SD-WAN is more than a way to network, it's a more efficient way to do business. But it's also a key tool for customer engagement. In our series on SD-WAN in retail, find out how Managed SD-WAN can drive a better customer experience.
One of the key challenges in today's business is creating a compelling experience for customers in the store or online. Today’s digital savvy customers demand prompt responses both in-store and online. Imagine your employee is using an app to service a customer that takes five to 10 seconds or more for a page to download. Not only will the customer walk away but the employee may also never use that app again because it can cost them a sale. Online customers would not wait more than three seconds for a page to download, or an app to perform properly.
The need for network bandwidth and reliability to power the explosion of apps and data has greatly increased. Businesses have become dependent on their Internet connection, not merely as a tool but as the backbone of their enterprise and their customer experience. A T1 network that was initially designed to support POS and credit card transactions has now become overwhelmed with enormous portfolio of cloud applications, employee video training, communications, inventory control, Guest Wi-Fi and presence Wi-Fi analytics support.
So, what’s a business to do? Buying more and more capacity does not solve the problem. It is costly and it is almost impossible to know when a certain capacity is needed and the bandwidth necessary.
(We'll give you a hint. Leading brands are managing their broadband bandwidth and mitigating costs for highly available network through a Managed software-defined WAN or Managed SD-WAN.)
Cost and customer expectations are driving businesses to transition to broadband's effective capacity. But, moving over to broadband is not as simple as it seems. No one gets to tell the Internet how much capacity to give us at any given time. For example, if you are getting 10MB of Internet, and you are putting up to 10MB of traffic you can get consistent application performance. When bandwidth limits are exceeded, your connection is forced to drop or throw away your traffic. We can't control what data gets through, either, making a bad problem worse. This results in poor video experience, poor enterprise WiFi and slower or inconsistent POS transactions.
SD-WAN is designed to bridge the gap between the business need and the current legacy infrastructures capability. But which SD-WAN solution is right for your business? There is a wide difference between the leading SD-WAN solutions. Some can balance app traffic across dual-broadband connections while others can detect in real-time the available bandwidth and shape the retailer’s traffic. This is a crucial capability to dealing with a common problem of POS transactions and cloud apps that sometimes work and sometimes don’t.
Business owners need to line up their customer service strategy to a managed service partner (MSP), who can simplify the complexity of SD-WAN by dealing with all the challenges of installation, operation, field maintenance and help desk issues. If your network is a critical aspect of your business, you’ll probably need more customization when setting up your SD-WAN, which a third-party vendor can help you with. However, if the high-speed Internet is just “nice to have” or supplemental to your customers, an off-the-shelf solution might suit your needs.
Why SD-WAN? When you partner with a third-party Managed SD-WAN provider, they will own and manage the solution for you, saving your operations and IT staff valuable time from installation to management and support. This lets you spend more time focusing on your business and your customer’s in-store experience.
Hughes is powering the SD-WAN revolution for distributed enterprises with service that's not just excellent, its award-winning. As a trusted technology and managed services leader, Hughes Managed SD-WAN is well-positioned to deliver on the promise of best-in-class customer experience to your digital customers.