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SD-WAN Workshop & Implementation

SD-WAN Workshop & Implementation

Teneo supports multinational consumer goods organization’s journey to SD-WAN.

At a glance

Teneo was selected to deliver an SD-WAN Workshop, and SD-WAN Implementation services.
SD-WAN deployment has achieved network modernization, and infrastructure standardization and simplification.
WAN costs were reduced by £2.5m in the first year.
SAP performance has improved, supporting productivity increase in factories during Covid-19.
Visibility has improved across the network, enabling faster issue identification.

About the company

This multinational consumer goods organization has a focus on cutting-edge science, research and development, and a strong sense of social responsibility. With over 40,000 employees, the company operates from over 200 sites across the globe.

The organization’s first experience of working with Teneo was in support of their WAN Optimization deployment in 2006. At the time, the IT team lacked internal expertise and leaned on Teneo to show them the possibilities of a WAN Optimization architecture.

Previous way of operating & business limitations

Today, the IT organization is separated into different business units and a group IT function. The group IT function has responsibility for all 226 sites globally. Infrastructure is primarily managed by the in-house IT team.

In 2018, as the group IT team approached a network modernization initiative, they realized that they were suffering from a problem that many businesses share – they aren’t a technology company. Despite the group IT team’s involvement across the wider business, the organization is effectively a marketing and production company.

The true technology focus of their business is, in fact, where their innovation takes place, in Research and Development (R&D). Therefore, they were seeking an R&D arm of the organization’s group IT team to help them move forward. To gain knowledge about new technology, the group IT team typically finds out about advancements in innovation through their strategic partners.

In Teneo’s case, they appreciate that Teneo has real-world knowledge and experience of new technology before introducing it. So instead of taking a chance on something unproven, they rely on the extra affirmation from partners such as Teneo, who have seen first-hand how new technology works, and can bring examples of performance improvements to the table.

While considering SD-WAN as their future architectural approach, Teneo led the group IT team through an SD-WAN Workshop, so they could understand what SD-WAN is, how it works and what pitfalls should be avoided.

As a result of this workshop, it was determined that Silver Peak’s Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform could be a potential fit for the global environment.

A group IT team representative explained, “Teneo demonstrated a deep understanding of SD-WAN and how to implement a deployment in a similar environment, company size and geographies.”

For this reason, Teneo was invited to tender for the organization’s SD-WAN implementation project to provide services once a request for proposal (RFP) was released.

Given the work we’d previously done together, there was confidence that the partnership would be a success.

A better way forward with Teneo

When it came to implementing SD-WAN, the organization already had a full team of people who were very highly skilled in Cisco-based networking.

However, they were more operationally focused, concentrating on improvements, replacements, and upgrades of technology the organization already had in place, utilizing a ‘like for like’ approach.

What the team particularly lacked was subject matter expertise and innovation. They wanted a specialist partnership that would give them a next level of understanding of SD-WAN implementation with additional proactive recommendations. This is where Teneo came in.

A group IT team representative commented, “Teneo has expertise above and beyond what our team normally has in-house.”

down quote up quote Teneo demonstrated a deep understanding of SD-WAN and how to implement a deployment in a similar environment, company size and geographies.
Group IT Team Representative
Multinational Consumer Goods Organization

An improved strategy

One objective of modernizing the network was to standardize and simplify the IT infrastructure. The team had been running multiple, separate services that were previously manually maintained across each site. One of the biggest benefits of SD-WAN since deployment has been the ability to manage these directly from the Silver Peak Unity Orchestrator and apply common policies across the whole estate.

For internet breakouts, the group IT team had been running small Cisco ASA firewalls on each site, however beforehand, they’d had to make small changes on each of those individual appliances. They’d often experience manual errors, which had to be corrected, 226 times over. Management software was available but would have been more costly than to perform the corrective action.

Now the group IT team can do everything through the Silver Peak Unity Orchestrator and focus on making improvements to business IT.

The team deployed High-Availability (HA) pairs at their critical factory sites to help manage risk and, thanks to the Silver Peak Unity Orchestrator, they now get email alerts with automatic ticket creations in the event that an RMA (Return Material Authorization) is required.

“The last time such a game changer as SD-WAN came along was with VMware and virtualization – where the solution works better and is cheaper to implement and run – but you just don’t believe it’ll be possible. In many cases, SD-WAN is a silver bullet,” said the group IT team representative.

Business outcomes

Not only has SD-WAN implementation helped to simplify the organization’s infrastructure, but it’s also helped them to realize massive cost savings and dramatic improvements to the networking function itself.

The team can now see more data than ever before and fully understand what happens on the network. Because of this, they can identify issues much faster.

The group IT team has also experienced a sizeable reduction in WAN costs. They saw a £2.5m reduction in their first year, which has had a positive impact on their WAN budget, and they look forward to realizing the recurring savings from the architectural changes in subsequent years.

On discussing the business’s reaction to the benefits seen, it was commented that IT is often a thankless task. IT teams will regularly deploy technology that works, but nobody mentions it.

In this case however, a marked improvement has been noticed by users. At the company’s factory sites, the relevant groups of Team Leaders, Site Directors, Engineering Teams, and Planning Managers were made aware of the SD-WAN project due to the change windows that needed to be organized.

In the UK during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, when factory production levels were at their highest, running 24×7 for 8-9 months, multiple factories reported back that their SAP performance levels were far greater than before. They had a similar case with their iSeries application.

The productivity gains therefore would translate into even greater financial value to the organization.

Service value

The group IT team has built a relationship and genuine partnership with the Teneo team over time. They’ve found Teneo to be responsive – they are affiliated over Microsoft Teams – and ready to offer advice whenever needed.

“Teneo’s willingness to help and attitude towards us as the customer is a pleasure to see,” said the group IT representative.

“The informal conversations have also been valuable, especially when it came to SD-WAN, and this was fully backed up by the fact that the technology works.”

In concluding, the group IT representative commented, “Teneo helped to increase our confidence level that SD-WAN isn’t vaporware. They’re reasonably independent and we’ve always appreciated their honesty throughout the course of the relationship. I know that, if Teneo’s recommending a solution, then it works in real-world scenarios.”

down quote up quote SD-WAN technology is mature enough to use and it’s been quick enough to deliver a marked advantage.
Group IT Team Representative
Multinational Consumer Goods Organization

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