Developing an SD-WAN implementation project plan is critical to keeping your technology initiative on track. Not only does it set expectations, but it also helps you determine the most effective path forward for your organization.
The plan should align your staff, network, IT skills, funding, and other priorities. It will keep your SD-WAN implementation on track and avoid unexpected delays or costs.
Identify Your Needs
SD-WAN allows organizations to implement a secure and reliable network that connects branch offices, remote sites, and mobile workers to corporate headquarters. It also provides various benefits, such as reducing costs and improving performance.
The first step is identifying your requirements and what you want to accomplish with an SD-WAN. It may include cost reduction over MPLS, tightening security to protect a work-from-anywhere workforce or other goals.
Once you have identified your needs, you can evaluate vendors to find one that meets your requirements. It includes assessing expertise, pricing, technology and equipment offerings, service and support, and security features.
Another consideration is whether the vendor has robust administration tools that allow you to quickly monitor your network and troubleshoot issues. It is a crucial consideration, saving you time and money in the long run.
Finally, a good partner should be able to provide a comprehensive SD-WAN services solution delivered in person or remotely. It means they can help you manage all aspects of your SD-WAN, including day-to-day operations and software provisioning.
Once you have a shortlist of potential vendors, conducting hands-on evaluations of their products and services in a POC environment is essential. You’ll be able to observe how the technologies function in practical settings. Additionally, it will clarify how the implementation team can manage the deployment.
Identify Your Options
You must first identify your needs and resources for a successful SD-WAN implementation project plan. This upfront work will help you identify the technology vendors most suitable for your organization.
For instance, it’s crucial to know how extensive your network is and how many distant users, programs, and other things need to connect. This information can help determine if your network infrastructure will be compatible with SD-WAN.
You also need to understand your network’s security requirements and how you will protect it against threats. The solution you select should have complete, end-to-end security so that IT teams can have seamless visibility, enforcement, and control across your entire network, even as it adapts to changing business and connectivity needs.
It should also have a centralized control function that steers traffic securely and intelligently across your WAN and directly to trusted SaaS and IaaS providers. It increases application performance and delivers a high-quality user experience, boosting productivity and reducing IT costs.
Implementing an SD-WAN requires high IT expertise and resources, including network engineers, data center specialists, and cloud infrastructure engineers. It is essential to have enough IT professionals available to support the implementation of your SD-WAN and ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.
Identify Your Resources
Who will work on the project is one of the essential parts of the SD-WAN Deployment Project Plan. It comprises personnel, a network, technical expertise, and money to support the project.
The people involved should know their roles and how they will help support the project as it evolves so that they can be aligned with business priorities. It helps to avoid conflict that can lead to delays and derailments.
For example, the CMO might want a solution to deliver a great end-user experience. At the same time, the CISO is dialed into security, and the COO is concerned with reliability and resiliency. By gaining alignment from all decision-makers early and often, you’ll help to smooth the migration journey while building advocates.
Whether you deploy the SD-WAN yourself or have a partner do it, ensure you have a comprehensive testing program. It will ensure that the technology performs as expected.
A good SD-WAN solution will provide the intelligence, reliability, performance, and scale needed to support your business goals. It should be able to manage multiple connection types (MPLS, broadband, wireless) and enable intelligent traffic steering based on application policies aligned with your business intent.
Lastly, ensure that you select an SD-WAN vendor that offers a variety of product options. For example, you may need a solution to deliver WAN optimization, cloud-based security, or both.
Identify Your Challenges
When enterprises adopt cloud and digital transformation initiatives, they often need help with their existing network architecture. These challenges include network congestion, service failures, and increased security risks.
These challenges can be mitigated by implementing a robust and flexible SD-WAN network solution. However, this requires careful planning and a well-defined project plan.
First, IT teams need to know what sites are in place and how many remote users and applications they currently support. They should also consider future needs and how their connections evolve (e.g., MPLS circuit to broadband).
Next, they must evaluate the availability and performance of their current backbone connections (MPLS or Internet). These will be used to deliver network connectivity during implementation and in the future. They should be able to select the best combination of connections that will accommodate their traffic requirements and meet their SLAs.
Lastly, they must choose the right security features to ensure their network is secure and protected against threats. It can be tricky, as each provider claims different capabilities and offers security functions differently.
By identifying these challenges early, IT teams can ensure they can implement a successful SD-WAN network and address them throughout the migration process. It will help prevent delays, budget overruns, and overall frustration among stakeholders that can derail a project.