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83% of Retailers Surveyed Likely to Employ SD-WAN Within Two Years

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Increased network complexity and demand drive migration to new solutions

A recent study reveals how retailers and other multisite enterprises are looking to managed services and Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) to keep up with rising demand for more bandwidth, higher security, and availability. Hughes commissioned the study by Forrester Consulting to explore the challenges of distributed networks and related investment plans of enterprises with 200 or more locations, including big box, apparel, and specialty retailers. Findings show they are reaching a tipping point, with increased network complexity and demand driving migration to new solutions.

Applications Strain Network Resources
Survey respondents confirm that conventional networks struggle to handle a rapidly growing volume of store applications and technologies:

  • The most prevalent business-critical applications running on about 9 in 10 store networks are personnel management, employee training, and inventory/ordering.
  • Mobility requirements drive network demand, with 76% of stores running mobile POS and 79% accepting mobile payments.
  • Major strains on network resources cited by more than 8 in 10 respondents include in-store Wi-Fi, security systems, and digital signage/video displays.

Current Networks Struggle to Keep up
Store operators are less than satisfied with current network solutions. According to the study:

  • Thirty-three percent are not satisfied with overall performance of their network.
  • Twenty percent are less than satisfied with their current network security, despite the fact that security ranks as respondents’ number-one priority.
  • Network challenges cause business disruption, with two-thirds of retailers reporting outages at least twice a year and one in five experiencing outages monthly.
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Retailers Seek Solutions
Though 64% of survey participants report that internal IT personnel manage their networks, only one-third prefer that model for their business future. Nearly half would rather employ a mix of internal IT and external support. Twenty-one percent would prefer to migrate fully to a third-party managed service provider within two years. While only 30% are employing SD-WAN, more than half intend to test SD-WAN in the next year or adopt the solution within two years, making SD-WAN the dominant networking solution for these enterprises by 2020.

“This study unveils the critical performance and security challenges faced by enterprises in a dynamic period of the industry, fueled by the ever-increasing need for connectivity and bandwidth,” said Mike Tippets, vice president, Enterprise Marketing, Hughes. “In the face of this technology ‘arms race,’ businesses would be wise to work with a trusted partner offering a comprehensive and experienced approach to network services—easing their burden on internal resources and freeing them to focus on succeeding in the marketplace.”

As a case in point, more than 30,000 enterprise sites globally enjoy the benefits of HughesON™ Managed SD-WAN solutions across big box, department store, specialty retail, and grocery stores with single deployments of up to 3,500 sites. The HughesON solution is enabling these retailers to realize key benefits: innovative technologies that optimize network traffic for improved performance; next-generation firewall and unified threat management capabilities to address privacy and security concerns; a solution that integrates into any WAN transport type; plus expert services to manage the network and alleviate the hassles.