How to Make the Business Case for SD-WAN


How fast has the adoption rate of SD-WANs been? In 2017, it made up less than 5% of the market, but by the end of this year, it is expected to make up more than 25%, while the SD-WAN market growth is predicted to reach an incredible $4.5 billion by 2022.

Those numbers aside, as an IT or networking department head, you have to make the business case for this migration. You will likely have to put together slide decks for stakeholders who don’t keep up with the latest technology in data center connectivity quite like you do.

With that in mind, here are a few key benefits to point to when presenting the business case and the potential return on investment (ROI) of SD-WAN.

The More Locations, The More Savings

Bigger networks with a need for wider distribution will see the most cost savings. A recent report estimated that:

  • The overall cost of a 250-branch conventional WAN for 3 years is approximately $1,285,000
  • The cost of an SD-WAN deployment for 3 years was considerably less at approximately $452,500
  • Overall, an SD-WAN may cost as much as 2.5 times less than conventional WAN architecture

The bulk of the savings comes from minimizing or eliminating expensive routing hardware by utilizing the cloud for services and connectivity and those savings will obviously grow with every additional branch involved.

At the same time, SD-WAN uses Internet links that are considerably less costly than the MPLS links used by conventional WANs, without being locked into a high-priced contract.

The only trade-off here is that much of your cost-savings comes from managing most of your SD-WAN infrastructure in-house with an internal team. This means, you need to factor in the learning curve and time it takes your team to become experts on the design, implementation, and maintenance of your SD-WAN.

Higher Performance

Is your company currently using Salesforce? SD-WAN’s software basis of the technology actually lends itself incredibly well to coexisting with cloud-based tools and any Software as a Service (Saas), like Salesforce.

SD-WAN makes high-bandwidth, consistent connections that eliminating backhauled traffic traditionally associated with MPLS connections. Or they can be combined with MPLS to create an even stronger network.

More Access for a Rural or Remote Workforce

You will also notice better performance and efficiency at the branch office level. You will especially see an improvement for branches that are located in rural or remote areas that more than likely lack on-site dedicated high-bandwidth IT infrastructure.

However, keep in mind that you may have to sacrifice some security for mobile access. SD-WANs generally don’t have a dedicated client for mobile device-based teleworkers to securely connect to.

If this is a priority for your company, you might consider creating a non-cloud based perimeter. However, this would fragment your network, while hurting your overall efficiency.

We hope this has simplified the process of presenting the business case of a SD-WAN to your company’s stakeholders and team.

As you know, C-level decisions are typically number driven. These decision-makers are less impressed by hypothetical efficiency and security numbers, and more moved by tangible figures on what can be saved.