What were the major technology and market trends in 2017?
The increased uptake of software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) solutions by regional and global enterprises continued to gain momentum as a major tech trend this year. Geographically distributed enterprises are embracing the cloud and waking up to the potential and possibilities of shifting away from conventional router-centric WAN architectures toward an application-driven SD-WAN edge.
An application-driven WAN edge enables enterprises to connect users to applications with the flexibility to use any combination of connectivity, including broadband, without having to compromise on network or application performance. Today’s hyper-connected, cloud-first enterprises require greater agility and efficiency and are therefore embracing advanced SD-WAN solutions to dramatically simplify and consolidate legacy branch office infrastructure.
Do you believe any technology buzzwords from 2017 will really kick-off in 2018?
We have noticed that cloud service providers are now investing heavily in the region as well as building new data centres in the Middle East. So it’s very likely that cloud adoption will growth healthily in 2018. Nowadays, most WAN traffic, to and from branch and remote sites, is destined for the cloud, either to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications or applications hosted in an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) environment.
The traditional WAN was architected for branch-to-data-centre traffic flows, not to efficiently support the new cloud-driven traffic patterns. Starting in 2018, most enterprises will adopt a ‘cloud-first’ application-driven SD-WAN architecture designed to efficiently and effectively support cloud migration and the ongoing evolution in their application mix.
How has 2017 been for your company and business?
The momentum driving the adoption of SD-WAN has been strong throughout 2017, and to meet this surge in demand we have scaled up our activities across the board. We regularly run roadshows, participate in third-party events, tradeshows and content syndication, and our marketing teams regularly host webinars, seminars and briefings to educate and enable partners.
We have also worked towards helping our partners better negotiate the gap between them and their customers by making improvements and adding new features to our Global Partner Program throughout the year. Overall, 2017 has been a good year for the company and the business, eclipsing 600 production customer deployments worldwide. We anticipate continued growth in the uptake of our Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution regionally and beyond.
What were your major achievements in the year 2017?
With our Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution, we didn’t just provide partners with a robust solution to capitalise on the growing SD-WAN market, but through our Global Partner Program we equip our partners with valuable tools for marketing, as well as offer technical training and partner certifications to educate and enable partner engineers on WAN concepts and running successful pilots. By increasing our channel investments and building relevancy around SD-WAN throughout the year, we have helped our partners acquire new high-profile accounts in 2017 and on-board new customers and forge new partnerships.
How do you foresee opportunities for 2018?
In 2018, most enterprises will adopt a ‘cloud-first’ application-driven SD-WAN architecture. It is predicted that SD-WAN will in fact steer network evolution as organisations grapple with the growing demands of digital transformation. The outlook for SD-WAN adoption in the EMEA region in particular is very positive over the next few years as IT personnel gain a better understanding of the concept and the benefits it wields. In fact, experts expect revenues from SD-WAN solutions within the region to grow at an average rate of 92% per year to reach USD 2.1 billion by 2021. This projected increase in the uptake of SD-WAN solutions presents excellent opportunities for businesses operating within the sector.
What sort of strategies do you have in place for 2018?
One of our key strategies in 2018 will be to continue to invest in creating value for our partners. Our training activities are tailored to cultivate a better understanding of SD-WAN and the opportunity presented by it. These training activities are also geared to encourage channel partners to move away from the traditional demand-supply transaction and instead understand what their customer’s business is looking to achieve and which solutions are best suited to accomplish these objectives. We also arm our partners with the training and tools they need to communicate to enterprises that are making the shift to SD-WAN, how it will ultimately enable their businesses to enhance agility and responsiveness, while dramatically reducing costs.
Will you be investing more in terms of expansion of your market reach, channel programs and general marketing?
The momentum driving the adoption of SD-WAN is strong, and we plan to expand our footprint in 2018 in line with this by empowering current partners, forging new partnerships and increasing our investments in and out of region to grow our market reach and share in 2018 and beyond.haskar.
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