Here's where partners can establish themselves as reliable advisers for their customers.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

February 17, 2020

6 Min Read
Sales Growth Chart

Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) could be your gateway to revenue and sticky customers.

Four experts will share their insights on the popular technology during their “Using SD-WAN to Upsell” panel on March 10 at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.  The panel features Julie Dzubay, AppSmart’s director of sales operations; Blake Wetzel, TeraGo Networks’ chief revenue officer; Michael Brennan, QOS Networks’ vice president of channel sales; and Anish Patel, TBI’s vice president of emerging technologies.


TeraGos Blake Wetzel

Wetzel, Brennan and Patel answered a few questions from us about SD-WAN and its role in the sales process.

Channel Partners: How do you see partners treating SD-WAN in relation to the rest of their technology portfolio? Are they seeing the synergies with other products, or does SD-WAN tend to function as a standalone product?

Blake Wetzel: SD-WAN is the platform to ensure partners create to increase their position as a trusted adviser to their customers. Whether it enables managed services, creates a platform to provide security or provides partners visibility to assist customers in advancing cloud Infrastructure, SD-WAN can provide the opportunity to expand multiple conversations with customers. The synergies created can and will create great value for customers.

Michael Brennan: The channel has not universally embraced SD-WAN. I expect adoption to increase rapidly throughout 2020 as partners realize SD-WAN is the hottest growth segment. Looking back, 2019 was a prosperous year for SD-WAN with early adopters capitalizing on the opportunity and reaping the rewards. I feel there is still a large segment of partners who have not embraced SD-WAN and perhaps is because they’re intimidated to have the right the conversation. Which is one reason why you leverage an expert partner, like QOS Networks. We’re here to help you and your customer deserve which transformation of their network best solves for their go forward business strategy. That said, I do expect adoption to increase rapidly throughout 2020 as partners realize SD-WAN is the hottest growth segment with IDC reporting global SD-WAN revenues growing rapidly and expected to reach $5.25 billion by 2023. Which of course means – higher revenue sales and bigger commission opportunities.


QOS Networks’ Michael Brennan

Anish Patel: SD-WAN is a natural extension to a network sale. Though it’s important to note that not every environment is a good fit for SD-WAN there are some real tangible benefits it can bring to an enterprise environment beyond cost savings. Partners are very comfortable having the SD-WAN conversation. For some partners, it tends to be a standalone product sale but the ones that are truly having transformative conversations are successfully driving other services.

CP: What’s one example of a technology or service that can be attached to SD-WAN?

AP: A great cross-sell product is UCaaS and/or CCaaS. SD-WAN improves user experience and application performance, and voice is a critical application in every environment. As partners are discovering various applications on the network, it is important to ask if the voice infrastructure needs to be modernized.


TBI’s Anish Patel

BW: We have seen various use cases where SD-WAN has served as a leading platform to deliver multiple other value-added services to end customers. These use cases range from logical add-on services to insights that lead to strategic transformational conversations within end customers. The logical add-ons are…… services such as managed services and security as a service. Since your SD-WAN platform can provide insight into bandwidth utilization and application visibility, this provides opportunities with UCaaS and backup. The most advanced conversation can open doors to discuss cloud migration, managed Wi-Fi and DRaaS. SD-WAN can provide a wide spectrum of solution discussions with customers.

MB: One example is cloud enablement. In fact, 77% of enterprises have at least one application or a portion of their enterprise computing infrastructure in the cloud. SD-WAN enables digital and cloud transformation for networks of all sizes. It offers a predictive application experience with optimized cloud and on-premises application performance with real-time analytics, visibility, and control. Additionally, SD-WAN is an evolution of the network, and at its core it is an enabler. It has made the public internet fit for purpose with businesses no longer bandwidth-constrained to traditional MPLS circuits. For partners, this creates an opportunity to cost optimize a business’s network spend, freeing up available cash for projects centered around cloud and digital transformation. In short, applications such as UCaaS, CRM, video based training, customer engagements platforms, security strategies, etc. SD-WAN truly allows businesses to operate at the speed of business and maintain the competitive edge.

Join Wetzel, Patel, Brennan and 100+ industry-leading speakers, more than 6,400 partners and 300+ key vendors, distributors and master agents at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, March 9-12. Register now!

CP: What’s one thing you hope the audience will take away from your session?

MB: Services providers have done a disservice to SD-WAN and tethered it to an access conversation. This was never the intent of SD-WAN. For partners to truly understand the depth and breadth of opportunity that they have before them they need to retrain their brain and break free from the legacy mindset. At QOS we understand the business challenges SD-WAN solves and the discussion necessary to facilitate that knowledge exchange with the customer. Don’t begin at the access conversation. Solve for a business’s cloud strategy and access becomes a pull through into the conversation.

SD-WAN is a paradigm shift for traditional telco partners. We recognize that and are here to help you with your customer engagements. Don’t avoid the conversation because it is unknown territory because I can assure you, with IDC reporting global SD-WAN revenues growing rapidly and expected to reach $5.25 billion by 2023, someone is talking to your customers about their digital journey.

BW: If partners take away one thing from the discussion, it would be to make sure that the SD-WAN platform or provider they take to market provides their customers with the insight to better integrate and optimize their network. By delivering the most insight into their customers, partners can add more value to their customer conversations than reducing cost or providing incremental bandwidth. Take this wonderful opportunity to create information that will solidify their relationships with customer as a trusted IT adviser.

AP: SD-WAN is like a swiss army knife. There are tons of benefits but don’t lose sight of what it’s all about, and that is to automate the WAN. Through the discovery process you will learn and uncover a lot about your customer’s environment, including a list of mission-critical applications, journey to the cloud, or assets that need protecting from a security standpoint. As a trusted consultant, drive more value to your customer by attaching other services.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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