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A Compelling Justification for Your Business-Driven SD-WAN Investment at Your Fingertips

By Derek Granath, Senior Director, Product and Technical Marketing
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This blog explores how enterprise IT leaders can effectively measure the return on SD-WAN investments.

Growth in SD-WAN market has resumed after a brief pause in 2020 due to pandemic-related challenges, according to a 2021 Futuriom report. But current trends like remote work and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are driving interest in SD-WAN platforms.

As the need for agile, high-performance, and secure connections to the cloud continues to grow, CIOs are asking how and why they will use SD-WAN and how they can justify making SD-WAN investments.

SD-WAN is winning over CIOs for four main reasons:

  • Increasing network and application performance and availability
  • Increasing WAN bandwidth while keeping WAN transport costs under control
  • Bringing new sites and applications online more quickly
  • Strengthening security and reducing the attack surface at branch locations as applications continue to migrate to the cloud

However, are these reasons compelling enough for every CIO to bet on SD-WAN? At the end of the day, every enterprise is to some degree unique – no two organizations have identical requirements when it comes to investing in the technologies that drive and enable digital transformation.

So, what should IT leaders consider and evaluate when making the business case for a business-driven SD-WAN? Any basic evaluation should answer three basic questions:

  • Why invest in SD-WAN?
  • Why partner with SD-WAN vendor X?
  • Why now?

The business case should consider the organization’s current network infrastructure, operational model and digital business strategy. This is where a personalized SD-WAN value assessment can provide timely and tangible insight to the organization.

Understanding the Business Value and Financial Impact of SD-WAN

The Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform delivers the transformational promise of the cloud with a business-first networking model. Silver Peak, acquired by Aruba in 2020, has helped enterprise customers build secure, self-driving wide area networks (SD-WANs) for more than 15 years,  providing organizations of all sizes and industries with great value.

But how is that value measured, and how are customers assured of realizing a real return on their investments?

The answer is with a Customer Value Assessment, a consultancy service that Aruba offers to help enterprise IT organizations build a business case for SD-WAN and measure the return on their investment, incorporating a detailed evaluation of an organization’s strategic and operational rationale for investing in a business-driven WAN architecture. The assessment includes a full analysis of operational and financial benefits, including return on investment (ROI) calculated by year. This analysis enables decision influencers and decision makers to determine – based on hard numbers – where and when an investment in SD-WAN makes sound business sense.

Customer Value Assessment – A Real-world Example

A Customer Value Assessment produced by Aruba for a leading distributor in the food industry showed the dramatic impact of SD-WAN on this company’s busi­ness. By deploying the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform, the Customer Value Assessment projected financial ben­efits of $1.15 million per year, plus another $109,000 in one-time benefits.

The Aruba Customer Value Assessment broke down the company’s business issues into six key areas and mapped them to SD-WAN enablers that would address the issues in each area. Table 1 summarizes this analysis.

Table 1 – Business issues and SD-WAN enablers

Table 1 – Business issues and SD-WAN enablers

In addition to detailing the operational benefits achievable with Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN, the Customer Value Assessment also predicted dramatic financial benefits for this food industry company. These numbers come from extensive research, using actual circuit costs from the customer, known costs from industry vendors, and information from the Aruba knowledgebase.

Table 2 below provides an overview of the key value drivers for realizing the projected financial savings, including conservative and target estimates for potential improvement and value.

Table 2 — Business value drivers and projected benefits of SD-WAN

Table 2 — Business value drivers and projected benefits of SD-WAN

Ultimately, the Customer Value Assessment proved to this customer how the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform enabled the business to shift to a business-first networking model, freeing the company from the constraints of a router-centric approach, ultimately turning the WAN into a business enabler.

Time to Justify your SD-WAN Investment

Selecting the right technologies to drive your digital business transformation can be a daunting task. Taking into consideration the undeniable benefits that a business-driven SD-WAN provides, the chances are high that your organization will more than likely consider making an investment in SD-WAN technology.

So, if you are thinking about how to rearchitect your WAN to better align to your digital transformation and cloud initiatives, let Aruba perform a Customer Value Assessment to make SD-WAN a sound strategic investment for your business. Finally, there’s a compelling business justification to reinvent your network at your fingertips.

This blog was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2021. Silver Peak was acquired by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.