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UK businesses are suffering from SD-WOT Syndrome

Tom Adams

June 11, 2019

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In today’s competitive landscape, most businesses are in the midst of some form of digital transformation initiative. With growing data volumes and more applications distributed across data centers and cloud environments than ever before, industry-leading technologies such as software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) have emerged as the next generation of networking solutions.

However, it seems, amongst UK businesses there is a cloud of confusion and a lack of understanding around the implementation of the technology.

In an industry characterized by rapid change, SD-WAN technologies play a pivotal role in wider digital transformation programmes, empowering thousands of businesses and providing them with the agility they need to stay ahead of the competition. Yet, it manifests, that many businesses are overwhelmed by this new technology and are not fully reaping the rewards that SD-WAN has to offer.

According to a new study conducted by Cogeco Peer 1, UK businesses are suffering from SD-WOT Syndrome – an illness preventing them from fulfilling their potential. The main symptoms of this illness include a lack of understanding around SD-WAN technology (72%), perceived security issues (43%) and a fear that SD-WAN will disrupt business (34%).

The study, which canvassed the opinions of 300 UK IT decision-makers across the education, financial services and retail industries, revealed the business benefits of those who have implemented the technology. The cost benefits of deploying SD-WAN was highlighted as a key business benefit that most IT decision-makers referred to in the study, with an overwhelming majority (88%) acknowledging cost and efficiency savings from SD-WAN as a key business differentiator in the next 12 months. A further 39% of respondents revealed OPEX savings of between 10-15% since deploying the technology.

The research additionally revealed the main network priorities for UK organizations within the next 12 months. This includes improving network security (60%), improving cloud performance (47%), and improving connectivity between different locations (43%). All of these priorities identified by IT decision-makers are concerns that SD-WAN addresses.

Businesses require network technologies that are agile and secure. With the study revealing SD-WAN to be extremely important to the digital transformation process; over eight in ten (84%) IT decision-makers stating that they see the technology as crucial to enabling their organization’s digital transformation.

It is clear that many companies understand the benefits of deploying SD-WAN and the important role it plays in a digital transformation strategy. However, it seems there is a lack of knowledge amongst IT decision-makers around implementation, meaning thousands of organizations aren’t realizing the full benefits and powering their business potential.

The study further highlighted that small businesses are most vulnerable to SD-WOT Syndrome, with over three quarters (76%) of respondents from businesses with under 100 employees not understanding the technology. Lack of skills was also an issue identified by small businesses, with almost half (48%) pinpointing this as the main barrier to SD-WAN deployment.

This lack of understanding is leading many businesses to consider outsourcing SD-WAN deployment to a managed service provider, with over eight in ten (82%) looking to do so. The main benefits of outsourcing deployment identified by business leaders include speed of deployment (49%), expertise (49%), and cost-savings (43%).

As businesses shift into the age of digital transformation, it is crucial organizations seek the right channel partner to educate them on the clear benefits that SD-WAN technology can bring to their business. This lack of understanding also means it is important that organizations choose SD-WAN packages that come with a high level of support and consultancy to ensure businesses can get the best technology to drive business growth and power business potential.

For more information regarding this study, read our eBook ‘SD-WOT Syndrome | SD-WAN: State of the Nation‘.


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