Hughes recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct an independent study on distributed store networks, delving into challenges today and approaches to solve those challenges. We invited Forrester Consulting to share some highlights from this October 2018 study, “Digital Transformation Drives Distributed Store Networks To The Breaking Point."
Think about all the applications that stores rely on today to deliver powerful, differentiated experiences for their customers and employees. From digital and mobile payment solutions that make it easier for customers to buy in store, to in-store analytics that enable marketers to be smarter about their customers, to inventory management applications that make sure shelves are stocked, and of course, free in-store WiFi for customers – these technologies underpin the modern store experience.
The network fabric supporting these applications must deliver on security, availability, bandwidth, and performance. Unfortunately, our survey of 100 network operations and technology decision-makers at distributed retail and financial services companies with 200 or more physical locations shows that their current networks and support teams cannot meet those requirements:
It takes the right technology, paired with the right network support partner, to meet the network requirements of digitally empowered distributed organizations. SD-WAN (software-defined WAN) is a solution that many are exploring to help close the gaps in their current network capabilities today. SD-WAN serves large distributed networks by delivering:
• Connectivity – transport agnostic, VPN overlay seamlessly connects cloud & data center resources
• Security – end to end visibility and threat protection at the branch, data center, and cloud access points
• Quality – traffic shaping, path control and optimization means high availability, performance & user experience
While thirty percent of our survey respondents are using SD-WAN today, an additional 53% have plans to adopt in the next two years.
Just as stores are looking for new technologies to meet customer and user expectations, they are also looking to change how they support those network technologies as well. Third party managed service providers can help highly distributed organizations by providing:
• Scalable support staff across geographies for 24x7 network deployment and support
• Specialized skills and tools to help solve complex network issues, informed by best practices
• Services plans optimized for cost, availability and performance
Two-thirds of stores we surveyed would like to use a managed service provider, either exclusively or in conjunction with internal resources to manage their networks in the future.
The numerous applications that define the modern store experience are pushing the networks that support them to the breaking point. Insufficient performance, high costs and damaging network outages plague today’s distributed store networks. Many of the companies we surveyed are looking to SD-WAN and managed service providers to solve these challenges and deliver differentiated customer experiences and drive operational efficiencies.
Find out how Hughes can improve your retail store network.