The (Network) Times They Are a Changin’

Change is difficult, frightening, and often fraught with risk. Regardless, no matter what our job titles are, our employers need us to embrace the role of change agent. Nowhere is this more true than with SDN, which is a major change facing our industry. Broadly speaking, organizations fall into one of three “change” camps regarding SDN:

  1. The Ostriches – This group says there isn’t enough time (or money, or attention, etc.) to consider SDN. Ostrich organizations have their heads buried deep in the sand and are too busy tackling the challenges of today to consider the opportunities of tomorrow.
  1. The Seemores – This group is waiting. Waiting to see more from standards bodies as they complete their deliberations and make technical pronouncements.  Waiting to see more of which vendor will take a leadership position (hint here) so their selection moves from risky to safe. This group is the analysis paralysis group – they may wait forever.
  1. The Innovators – This group knows change is coming and chooses to take advantage of it. Innovators accept the inevitability of change. In fact, they seek change and are committed to thriving (not merely surviving) in a changed world. They transform in order to outperform.

Perhaps your company falls into one of the first two camps.  If so, consider the viewpoint that change isn’t even required.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” -W. Edwards Deming

Innovators, however, will thrive in the race for survival. They realize that SDN cannot be a wholesale change at first, but must coexist with their legacy networks for awhile. Nonetheless, they are taking the steps necessary to move to the next level. Consider what industry analyst Dana Cooperson with Analysys Mason wrote recently in an article for VanillaPlus.com:

“Smart CSPs are harnessing SDN to support new enterprise services now while planning a longer term, more complete WAN redesign in conjunction with their wider cloudification efforts.”

Like us, Cooperson recognizes that SDN in the WAN is more complex than in the data center. She correctly asserts that WAN SDN deployments “started in earnest” in 2016 and will increase in 2017. In fact, Analysys Mason estimates that $221 million of the $579 million spent on WAN SDN in 2016 was for “network management and control software and related professional services.” By 2020, she estimates that number will reach $902 million.

WAN management and control is exactly where Packet Design plays. To help our customers, Packet Design’s WAN SDN capabilities offer network engineers, operators, and managers unique opportunities to transform their company. Innovators can:

  • Create profitable new revenue streams by delivering on-demand services
  • Defer millions in capital expenditures by using existing resources more efficiently
  • Reduce churn by delivering higher quality services

It isn’t that Ostriches and Seemores lack value. The problem is that the value they provide has a diminishing shelf-life. Companies that fail to keep up with the pace of change lose their ability to survive.  To thrive in a competitive industry like ours, innovate!