Although top of mind, the reality is that SD-WAN has only 2% penetration of the worldwide total addressable market for enterprises. That is now, but as more organizations look to reduce costs, improve QoE and gain greater flexibility in how they manage network applications, that number will expand rapidly. ACG expects nearly a third of enterprises worldwide to adopt SD-WAN by 2023.
Why are enterprises embracing SD-WAN? Because it addresses several critical business needs that conventional MPLS circuits cannot:
- Digital agility
- More visibility and control
- Better application and service performance
Service providers have played a supporting role in the SD-WAN story to this point, but now they are stepping into the spotlight. As more enterprises look to lower costs and gain more control over their networks, they are recognizing that SD-WAN is much more complicated than some early vendors claimed. They are looking for a partner that can make SD-WAN as easy to deploy and use as any other managed service.
Service providers that can meet this need have a huge opportunity to dominate this market. Before they can, however, they must do two things. First, they need to recognize SD-WAN for what it is. SD-WAN is not just another virtualized network function; it is a platform for innovation. Second and most critically, service providers must get into the SD-WAN game now. The longer they wait, the more they will face stiff competition.
Service providers building an SD-WAN business stand to capitalize on this growth, both from SD-WAN itself and the other virtualized services and business opportunities that typically accompany it. For example, operators delivering SD-WAN as a managed service can also offer customers:
- Virtualized value-added services
- Network analytics and visibility
- Differentiated customer relationships
By investing in growing their SD-WAN business, operators can benefit from automation, dynamic deployment, service velocity, increased visibility, off-the-shelf equipment or vendor grey-box. But to reap those benefits profitably, service providers need to act NOW.
Click to listen to Ray Mota discuss SD-WAN.