What is SD-WAN as a Service?

5 July 2022 | Posted by Josh Paine

To stay competitive, you've got to keep ahead of the latest technology innovations. And for your enterprise networks, there's a plethora of new demands.

Global events have accelerated our reliance on new technology, adding an increasing number of end-users, applications, and mobile devices to business networks. This has made IT environments more diverse than ever. 

It can be difficult to fulfill capacity requirements if you’re still using outdated networks and systems. But in many cases, traditional enterprise network connections, such as MPLS, VPN, or P2P are still relied upon for network connectivity.

Could you be using a more efficient solution? Enter SD-WAN.

What is SD-WAN?

A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is an alternative to traditional wide area network routers. It provides a dynamic, policy-based application path across multiple WAN connections.

It works alongside your existing, available network connections to create an overlay tunnel on top of your transport links. This reduces pressure on your networks and enables high-quality data transfers, improved uptime, and security.

Because SD-WAN is a virtual overlay, you remove the need for adding physical hardware to your networks. This provides you with greater flexibility if you’re looking to scale your environment up or down. And you can manage this all remotely, using a centralized system with program edge appliances.

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

What is SD-WAN as a Service?

To achieve a fully optimized and cost-effective SD-WAN environment, you first need to take a closer look at your existing system. Is it up to date, is it accurate, and do you have visibility of all of your processes?

Implementing SD-WAN can be tricky if you haven’t got control of your existing infrastructure. And managing the technology shift from hardware-centric network architectures to software-defined structures is a time-consuming and costly process – one that your internal teams might not have the skills or resources to manage.

To reduce the hassle of getting started with SD-WAN in your business, you can offload SD-WAN implementation and management to a telecom expense management (TEM) provider. Or if you have an existing solution in place, your TEM partner can provide knowledgeable suggestions for optimizing your system and reducing costs. This is known as SD-WAN as a Service.

Adopting SD-WAN as a Service can help your enterprise in multiple ways, including:

  • Optimizing and auditing your existing network environment
  • Benchmarking, sourcing, and procurement to find the best SD-WAN solution
  • Providing knowledgeable support from an experienced partner
  • Best practice SD-WAN implementation
  • Long-term management and optimization

How to Get Started with SD-WAN as a Service

Implementing SD-WAN in your enterprise isn’t a one-off project. Maintaining, managing, and most importantly, achieving cost-saving results from SD-WAN requires continual review. This doesn’t need to take up the time of your internal teams when a telecom expense management partner can help.

Here’s how they can support you.

1. Audit Your Environment

If you want to achieve measurable results from SD-WAN, you need to know where you’re starting from. A telecom expense management provider can conduct a systematic audit of your environment, so you know what structures you already have in place. This is also an opportunity to eliminate outdated or unused hardware and connections.

2. Understand the Market

A telecom expense management provider will have extensive knowledge of vendors and contract negotiation capabilities. If you’re a large or global business, this will help you achieve the best rates no matter where you are in the world. It’ll also take this process off the hands of your internal teams.

3. Best in Class Implementation

SD-WAN makes your network more complex. You need visibility of your network and you need to stay in control of security and governance. A telecom expense management provider can act as an extension of your team to help you manage all of these factors. While your existing workforce might need to become accustomed to SD-WAN, a TEM partner can provide the knowledgeable support you need to implement it and maintain an effective network long-term.

4. Consolidate Invoices

With SD-WAN, rather than one large, consolidated invoice, you might have multiple split into single invoices. And if this is still paper-based, things can become complicated. A telecom expense management provider can take responsibility for managing payment processes and invoices. This reduces complexity for your internal teams and can help you overcome issues such as varied bill formats or billing errors. 

Is Your Enterprise Network Ready for the Future?

Gartner predicts that enterprise spending on SD-WAN products will grow at a 29.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2018 to 2023. And this clear indication of SD-WAN uptake can't be ignored.

Your enterprise should weigh up the benefits of implementing SD-WAN in your organization, and whether SD-WAN as a Service from a telecom expense management provider might be suitable for you. Or if you're using an existing solution, are there opportunities to optimize it? This will help you remain cost-effective in the years to come. 

Get regular Telecom roundups direct to your inbox.