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The Disruptive Power of SD-WAN Is Just the BeginningThe Disruptive Power of SD-WAN Is Just the Beginning

SD-WAN will require a steep learning curve, but not as big as was cloud infrastructure or disaster recovery as a service.

Lynn Haber

April 4, 2017

5 Min Read

a219a2094f9b46ce90a39251819c8712.jpg**Editor’s Note: It’s not too late to register for the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, the gathering place for the technology services community, April 10-13, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.**

Disruption has become the name of the game for channel partners lately, and channel leaders need strategies and blueprints for success. Software-defined networking (SD-WAN) is one technology that partners can’t afford to ignore. Customers are asking questions about it and partners need to have answers.

675fea8ca88148b5a5e913bcd430f7f6.jpgIn the Business Success Seminar technology session, “How the Disruptive Power of SD-WAN is Just the Beginning,” being held on Monday, April 10, at next week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, industry experts share their knowledge about the SD-WAN market and offer attendees advice on putting together a business strategy around new technologies that’s repeatable and profitable.

Attendees at this preconference seminar will learn about the three buckets of SD-WAN technology; methods to map disruptive offerings to the business opportunity; and maximizing conversation starters and qualifiers.

In this pre-conference Business Success Symposium, session, experts include: Andrew Lydecker, president, Avant; Nathan Grinnell, director, channel sales, at Aryaka; Mike Champion, Xcelocloud; George Just, vice president of sales, West, at Telari, and Eric Sanders, managing partner at eCloud Managed Solutions.{ad}

2a96ea3f0e0d4e54ad5e418b314a244f.jpgTo understand more about SD-WAN and devising a strategy on how to expand your partner business with new technology offerings, we spoke to several of the session participants.

Channel Partners: SD-WAN is a big disrupter in the networking market and needs the indirect channel to get on board. That’s both a great opportunity and a big challenge for partners. Would you address that?

Andrew Lydecker: The challenge is that when there’s a new technology in the market and it’s fundamentally different than the status quo – look at the MPLS market; it’s been around for a long time – with any new disruption comes a tremendous learning curve. Now this learning curve will not be as steep as things like cloud infrastructure and disaster recovery as a service, but there will be a very big learning curve.

Our belief is that however we can give our customers, i.e. the trusted advisers, the VARs, etc., the ability to differentiate themselves in the market and have as much intellectual property as is humanly possible, they will become very successful and this will become very much …


… the norm for them.

CP: Address how a technology like SD-WAN can disrupt a partner’s business and how they build out an SD-WAN practice or incorporate the technology into their offerings.

AL: We’ve built programs to get partners up to speed whether they’re inching into it today or developing an entire practice around SD-WAN. We have blueprints ready for them – education, methodologies, tools – to go into their customers and be able to educate their ecosystem on the benefits of SD-WAN and whether it’s a right fit or not for their customers.

CP: How do partners get started with another disruptive technology, in this case, SD-WAN?

Eric Sanders: I think the first challenge is for partners to understand how SD-WAN is going to effect their business from the telecom connectivity they have today. So telecom agents need to know the difference between what an SD-WAN solution is versus the existing telecom solutions.{ad}

69ab2bb183eb4f32b55cb2a34253a5ed.jpgThen they need to understand the value. What’s the value a customer is looking for? So in this journey to the cloud and as more customers adopt cloud technologies, where does SD-WAN fit into that and how does it enable the cloud and SaaS solutions that they’re buying?

Three is the how. How are you going to differentiate yourself as to why someone should work with you, as a telecom agent, over they guy sitting next to you.  For me, for example, SD-WAN is a pull-through, another thing that differentiates me as part of our overall cloud solution that we’re going to recommend to our customers.

Nathan Grinnell: There’s a huge shortage of IT talent out there and partners have a great opportunity to be the trusted adviser and look at alternative methods to existing business today. It’s a way to separate yourself as that trusted adviser, so for example, looking at SD-WAN as a alternative to replacing MPLS networks – that’s whether there’s a qualifying event or not for your customer – if you can put this arrow into your quiver what you’ll find is that you’re educating your customer, becoming their trusted adviser and you’re challenging them on the way they think about the way they run their business today.

For every type of partner out there – VARs, MSPs, ISVs, SI’s and subagents – SD-WAN is a very healthy recurring revenue model, where you’re literally displacing …


… legacy MPLS and what that does for you as a partner is it gives you another way to attack your existing customer base instead of waiting for a new or qualifying event for your customer.

CP: What kind of food for thought do you hope attendees, executive decision makers at their organizations, take away from this session?

ES: Don’t go out and build a completely new SD-WAN practice. You’ve got to go out, socialize, have the conversations with customers and see what you get for feedback. Are there unique opportunities – either existing accounts or net new accounts – then yes, you should take it more seriously.

Know that SD-WAN isn’t a fad; it’s not going away. You need to understand why customers are moving to it and why you should get on board and how it is truly different than MPLS or regular broadband internet or cable.{ad}

Also, if you’re not going to get on board, then you need to think about how you’re going to sell against it.

NG: We’re trying to open doors and create a mindshift that there [are] different ways to doing things. I want to get everyone in the room feeling very uncomfortable with their existing business model today. I don’t want them to be afraid but I want them to be willing to open their eyes because if they’re not going to make a shift, they’re going to be left behind.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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