Businesses are looking to modernize their IT networks, lower the cost of connectivity and increase the reliability of their cloud application performance. To do all of this, many companies turn to software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solutions, but many don’t realize they can use technology expense management solutions to help control network connectivity costs (and providers) related to SD-WAN. These solutions help businesses of all sizes by offering an efficient and cost-effective way to manage network resources, keeping users connected to the information they need.
The reasons for SD-WAN growth are clear: It helps businesses improve network performance management while reducing costs. According to customer analysis by Virgin Media Business, companies that switched to SD-WAN experienced an 80% increase in bandwidth efficiency and 98% faster failover time. These companies also improved network throughput and reduced the need for network hardware, among other benefits.
One of the biggest challenges businesses face when switching to SD-WAN is the increasing complexity of managing a more diverse list of network connections and service providers. Contracts and invoices can grow exponentially as companies rely on multiple internet service providers (ISPs) and cloud service providers across locations. Additional network security requirements are another consequence of switching to SD-WAN.
Businesses need visibility into services and spending across all providers to ensure accurate billing and identify areas where services can be optimized. The most effective way to achieve these goals is by leveraging technology expense management solutions with your SD-WAN implementation.
These solutions provide a holistic view of an organization’s network and application costs, allowing them to simplify the management of their providers, contracts, and assets. They can also help companies optimize their network connections for better performance, including WAN optimization techniques that can reduce latency and improve application response times.
Learn more about what SD-WAN is, why it matters and how technology expense management with Tangoe One can unlock the biggest return on your SD-WAN investment.
What are the Challenges of Managing SD-WAN Solutions?
While the best SD-WAN solutions provide a range of benefits, determining if SD-WAN is right for your business requires careful consideration of the potential challenges. Businesses implementing SD-WAN need to address these challenges without sacrificing the advantages of digital transformation.
Here are some of the key challenges businesses face when managing SD-WAN solutions.
Management of Many Network Service Providers
As companies diversify their private network connections with public broadband connections, they’re faced with the challenge of managing more network service providers. While broadband offers cost savings, it often means adding more regional ISPs to the network.
This shift can result in moving from a single-carrier solution to tens or even hundreds of ISPs, all of which must be managed. As businesses diversify their network connections and service providers, they encounter many different network functionalities, contracts and invoices.
Billing Errors or Irregularities
Managing a long list of providers means encountering different billing systems and pricing structures. This adds complexity and increases the risk of billing confusion and mistakes. These mistakes can range from simple errors, such as incorrect charges, to more complex problems, such as overbilling or missed credits. Billing irregularities reduce productivity, increase workload and cause financial problems for the business, not to mention aggravate relationships with providers.
Identifying and resolving these issues can be time-consuming and may require significant effort and resources. Without effective technology expense management, these billing irregularities can go unnoticed, leading to higher financial and reputational costs for the business.
Lack of Visibility into Applications and Usage
To establish SD-WAN traffic-steering policies, businesses need to decide which of their applications to prioritize and which applications are more flexible. But with today’s complex networks, it’s not always easy to see what applications are in use — much less which ones are used the most (and least).
Without clear visibility into applications, usage, shadow IT and other critical business aspects, you can’t develop an accurate list of the most critical business applications.
This lack of visibility into applications and usage can also lead to inefficient use of network resources. If businesses can’t identify which applications are consuming the most bandwidth, they can’t allocate the proper level of resources to ensure optimal performance.
The downstream effects of poor visibility include slow application response times, decreased productivity and dissatisfied users. Without clear visibility into shadow IT and other unsanctioned applications, businesses increase their risk surface without knowing the details or extent of those risks.
Security and Compliance Complexity
Traditional WAN architectures are typically managed through a centralized point of control, while SD-WAN architecture can span multiple networks and cloud environments. This complexity increases the difficulty of monitoring and enforcing security policies.
SD-WAN also introduces new attack vectors, such as software-defined networking protocols, which can be targeted by malicious actors. Using next-generation firewalls can help mitigate these risks and provide additional security measures for SD-WAN applications.
However, because of the dynamic nature of SD-WAN, network topologies and security capabilities are constantly changing. Features and policies need to be regularly updated to ensure continued compliance.
How Does Technology Expense Management Help With SD-WAN Digital Transformation?
Tangoe One, our technology expense management solution provides a comprehensive solution to manage IT expenses and assets. By leveraging Tangoe One’s telecom expense management (TEM), managed mobility services (MMS) and cloud expense management (CEM) capabilities, companies can lower their IT costs, make more efficient use of their technology investments and more efficiently handle invoices and financial responsibilities. Here are some of the ways technology expense management helps with SD-WAN management.
Efficiently Manage More Network Service Providers
As an end-to-end IT expense and lifecycle management platform, Tangoe One acts as a central repository cataloging all network connections, hardware devices and telecom services. This includes providers, model numbers, contracts and their associated invoices and expenses.
When using Tangoe One, businesses can quickly access and evaluate relevant information for SD-WAN implementation and ongoing service management — including SD-WAN hardware manufacturers, 5G wireless providers and private MPLS services
Tangoe One also provides businesses with a single portal to track telecom services orders. A centralized approach ensures that voice, data and communications services (and any change orders) are monitored and optimized to minimize costs.
Reduce Costs Across the Network and Telecom Carriers
With Tangoe One, businesses have a comprehensive platform to simplify, manage and optimize SD-WAN connectivity expenses — whether it’s lowering the cost of existing MPLS services or switching to new 5G wireless internet service providers to cut costs.
Technology expense management enables businesses to manage SD-WAN connectivity costs effectively. It offers the ability to compare internet service prices against industry benchmarks and reconcile invoices against actual service usage to identify billing errors and anomalies. Technology expense management solutions collect, validate and process invoices for payment. They also allocate or charge back network costs to specific departments, and they track service contracts and renewal lifecycles.
By providing cost savings insights across the ecosystem of telecom services, Tangoe One lowers IT spending and simplifies the management of network service providers. Businesses optimize the cost of their SD-WAN investment, avoid overspending and maximize their return on investment.
The cost savings reach beyond telecom services. Tangoe One cloud expense management capabilities also help companies gain visibility into software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) applications. As a result, companies can control costs and pinpoint instances where cloud resources can be used more efficiently.
For instance, many companies can use Tangoe One to reduce redundant cloud applications, reallocate unused app licenses and optimize IaaS services where instances are underutilized. Check out our guide on cloud expense management for more information on cloud optimization.
Improved Visibility into Applications and Usage
Technology expense management helps companies monitor cloud application usage and costs. identifying opportunities to optimize IT budgets and streamline resources. These opportunities include the ability to track and report on application costs, which improves decision-making related to IT spending.
Companies can create a blueprint for SD-WAN solution design, starting with a list of prioritized applications. Technology expense management solutions offer discovery capabilities, including detailed information about application users, which help companies catalog all applications in their network environment. This software is also great for handling shadow IT management and security enhancements.
Because SD-WAN spans multiple networks and cloud environments, managing security policies quickly becomes complex.
Technology expense management solutions provide security features that help organizations protect networks and applications, including in SD-WAN environments. These solutions can identify anomalies in spending patterns, which can help to detect malicious activity or misconfigured security settings. The analytics and reporting provided by technology expense management solutions can help organizations better understand their network traffic, security posture and potential risks.
What Makes Tangoe’s Technology Expense Management Solutions Different?
Tangoe is a leading provider in the technology expense management industry, offering more than 20 years of experience, 65 patents, AI-powered innovation and a database of $34 billion in technology spending intelligence. Learn more about the Tangoe Difference.
Our technology expense management solutions help businesses manage SD-WAN by providing a comprehensive, real-time view of their technologies, costs, and usage data. We simplify the management of providers, contracts and assets to help businesses optimize their expenses and drive more efficient use of IT resources while also streamlining financial management for IT services including cloud, telecom, and mobile technologies.
What sets us apart from our competitors is our unparalleled access to industry intelligence and AI-powered capabilities. We have more IT spending insights than our competitors, which means we provide a broader range of insights into technology spending and target more sources of savings as you modernize your network with SD-WAN. Plus, our AI-powered platform has the advanced analytics and hyper-automation you need to optimize costs and financial management operations.
Ready to learn how technology expense management maximizes the value of your SD-WAN solution? Contact us to discover the Tangoe difference.
What are SD-WAN Solutions?
SD-WAN is a technology that enables multiple types of connections, such as broadband, 5G wireless and multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), to connect offices, data centers and remote users. SD-WAN lets companies use all of their network connections simultaneously while managing them from a centralized console, which reduces the risk of latency and simplifies network administration.
One of the main benefits of SD-WAN is increased network performance and reliability. By using multiple, redundant connections with fast failover rates, SD-WAN reduces latency, providing more application uptime. If a connection fails, SD-WAN can automatically route traffic over another connection and keep the network up and running. With application-based routing, SD-WAN can automatically prioritize resources for the most important applications. Such routing ensures that business-critical systems and tools are always available.
SD-WAN solutions offer significant cost-savings opportunities for businesses. Traditional WANs rely on expensive and inflexible connections, which makes it difficult for companies to scale their networks. SD-WAN allows businesses to use less-expensive broadband connections alongside MPLS, reducing costs without compromising performance levels.
When companies invest in SD-WAN, they create better application user experiences without as many service disruptions. This is especially beneficial for companies that rely on high-performance connectivity for real-time applications, such as videoconferencing or VoIP.