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Key Lessons from SD-WAN Migrations

Nov 19, 2021

Is your organization looking to make a digital transformation in the upcoming year? In recent years, we have seen a trend where all traffic is moving to the cloud. According to Gartner, “Enterprises need this because their network traffic is doubling in size, roughly every 2.9 years.” With the onset of this trend, more organizations have chosen to move to faster and more secure WAN, like SD-WAN, for an easier transfer of digital assets.

With this in mind, here are some of the key lessons from SD-WAN migrations that will help your company make a smooth transition.

1. Enterprise Complexities

Technology services can be more complex when navigating SD-WAN migrations within large enterprises. This can bring various challenges to managing inventory, performing audits, and project management. Additionally, it is important to understand what the transition phase will look like as it could take up to a year to migrate all of the sites within a large enterprise.

2. Complexity Coordinating with 3rd Party Vendors

Enterprises typically leverage multiple carriers to ensure that a SD-WAN migration is successful. Because there are several vendors and managed service providers involved in the process, there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Coordinating the quote, order, and fulfillment process is complex. Not only does the organization need to ensure that orders are filled correctly, but they may have to rely on carriers to make sure that orders are properly managed if there are dependencies from other carriers.
  • Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and other third parties need to perform site surveys before recommending changes or additions to telecom inventory (i.e., devices, speed, etc.).
  • Setting up timelines, coordinating orders, and design reviews with vendors can hinder the success of SD-WAN migration if not properly orchestrated.

3. Benchmarking

One of the benefits of moving to SD-WAN is that it allows customers to reduce cost and save money on their services overall.

It is important to determine the costs associated with moving to SD-WAN before orders are placed. When planning, you can use benchmarking to better understand the average costs of the inventory items based on what other customers are paying, relative to company size and region.

Here are some questions to consider when benchmarking:

  • How much will this cost and what are the budgetary impacts to moving to a new network?
  • Are there multiple locations?
  • How will the networks be connected?
  • What’s the value and cost savings?

4. Inventory Audit for Visibility

The inventory audit is crucial for ensuring that you are not being billed for unwanted or unused services that were supposed to be disconnected during the migration. This can become tedious and complicated when thousands of locations and inventory items are involved.

During a migration, enterprises will typically have an old network up and running while they are migrating the sites to the new network. It can be challenging to manage inventory for thousands of locations that are connected to two networks and keep track of the services that need to be disconnected as they migrate to the new network.

Here are some audit types that are important as part of the SD-WAN migration:

  • Late disconnects
  • Double billing
  • Closed location

5. De-Centralized Project Management

The nature of SD-WAN migrations is not usually straightforward. SD-WAN migrations typically occur in a decentralized environment where you are working with several parties including internal organization, managed service providers, outsourcing site surveys at once. Managing and balancing all of these parties can often make for a complicated process.

With all of these moving parts, it’s critical to have a project management system that can perform the following functions:

  • Budget and forecast
  • Allocate time and materials
  • Track project timelines
  • Assign tasks
  • Designate workflows
  • Reduce complexity
Overall, being aware of these challenges and learning from other enterprises who have gone through an SD-WAN migration can help make your transition smoother. To learn more about this topic, tune into our on-demand webinar Transforming Your Network with SD-WAN: An Expense Management Perspective for a deep dive with our expert panelists into the various factors that are driving the shift to SD-WAN.

Written by Pete Jaworski

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