“You may delay, but time will not.”

How Cisco and ngena are helping entrepreneurs get back what they preciously need: Time

You are probably familiar with this famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, that I used in the headline. And although Franklin made this statement more than 200 years ago, I believe it still holds true more than ever today.

In today’s digitized and fast-paced world, as consumers and as humans, we have all become a part of the race of wanting things: better, cheaper, faster or rather immediately.

The huge success of Amazon’s Prime service has made the prior known ‘fast’ two-day shipping cycles seem slow now, redefining ‘fast’ by offering delivery in just two hours! Which means you get the convenience of online shopping combined with the instant gratification of in-store purchases.

What does this agile B2C customer experience mean for the B2B industry in general and especially for Cisco and its telco customers? How will this experience change the way we are delivering network services to enterprises in the future? Read further to explore the fast new times.

Market reality: legacy telco solutions score poorly for today’s enterprise networking

Currently, multinational enterprises are facing a huge range of challenges as globalization, digitization and new IT solutions like Cloud or IoT services are calling for new, innovative networking solutions. According to the market analysts from Gartner, around 80% of employees and customers today work in branch offices. And a survey done by researchers from Populus shows that 41% of SMEs do business in countries outside their own, not taking into account the large enterprise segment, in which probably 100% would say they are running a global business. Competition today is coming both from around the world and from around the corner. As a result, and to better react to the many market challenges described above, companies need to be more agile and flexible when setting up their global network infrastructure.

At Cisco we have understood, that time is a company’s most valuable resource. Companies simply can’t wait anymore to spend a lot of time on long delivery cycles or change requests for their network services. They actually want something similar to Amazon’s Prime service for their corporate networks. They become more demanding and want their telco providers to immediately deliver global networks and get instant gratification from using flexible, stable and secure quality lines.

The scenario described above still seems out of reach given current projects reality. It takes cycles of several months or sometimes even a year to roll-out new global networks in multiple locations around the world. Among other things, the telco internal wholesale processes to deliver global network services are often very slow and labor intensive, not to mention the slow change processes when e.g. an MPLS line has to be reconnected from one office branch to another. Hardware has to be shipped and installed on-site and change requests (e.g. to set up a new device or adding a new network feature) continue to take weeks or months.

A game changer in the telco industry and a true time-saver for companies: ngena’s global SD-WAN powered by Cisco

The good news is that with the development of new Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies, and with Cisco’s industry-leading Viptela solution spearheading this tech trend, new network solutions are available in the market to provide much more agile and instant network services: solutions that are faster to switch on and that are even fully managed, taking away the enterprise burden of managing a network on their own.

One of these new cloud solutions is the Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) offering, that ngena and its global alliance partners provide specially for enterprise customers. ngena, which stands for “Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance”, is a group of global telecommunications companies and leading technology partners with Cisco in a prime role. All partners have come together to reinvent the traditional wholesale model of rolling out corporate networks.  Providing a central cloud platform based on 95% of Cisco equipment, ngena merges the local networks of all alliance partners into a single global SD-WAN. All ngena telco partners have a unique position of strength in their region and a vast experience with enterprise customers, making it possible to deliver high-performance VPN services to end customers on a global scale. Thus, with this service offering along with the help of Cisco’s enterprise-grade SD-WAN solution, enterprise customers get a global network service which is secure, stable, scalable and easy to use; and profit from local care of their regional telecommunication provider.

Save yourself some time by using a fully-managed SD-WAN as a Service

Let’s assume you are not a telco provider, and that managing a global network is not one of your company’s core competences. And even though your local network provider takes over most of the management duties for your company’s network, there are still a number of tasks your IT staff will have to deal with: defining the LAN environment and network segregation, for example, or manually changing your VPN configuration, or resolving performance issues and network incidents, are just some of the manifold tasks your staff will be tied up with. If you do manage your network entirely on your own, the overall task becomes even more laborious, and you will have to deal with multi-provider management, controlling your hardware devices such as firewalls, routers and switches, to name but a few.

Why not eliminate the complexity of managing your network by yourself and rather free-up the time of your IT staff for more business-relevant tasks? ngena’s fully-managed SD-WAN-as-a-Service requires minimal effort on your part: because ngena and its alliance partners will take care of all the necessary tasks through full automation, from initial setup of your network, to running it on a day-to-day basis. All global networks and local access lines will be managed through a single, central portal by your local carrier. This means that changes and optimizations can be realized much more easily and quickly. In addition, your network performance is fully supervised by ngena’s intelligent monitoring capabilities based on Cisco-Viptela’s capabilities, and an intelligent Network Health Dashboard is available to give you and your team a real-time overview of your network’s health status. This is all accompanied by a range of network traffic optimization services and Quality of Service parameters (e.g. prioritization of data, different SLAs for different access designs, etc.) that will significantly improve the quality of your network and the user experience.

With ngena’s fully-managed service along with Cisco Viptela’s leading edge SD-WAN technology companies get a much more agile and flexible solution that offers more maneuver – and, as such, also more sustainable benefits over the long term. In particular, the solution enables:

  • a quicker integration of new branch establishments into your corporate network,
  • faster WAN service upgrades – optimally without technicians having to be deployed on-site
  • much faster turnaround for change requests
  • immediate installation of enhanced network features such as firewalls or WAN acceleration with a minimum of effort
  • less cycles in multi-carrier management, contract management, negotiations etc.

To summarize, let’s end with another historical quote from Abraham Lincoln who once said: “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the ax”. So why not follow his advice: sharpen your axes, deploy a new Cisco Viptela-based solution with ngena’s SD-WAN-as-a-Service and go out to reinvent your network. You will quickly realize how much more effective and productive you will be – and how much of today’s most precious resource you will get back: Time.


JL Valente

Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Routing and SD-WAN

Networking Experiences Team