SD-WAN Primed For Solution Providers Who Can Talk Business Outcomes, Not Technology

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New opportunities around SD-WAN are opening up for solution providers ready to talk business outcomes, not the speeds and feeds of the technology.

SD-WAN might be the hottest buzzword in IT right now, but it's still a nebulous concept for many business customers. Solution providers that can position SD-WAN as a tool to help customers better achieve their business goals will land more sales in a market ripe for disruption, according to solution providers CRN spoke with at The Channel Company's XChange 2017 conference in Orlando, Fla., this week.

"If you just go in talking about SD-WAN, you're not going to get sales," said Michael Knight, CTO of solution provider Encore Technology Group. "It's similar to the IoT discussion in the sense that solution providers need to stop talking about SD-WAN, and talk about outcomes."

[Related: Talari President: SD-WAN Should Be A 'Small Part' Of Overall Solution Provider Offering]

Research firm IDC estimates that worldwide SD-WAN infrastructure and services revenues will grow 70 percent annually for the next four years, reaching more than $8 billion in 2021.

Greenville, S.C.-based Encore Technology Group just cinched its first major SD-WAN deal with a 35-site-plus customer. The solution provider has built its own SD-WAN solution in partnership with Cisco Meraki.

For Encore Technology Group, the SD-WAN sale didn't begin with a conversation about the latest service. The customer was seeking to reduce its MPLS costs. At the same time, Encore Technology Group realized that the customer had no insight into how much bandwidth it was using, which devices were connected, or what kind of traffic was traversing the network and "burning up" expensive MPLS links, Knight said.

Encore Technology Group posed a solution that combined network management, security and SD-WAN into a single dashboard that would allow the customer's IT team to understand the traffic, and match that traffic to users and applications.

Once you determine what the specific pain points are for a customer, SD-WAN becomes a very easy sell, Knight said.

SD-WAN takes a new approach to network connectivity aimed at lowering operational costs and improving resource usage for multisite deployments. The technology enables network administrators to use bandwidth more efficiently and ensure the highest level of performance for applications.

"The [customer] is getting full visibility and control, and SD-WAN, and they are able to manage their network down to each site," he said.  "It's a complete solution for them, and they are going to reduce their MPLS costs." 

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