SMBs are increasingly becoming aware of SD-WAN and its advantages. SD-WAN adoption is likely to grow by 145% within the US SMB market within a year. Techaisle survey data shows that today, only 10% of SMBs are currently using SD-WAN solutions, but 25% are planning adoption. Networks are a clear pain point for SMBs as they embark on digital transformation to align with the emerging requirements of the post-pandemic world. Networks consume scarce IT resources, and they are the critical link providing the connectivity that unlocks all other digital opportunities and potential. Techaisle’s survey data shows that 47% of SMB IT time is allocated to networking-related issues. Nearly 90% of SMBs believe that proactive, consistent network management to deliver ideal performance is important.
Awareness of SD-WAN – a software layer that enables organizations to manage various networks and network devices as components of an integrated environment – has been growing steadily since first introduced in 2014. SD-WAN deployments are becoming common in large enterprises and are gaining momentum within midsized businesses. Techaisle’s survey research found that two-thirds of midmarket firms were either “moderately” or “extremely aware” of SD-WAN. Just under one-quarter of midmarket firms aware of SD-WAN had adopted SD-WAN when the pandemic struck, and an additional 32% are planning to deploy SD-WAN within a year.
A review of the reasons given by SMBs and midmarket firms for evaluating SD-WAN illustrates why the technology is rapidly gaining traction among companies that are looking to build digital business foundations. The top motivators for SD-WAN consideration are improving network and application performance, enabling network resiliency and failover, better management of application data traffic, and consistent security and connectivity across locations. These SD-WAN drivers align directly with critical aspects of an Interwork framework and the associated technical capabilities.
A digital business strategy extends well beyond a single technology, but market focus on SD-WAN reflects the need to base network strategy on a robust, flexible foundation.
Business imperatives for the ‘next normal’ are still under construction, but there are some clear signposts on the road to success. There is no line between ‘being digital’ and connecting workers and customers and suppliers and the world at large; ‘digital business’ is business. Digital transformation isn’t optional for SMB viability: the small and midmarket businesses advanced in their digital strategies were already growing faster and delivering better profitability than their competitors before the pandemic. There’s no evidence that this trend will reverse. Agile, flexible digital business systems will provide the foundation for growth, competitiveness, and profitability in the future; these platforms will rely on networks to span the “Interwork” capabilities. SD-WAN will be a crucial component of the network, digital, and business success.
The future may be uncertain, but some clear lines connect today’s capabilities with tomorrow’s success. Digital transformation is at the core of agility and viability, and SD-WAN is at the center of the networks that enable digital transformation. Infrastructure built on SD-WAN may not lead an SMB to success, but it makes the journey more predictable and the road less bumpy.
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