An unsung hero walks among us. She wears a cape of connectivity and empowers every organization that chooses to embrace her amazing abilities. Yet the tales of her triumph go without praise or even the slightest acknowledgement. Dramatic entrance I know... so before I unveil who this mysterious hero is, let me first set the stage for why her tale must be told.
Entering the new year it is unavoidable to ignore the onslaught of 2016 reviews. From sports and pop culture to economics and technology, a year-end-review seems almost mandatory for any major publication or really anyone with an RSS feed. Year-end-reviews allow us to reflect on accomplishments, as well as failures, and set expectations for the year to come. They always leave us wondering what we'll be talking about on January 1st next year. What awesome new breakthroughs are just over the horizon and what is the next great wave of innovation? For instance, who saw Tesla's unveiling of solar panel roof shingles coming when 2016 kicked off!?! Seriously Elon, is there no limits to your mad scientry!?!
2016 marked an explosion of growth for our industry as the proverbial "cloud" continued to rain down hosted solutions on an already seemingly flooded marketplace. Over the past few years the downpour of innovative tech has helped level the playing field between fortune 500 and SMB by making traditional enterprise grade technology available to anyone through an Operational expense model. The watermark of IT enthusiasm continues to rise as business owners and executives find new ways to improve their organizational efficiencies and profitability through cloud technology. For example WorkStream Management tools are redefining how companies collaborate. Public PaaS (platform as a service) such as Microsoft Azure, Twilio, and ShoreTel Summit (to be released in 2017) are allowing IT teams to write custom scripts that accomplish niche applications that would have been nearly impossible in the not so distant past. Meanwhile Unified Communications (UC) continues to expand its' definition like a super nova waiting to burst and we're all just wondering where it all will end. It wont.
The Missing Piece to the Cloud Equation
With all the hype surrounding UCaaS, SaaS, PaaS, and all the other as a Services it is easy to forget an important component of the cloud equation, CONNECTIVITY. The method of how organizations actually access the Internet in order to take advantage of this innovative and expanding new tool set. Most businesses are still treating all data in their organization as if all applications are created equal. They simply are not. To make it painfully simple: can you wait 5 seconds for an email? Probably. Can you really wait 5 seconds for the words that you just said to your prospective client to catch up to your mouth in a live video chat? Nope! Nothing is more frustrating than experiencing latency and jitter when using the tools meant to help you. So what is the tech industry going to do about it in 2017? Fortunately they already have... done something I mean. The answer is SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) and intelligent connectivity management. Unfortunately, very few of the year-end technology reviews I read ever mentioned this industry-changing and rapidly evolving phenomenon.
If you're reading this and thinking: hmm, maybe its not on a 2016 year-end-review because SD-WAN has been around since 2014... True, but ask Twilio how they feel about Platform as a Service making every top ten list this year. Like the PaaS industry, several vendors have emerged on the scene in 2016. Yet only FierceTelcom managed to squeak out a tiny SD-WAN snippet. This snippet was only about how Verizon, AT&T, and Centurylink are determined to force their way into the SD-WAN space in 2017. Perfect, just what we need, big Telco fat fingering another mission critical business component. What we should be talking about is innovators in a crowded space, and what they will bring to market in the coming year. Companies like Bigleaf, a neighboring Portland based tech firm that has redefined the capabilities of WAN. Bigleaf has brought to market a fresh approach to WAN optimization and done so at a critical juncture in the technology timeline, by adopting a "cloud first" methodology that focuses on packet prioritization and QoS above all else. Their unveiling couldn’t be more timely. The cloud solutions industry is booming and we need a champion that sees the bigger picture. I'm not here to educate you on the powers of this great tech and the many ways it will enhance the user experience and revolutionize cloud technology. For a list of educational articles on Connectivity, Bigleaf, and SD-WAN visit our SD-WAN Education Forumn.
Back to the point: As you are probably well aware, cloud based technology allows for incredible flexibility, scalability, and increased efficiency as enterprise grade tools are made available through a opex model to any size organization for really the first time ever. That being said-if you're not taking advantage of SD-WAN technology to optimize and prioritize data traffic, you're missing the boat on a great and powerful evolution of technology. You're going to continue to hear your colleagues and end users complain about the tools you worked tirelessly to implement. Quite frankly, if you are not utilizing this technology you are burning resources and wasting the investment your organization has made. Too harsh? Its not, these are the words of an unsung hero – a hero you can still call on to come to your aid and one that will answer the call. At Matrix we are combining SD-WAN technoloyg from Bigleaf and strategic circuit management to ensure our clients have the network infrastructure they need to be succesful with cloud applications. We call this evolution MCaaS and who knows, in 2018 maybe that will be the big story of the year. So shine the WAN Signal high in the sky and let great organizations like Bigleaf and Matrix Networks help you leverage an incredible year of cloud growth. Grab 2017 by the horns and make this the year of growth, prosperity, and connectivity!
Next Article: Bigleaf Networks is Portland's Very Own Rising Superstar in SD-WAN Technology
Author: Ryan Graven