Transforming a global business to work with the agility of a startup
How a global SD-WAN rollout is boosting network visibility and control.
- A multinational company
- Retail and consumer goods
How can a big business move with the agility of a small one?
This was the conundrum we helped one of our largest customers solve. While every startup dreams of growth, expansion comes at a price. Big firms have more people to organise and more to lose by taking risks, so it takes them longer to adapt to change. That’s exactly what our multinational customer wanted to avoid. The team needed a better way to manage the network from a central, cloud-based system, without losing speed. All while reducing the cost of WAN. The change would give the team better network visibility, so they could make smarter business decisions and react faster to their customers’ needs. We helped them roll-out this next-generation network worldwide, so they could behave like a startup at scale.
We helped the customer test and vet the latest SD-WAN technology in an on-site lab. Working closely with the team gave us an important insight into the network’s complexities. And it meant our team was perfectly positioned to help with the rollout – while limiting the overall risk to the business. But it was still a mammoth challenge. The customer wanted to upgrade 85 sites around the globe. These ranged from factories with complex IT and OT environments to 24/7 offices for thousands of people that couldn’t afford any downtime. And because we had to work with different local vendors every time, no two installs were the same. Over the course of the project, we’ve streamlined the way we work. The boost in efficiency encouraged the customer to let us take on more responsibilities – now, we’re also handling the design and delivery of infrastructure for each site. As well as procuring and commissioning hardware, this means configuring vEdge routers to work with existing systems. Then we oversee the handover to the customer’s operations team and decommission old hardware when they need it. To start with, the customer’s local engineering teams helped us create templates in Cisco Viptela vManage and push out the configurations. But after the first few implementations, the customer trusted us to carry out the process from end to end without any oversight.
Working together on a global rollout
First, we had to make sure each unique site was set up correctly. We put together a team of nine project managers and 13 technical designers to handle the challenge. Our experience working with large global enterprises meant we already understood their internal systems and processes, so we could quickly roll out the new system. And meet their internal procurement, audit, operations and security expectations – without shaking things up for people on the ground. Plus, because we simplified the infrastructure, once the SD-WAN was up and running, the customer’s network operations centre could easily manage it all from one place. We’ve perfected the art of custom installations to each site. It now only takes a week for our team to create a design, with the customer’s sites experiencing zero downtime during the delivery.
Building better connections
Phase one of the rollout has been a real success. We delivered a total of 65 sites in just over a year, with 50 of them in less than nine months. They can now resolve problems faster, give their users better network security and work more efficiently using cloud applications. It’s already saved the company $15m in operating costs. And helped them advance their cloud-ready strategy. Phase two is already underway – over the next six months we’ll roll out to 50 more sites. And the best news is that our customer is completely satisfied with the results so far. With more network visibility and control, SD-WAN has given them all the tools they need to succeed. Their business applications, data, devices and people are better connected than they’ve ever been before. And they can embrace new technologies on-the-fly, including mobile connectivity. The new system has made it easier for the whole organisation to collaborate and innovate. So they can accelerate their growth like a startup.