Advantage Jul 24, 2020 12:00:00 AM 7 min read

Managed WAN Solutions: Thinking Along the Technology Spectrum

The way enterprises do business today has changed in the last 20 years, 10 years, 5 years, 5 months…. The way that enterprises now connect and communicate among themselves, customers, and partners has changed just as much. And we are probably witnessing the biggest catalyst for business change of all time right now: COVID-19. The tidal waves of technological change were washing over before COVID-19; and they will continue to sweep over enterprises and organizations ways of thinking for many more years to come—in network connectivity & infrastructure technology and architecture.  Modernization, flexibility & agility of scaling services, integration, interface, security, high-capacity, ultra-low-latency, and cost savings are all major themes in modern networking and communications. And the importance of continually analyzing along the entire spectrum of available technologies to produce the optimal mix of what’s available to your enterprise today will as well be increasingly important.

Traditionally, network and IT teams, and even executive CTOs and CIOs, were not considered highly, remarking jokingly that CIO stands for “Career Is Over.” Most certainly they were not areas that could give a business a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In fact, most executives likely saw these departments more along the lines of maintenance workers where the lights need to be on, and you only talk with them when something goes wrong. Wide area networks (WAN) were complete blind spots and not a way to get an edge: a utility, a cost of doing business.

In all fairness, this most definitely correlates to the nature of WAN technologies over the last couple of decades. WANs, typically made of datalink (layer 2) MPLS or other private line networks, were traditionally considered clunky, not agile, inflexible, long-term leased, data-center focused, and expensive both in terms of service and the operations teams required to source and manage them.  However, these networks did the job of securely transmitting data and voice across your private and reliable network. As globalization carried more and more enterprises into newer frontiers, operating sometimes in tens and hundreds of countries with thousands of employees, Tier 1 ISPs with the ambition and resources grew their global MPLS networks to service more clients and more of their existing clients’ needs globally.

These providers did this through direct investments and partnerships, ever connecting the world through endless cables, fiber, data centers, and network interconnects in the effort to provide service closer to their enterprise clients around the world. Because of these massive financial requirements, there were only a handful of companies that could service global footprints. And if you selected one of these Tier 1 ISPs, your enterprise paid a premium for the ‘pleasure’ of working with them. But as these Tier 1 ISPs expanded their networks, their service, support, and bureaucracy became as clunky as the MPLS technology itself. Add to that the development of the more reliable and secure internet connectivity, cloud/multi-cloud environments, SD-WAN, decentralized architecture, and work forces, etc., we see that services like MPLS don’t nearly take up the proportions of networks as it once did. The upward trend of MPLS revenues and usage is plateauing, like a rocket that’s lost its thrust.

Now to the point of the post: technology advisors and the spectrum of technologies available. With the waves of new technologies washing over us, the changing ways of how enterprises do business, the speed, the shift from physical to digital from product to service, the enterprise WAN industry will never be the same because the possibilities have exponentially multiplied, hence the spectrum of components to consider.

Because of this new dynamic, it’s more important than ever to work alongside a true value-added partner, an extension of your IT and infrastructure team (and your executive team) that’s not worried about cannibalizing a particular technology or revenue stream.  A partner that can analyze across a spectrum of different access technologies, align this from your current business state to your future business state, deliver & manage for the lifetime of the relationship, and do so at global scale. That’s exactly what Advantage Communications Group, and Advantage Europe, does. We bring a full-slate of resources, including experts in cloud, SD-WAN, global connectivity, and security. And we bring the full force of resources required per project. We maintain close relationships with 200+ technology partners around the world so that we can stitch together the best solution per your business case. And we manage all global services in a proprietary software platform called Command Center.  All so you—the enterprise—can manage your network estate from anywhere in the world. Your network is no longer a blind spot.

And best of all, all these value-added services and tools provided by Advantage cost nothing. That’s right: nothing! We’re strictly paid by our portfolio of technology partners so that you get every bit of our design, market insight, delivery, and management expertise for free. In our next blog post we’ll outline Advantage’s unique process, and the ‘advantages’ that it delivers to our partners and customers.

So no matter where your transformation’s starting point, we can get you to your future state with the perfect mix of components to not only unlock competitive advantages in your network and to reduce costs, but to also enable your business growth through modern technologies that combine to make your enterprise and team more agile, flexible, and resilient. Advantage remains agnostic to any technology or provider and only loyal to your optimal network.

Call us to start your network transformation journey today!