Why Not Test Drive a Managed SD-WAN Solution? September 10, 2020 SD-WAN , Networking false Now you can pilot an SD-WAN network tailored for your operations—and it’s risk-free! Enterprises with multiple locations—like retailers, restaurants, financial services, retail petroleum and convenience stores—often struggle when it comes to their networks. Some challenges include: Integrating new tools, apps, and cloud-based services with legacy network technologies Having sites located in different areas with access to vastly different telecommunications infrastructure and broadband capabilities Lacking resources to research, plan and implement enterprise-wide network solutions Missing expertise to lead complex and comprehensive network upgrades Any of that sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Even enterprises with fairly large IT teams face these hurdles. But perhaps the greatest challenge for distributed enterprises of all shapes and sizes is the degree of uncertainty associated with all aspects of the upgrade process. WANsform Your Enterprise Before you can transform customer experience, you must WANsform your enterprise. Learn how Hughes Managed SD-WAN is enabling digital transformation and achieving real results. MPLS vs. SD-WAN Why SD-WAN? WiFi Analytics: Insight Every Step of the Way Digital Signage Solutions: Engagement Starts Here SD-WAN Appliance: 4860 is SD-WAN transformation in a box That uncertainty, the worry over not getting the right solution or being stuck with a costly solution that doesn’t deliver on promises, causes many enterprises to sit on the sidelines without moving forward with network plans until they’re absolutely forced to do so. And that makes sense when you consider we’ve been conditioned to want low risk when contemplating big purchases. After all, would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive? Not likely. Even ice cream stores offer taste samples so customers can be confident in their choice of flavor! The Industry’s Best Kept Secret But sitting on the sidelines isn’t necessary (nor is it prudent). Hughes has a dedicated team of Solution Architects and Engineers to design, deliver, and implement Managed SD-WAN proof-of-concept pilot programs that are tailor-made for prospective customers—fully demonstrating a network’s capabilities and allowing the customer to try it at their sites, and validate the results, before they ever buy an SD-WAN platform. These small-scale Managed SD-WAN pilot deployments, which typically involve 3 to 5 customer sites, show how a solution will work in their actual environment. Since the proof of concept is customized to meet the customer’s real-world challenges, it is then easier and faster to scale up across the entire enterprise once the pilot ends. Key findings from the pilot can also be integrated into final plans, adapting and improving the solution based on the pilot results. Most important, as is the case with any test drive, the customer is under no obligation to proceed and there are no costs associated with the pilot. It is truly a free sampling of the solution—one that the customer can experience for 60 to 90 days. How to Take Your Own SD-WAN Test Drive The Hughes small-scale pilot approach follows the exact same process as our larger Managed SD-WAN engagements. In this way, customers get to experience the full benefits of managed services. Following are the high-level steps involved: Conduct discovery session—The process begins with an initial discussion where the dedicated Hughes team learns about specific customer pain points and goals. We also assign Project Management resources to establish regular meetings and touchpoints, set project schedules and deadlines, and track progress. Define the project test plan—With an understanding of wants, needs, and resources, the Hughes team defines test criteria and determines what success looks like. This includes identifying pilot sites. Design the solution—Our Solution Architects, Engineers and networking product experts collaborate to design a comprehensive managed service solution. Because SD-WAN solutions often come with peripheral solutions, like wireless access points and VoIP phones, it can be a complex process to deploy a range of networking products that span LAN to WAN. This is where our multi-domain expertise is critical for integrating the different technologies. Deploy the solution—This step covers all aspects of installation, addressing the edge, circuits, security profiles, networking policies, backhaul connections to data centers, field support services, and production. It’s all the elements associated with getting the Managed SD-WAN solution up and running; which typically starts with the first lab site, co-located with personnel who can validate applications (often at HQ), and progresses to the additional production branches. During the design phase, our team recommends which sites are ideal for testing, based on goals, and infrastructure issues such as cabling, circuits, and cell connectivity. But in all instances, we overcome the challenges. Take the wheel—With the pilot in place, the customer can experience the solution firsthand. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to see how Hughes can simplify network complexity, reduce strain on the IT team, validate architectures, and ensure that the solution meets specific needs. And with Hughes there to support the pilot and any future deployment, the IT team is also freed up to address the enterprise’s business needs and consequently become more agile. As a discovery phase, the pilot provides the chance to iterate the solution in the smaller test environment so it can be scaled into production more quickly if desired. Getting to this test drive stage can be done in a relatively short period of time, with the first lab sites going live as soon as 2 weeks after the initial discovery session. So, when you consider the test drive is a no-risk, cost-free option, isn’t it time you considered taking your own Managed SD-WAN solution for a spin? If you would like to learn more about how to set up your own Managed SD-WAN test drive, please fill out this contact form and someone will get back to you in the next business day. About the Authors Nick Coval is a seasoned Enterprise Architect who builds complex enterprise-class network solutions for large organizations with distributed locations. He is a passionate technologist with a progressive vision for developing solutions with the customer and end-user objectives in mind. Follow Nick Coval on LinkedIn and Twitter @NickCoval. 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