to determine and prove the switch will deliver strong financial and operational returns to justify the investment.

One of the main benefits of SD-WAN is raw cost - it costs less than traditional WANs and is often easier to deploy. Its other advantage is its ‘single pane of glass,’ which simplifies network management across the entire estate. However, no organisation can afford to be out of action due to technical or network errors, as such one crucial measure is quality of service.

For a SD-WAN solution provider customers expect a consistent quality of service and reliability. Behind the scenes, this is easier said than done as many SD-WANs are made up of multiple service provider offerings, and each element has the potential to cause connectivity issues.

As an operator, how do you manage all this third party connectivity and prevent customers from experiencing an intermittent service, especially if you don’t possess visibility into the entire digital ecosystem?

When the customer experiences a lag in connectivity how can you determine which cog is the one getting stuck and causing the intricately balanced system to topple?

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again. As a service provider it’s your responsibility to provide a reliable, high-quality service. This requires a huge level of insight into the entire digital ecosystem to ensure you can provide outstanding performance for users in every department.

Actual Experience’s Digital Quality Score provides independent verification and offers service providers a measurement that they can assess theirs and 3rd party systems against.

Our analytics provide visibility across the entire ecosystem, helping to identify faults that affect the human experience and determine the best path for a high level of performance. For instance, the path that provides the best human experience could be a less direct but more stable path.

How does this work in practice?

Providers can, for example, agree an acceptable quality threshold with customers. The greater visibility across the digital ecosystem also helps pinpoint exactly where and who within the supply chain is responsible for the drop in the Digital Quality Score, providing impartial evidence to customers as to who is at fault.

SD-WAN is a transformative network solution when deployed, configured and managed correctly, but the human experience is everything.

Demonstrate to your customers that you have their business performance at the heart of your service and remove the clouds of doubt that often lead to finger pointing and blame.