What a delayed SD-WAN or SASE decision could cost you

March 03, 2022

Winners make good decisions fast, execute them quickly, and see higher growth rates and/or overall returns from their decisions. That’s according to a McKinsey study, ‘Decision-Making In The Age Of Urgency’.

But the same study also pointed out that ineffective decision-making has significant implications for company productivity today. On average, survey respondents said they spent 37 percent of their time making decisions. But the most alarming news was that over half of this time was thought to be spent ineffectively.

Decision-making paralysis has grown even more acute in recent months. A survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association at the end of last year found that US adults have found daily tasks and decision-making much more of a struggle during the pandemic. When stress builds from minor decisions, it can also cloud the bigger decisions you need to make at work.

One area of IT that’s causing Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders to slow their decisions through confusion in the face of rapid change is SASE. SASE is a relatively new architectural approach that sees the convergence of WAN and Security technologies such as SD-WAN, and the brand-new Security Service Edge (SSE) stack. With so many options and legacy technologies to consider, most I&O leaders are getting stuck at the point of defining what SASE means to them. But here are some examples of the impact that ineffective SD-WAN and SASE decision-making could have on your business.


SASE project delay could cost you $4.3m

When it comes to SASE, many IT teams are focused on delivering projects on time and on budget. But what they often struggle with, is how to align their project outcomes with business goals to derive true value.

Over 50% of IT projects fail due to 3 things. Poor technology choice, failure to align the right people, and project execution. Take one example, a 9-month SD-WAN project delay due to lack of skilled resource. It cost one multinational organization $4.3m in lost connectivity cost savings. That doesn’t even factor in the delays to other projects they had scheduled, or the overall impact on their business.

Slow action in this case meant an inability to experience the benefits that SD-WAN and SASE can bring. This included cost savings from legacy technology.


SD-WAN and SASE skills gaps could lead to just 10% deployment in 1 year

One of the biggest barriers to SD-WAN and SASE adoption today isn’t tied to limitations or concerns about the technology. “Never enough resources, never enough time,” instead is what we hear from most I&O teams.

In a 2019 IDG Research survey, the skills gap was the number one thing preventing SD-WAN adoption. A huge 46% of IT decision-makers said so. And we’re still no better off today.

The Harvey Nash Global Digital Leadership Report 2021 concluded that skills shortages are now the highest on record, particularly around cyber security, big data and architecture. Organizations are now looking to cross-train their staff where possible, and bring in outsiders to cover niche skill deficits.

To this point, when it comes to SD-WAN and SASE deployment, most organizations either look to:

  1. Buy and deploy an SD-WAN or SASE solution themselves. This can present challenges when it comes to expertise, experience, resources, and education; or
  2. Utilize a reseller or service provider for the design and deployment work.

But what they don’t realize is that many resellers and service providers lack resources, expertise, and experience too when it comes to SD-WAN and SASE.

One such service provider was only able to deploy 10% of what they’d sold across the course of a year for an SD-WAN rollout.

But there is a third and better option. Your staff can benefit from knowledge transfer from the same outsiders that you engage to cover your niche skills deficits.


Wrong SD-WAN or SASE technology choice could set you back 3 years

Organizations may be actively researching SD-WAN and SASE to drive business transformation. But much of the time they end up making emotional selections rather than rational.

Most companies choose which solutions they utilize, and even how to deploy them, based on ease of purchase or relationships they have with existing providers. But what they fail to recognize is, that this selection criteria is misaligned to the business outcomes behind the project.

One organization we spoke with was a full year into a three-year contract before they could deploy a single SD-WAN device. In this case, an existing supplier had recommended technology that was the wrong fit for their goals. This caused a huge amount of frustration to say the least, along with damaged egos and reputations on both sides. Unfortunately, the business also experienced unmeasurable lost opportunities.


Take a more efficient approach

When it comes to SD-WAN and SASE, I&O leaders must find efficient ways to evaluate options, as well as deploy them. They must also be mindful of avoiding losses and instead deliver business value through effective decision-making process. So, how can you and your team be sure you’ll make high-quality SD-WAN and SASE decisions fast? How will you execute those decisions quickly, and demonstrate higher overall returns?

Teneo’s SD-WAN and SASE Workshop helps you and your team to focus on commercial and technical value, and builds commitment from the relevant stakeholders in the early project stages. This helps you to better understand the decision at hand, avoid decision-making pitfalls, and accelerate your conclusions. And through our managed service options, you can also share knowledge transfer with your team and speed time to value.

For more information about our SD-WAN and SASE Workshop, visit our web page.

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