If you haven’t jumped on the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) bandwagon yet, now’s the time to make your move. Currently, about one in five enterprises has deployed SD-WAN, and the early adopters that have done so could be your most formidable competitors.

Companies that have deployed SD-WAN solutions are the tech-savvy enterprises or nimble startups in your industry. They understand that traditional networks are complex, inflexible, and potentially ill-suited for today’s business environment of hybrid clouds, mobile devices, enterprise apps, IoT and big data.

A key value of SD-WAN is that it incorporates software-defined networking in a wide area network, allowing IT management to respond proactively to real-time network conditions. SD-WANs simplify the management and operation of a network by separating the networking hardware from its control mechanism and moving more of the network control to the cloud. As a result, SD-WANs enable companies with the agility they need to quickly adapt, modify, and redeploy based on constantly changing business environments. For many CIOs, SD-WAN is a key component of their enterprise strategy.

Thanks to its ease of operations, flexibility and lower costs, SD-WAN adoption is skyrocketing. According to IDC, the SD-WAN market is expected to grow 40 percent each year until 2022, when annual spending is projected to reach $4.5 billion1.

Here are five key reasons why SD-WAN should be at the top of your strategic IT to-do list:

  1. Improve network performance across multiple sites

SD-WAN intelligently routes network traffic based on user-defined business policies, ensuring you efficiently use bandwidth at branch locations. Thanks to this intelligent routing, your network performance won’t be hampered by unexpected spikes in bandwidth use. Also, SD-WAN lets you easily and quickly set up profiles for new branches in just a few clicks.

  1. Optimize app performance

SD-WAN provides your IT department with a single, consolidated view of application performance in your enterprise, regardless of whether an app resides on-premises or in the cloud. This enables you to better manage app availability and performance today and in the future.

  1. Quickly adapt to changing business and tech needs

No doubt your business and technology agenda is rapidly evolving – perhaps even changing overnight. SD-WAN not only improves network speed and efficiency, but it also lets you more easily deploy and configure performance rules for new business applications such as unified communications. The end result: Your IT department can more easily and quickly adapt to the fast-paced changes demanded by your company’s operations.

  1. Simplify network management

Your current network configuration may be extremely complex. Multiple networks. Multiple locations. With SD-WAN, you can manage your voice, video and data applications in a single network and control it from a central platform. This simplifies your network management considerably. You have a single network – and thanks to the single point of control, you have real-time visibility of your network and application performance, so you can more easily identify and fix troubles in near real-time.

  1. Ensure future business success

SD-WAN gives your company a competitive advantage. Nemertes’ 2018 cloud and networking benchmark shows that enterprises empowered with SD-WAN technology require 50 percent less IT staff time and spend 95 percent less time troubleshooting2. And a fully managed SD-WAN takes the 24/7 burden of network management off the IT department’s shoulders, freeing your valuable IT resources to focus on supporting new initiatives, such as cloud computing and mobility, or other project that drive business growth.

The future is now

SD-WAN adoption is rising steadily because the technology is ideally suited for enterprises’ business and technology needs in a software-defined future. Many leading companies have already adopted SD-WAN to improve operational efficiency and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Are you ready for SD-WAN?

Spend a few minutes with our SD-WAN checklist to see if your enterprise is prepared.