The four barriers between your business and global connectivity – and how to break them down

Throughout 2018, many global enterprises turned to networking technologies such as software defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) to cost-effectively meet burgeoning bandwidth demands without having to sacrifice simplified WAN management and better application performance.

This trend will continue into 2019 as enterprises with a global presence embrace networking technologies such as SD-WAN as a key tool to leverage the benefits of the cloud and unleash their business’s potential.

As I celebrate my first year as part of the Aryaka team, during which our organisation has welcomed new customers in several sectors throughout EMEA, here are my four top tips to European business on breaking down barriers in global connectivity and making the digital transformation of their networks a smooth one throughout 2019.

Navigate the connectivity consolidation of 2019

Acquisitions of SD-WAN vendors spiked over the last 12 months, marked by the purchase of Viptela and Velocloud by Cisco and VMware respectively.

Now that Oracle has purchased Talari, further market consolidation in 2019 will be anything but a surprise. It will take some digging to differentiate between new players, and the more established service providers, but enterprises will soon realise they need more than what a general SD-WAN box provider offers, and so it will be vital to be able to know the difference.

Though telco providers are more open than ever to offering SD-WAN services in addition to their portfolio, the solutions tend to look very much the same. Providers will need to demonstrate longevity and truly act as a business support function.

Specialist vendors providing a network designed for cloud management and bandwidth scaling will become prized as quality connectivity becomes essential for collaboration over continents.

Vendors with an edge-based solution will fall behind as enterprises become increasingly savvy as to what a quality SD-WAN service should provide.

Our advice? Be sure to understand the difference between network provision and usable bandwidth; not all SD-WAN solutions are equal.

Breaking through digital deadlock

IDC predicts that by 2022, 80 percent of all revenue growth will depend on the move to digital operations. This means global businesses must escape the ‘digital deadlock’ we now see trapping the enterprise between legacy network systems and new connectivity methods. As they struggle to smoothly make the leap, it’s up to providers of new solutions to support these businesses in engineering digital network infrastructure and reconfigure applications.

We especially see this in retail as the sector deals with the rise of online purchasing and an equivalent increase in network traffic.

The best thing businesses can do to address this digital deadlock is to ensure from the start that any new network is capable of scaling on demand and can work in harmony with existing systems during any period of transition.

Say goodbye to MPLS

Speaking of transition, this is something that has been on the telecoms cards for a while now. Despite serving us well for many years, MultiProtocol Label Switching (MPLS) will finally bid us farewell as a viable business communications solution in 2019. By the end of the year, all forward-thinking businesses will have taken up a network as a service (NaaS) to facilitate growth and have moved into a period of transition with technologies such as SD-WAN.

MPLS providers that recognise the situation will integrate with SD-WAN technologies through partnerships or acquisitions, taking advantage of the fact that many organisations will rely on a transitional period of the two services coexisting rather than an overnight re-haul.

One sign we’re seeing of this is the strategic investment by telecoms companies into SD-WAN, despite SD-WAN services cutting into their MPLS revenue. During a merger for instance, SD-WAN becomes a business enabler, supporting immediate scale and expansion. No wonder merging enterprises increasingly shun the three to six month wait for MPLS lines to be commissioned.

Our advice to support mergers, acquisitions and expansion in 2019:  move from an MPLS service to a scalable solution as soon as you can and ask your new service provider for realistic advice on how they will support you through a smooth switchover.

Harness the power of SD-WAN to enable your other solutions

IDC found in June only 35 percent of its European customers currently use SD-WAN technology; 20 percent will adopt the service in the next two years.

We will see many more AI and big data relationships with SD-WAN as customers realise the value the technologies can bring to each other. The relationship between the two is a true marriage; big data is useless if it cannot be analysed whilst AI is somewhat futile if it has nothing to assess. This year we saw security vendors making their way into the space, purchasing SD-WAN as they seek to secure and analyse the data that they collect on the cloud.

The cloud in 2019 will continue to be as important as ever. Aryaka this year celebrates a decade of building private networks that support businesses all over the world to scale and grow. In 2019, the cloud will be the answer to any vendor looking to do the same.

Read more: SD-WAN infrastructure market to hit $4.5bn by 2022, says IDC in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.