Discovering SD-WAN's Hidden Talents Five Areas of your Business where a Software-Defined Wide-Area Network Solution can unlock new Internal Value

By Mike Frane, VP, Product Management, Windstream Enterprise

Mike Frane, VP, Product Management, Windstream Enterprise

The word about SD-WAN is out. As more enterprises pursue a digital-first strategy, they’re turning to the software-defined wide-area network as a versatile, lean, cost-effective and scalable network solution for migrating key business functions to the cloud.

How hot is SD-WAN in the enterprise realm? The International Data Corporation (IDC) projects that worldwide SD-WAN infrastructure and services revenues will see a compound annual growth rate of 69.6 percent through at least 2021. In slightly more than a year since launching an SD-WAN solution, my company, Windstream Enterprise, has onboarded more than 1,000 customers to the new network offering, representing tens of thousands of locations in banking, healthcare, retail, hospitality, and other vertical markets.

As viable as SD-WAN has become as a vehicle through which businesses can deliver a robust, secure digital experience to their customers, the enterprises that use it are also discovering some of the internal value-added services that a software-based network can bring to various departments across the organization. Here’s a look at five areas where SD-WAN can add value— — and turn your IT department into heroes in the process:

Sales: SD-WAN monitoring tools can enable sales managers to track the apps their salespeople use on a day-to-day basis, from Salesforce and similar software platforms to LinkedIn and other socials, and to get a more granular look at how salespeople are leveraging their networks. The Windstream Enterprise SD-WAN network suite uniquely includes a “tagging” function that allows sales managers to compare and contrast the digital use profiles of their sales teams to help identify why one group may be performing better than others.

Finance: SD-WAN solutions can give the finance department fresh, granular insight into how specific network assets are being used across the various departments and teams within an enterprise - insight that can inform how network costs could be allocated. This is another area where the tagging system can prove invaluable in revealing how employees are using (or not using) company assets.

Marketing: Enterprises that offer public-facing Wi-Fi as part of their SD-WAN can, with the right tracking and analytics tools, gain valuable insight into user/customer behavior when they’re on Wi-Fi at your locations. Analyzing the apps they’re using and the destinations they’re visiting can also yield new perspective on general consumer trends - perspective that marketing departments can use to inform their efforts to connect with customers and the public.

HR: Using tools integrated into the SD-WAN network, HR can more coherently and consistently enforce their organization’s accessible use policy by monitoring the apps employees use, the web pages they visit and the amount of time they may be spending on non-business activities.

IT: Besides earning goodwill from other departments within an enterprise for the aforementioned reasons, the IT department, with SD-WAN, gains new visibility into and control over their network, with easy-to-interpret real-time monitoring capabilities and simplified graphing and report generation, plus a centralized portal with enhanced control features to simply make changes on the fly across all locations, without truck rolls or onsite IT resources.

With internal value-added features like these, it’s no wonder SD-WAN is such a hot network advancement.

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