When it’s time for a major infrastructure upgrade such as transitioning to a virtualized network solution like software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN), the process can be daunting. There are many options on the market, and you want to be sure to get one that matches both your technical requirements and your style of doing business and IT. Consider the following steps before you launch your evaluation process:
Get Clear on Requirements First: Your initial thought might be to do a request for proposal (RFP) for every major SD-WAN option on the market, but that can cause a flood of options for you to sift through. Instead, begin with an evaluation of your requirements in terms of benefits, specifications, support, and features. This step will help you narrow down which providers you should contact.
Distinguish Technologies From Outcomes: It’s easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles, and you can also miss out on a great solution if you focus too closely on features. A provider may have a capability to do what you need, but because it’s calling it something different than what you expect, you think it’s not a good fit.
Scoring Isn’t Everything: Weighted scoring can help you put some quantifiable measurement on the solutions you’re evaluating, but it’s a tool that helps create a picture. Choosing an SD-WAN solution is a nuanced decision that should not rely only on weighted scoring. If you want more complete requests for proposal (RFPs) from providers, be sure to include an alert that pops up when an answer doesn’t hit your minimum word count for an answer. For example, if they enter “compliant” on a line where you ask about certain specifications, let them know that providers are rewarded for a more fleshed-out answer.
Don’t Change Your Requirements: It’s important that step one is completed in full because providers will have wasted their time if you shift requirements in the middle of the RFP process. Before beginning a response to an RFP, providers spend time deciding whether they can meet your requirements.
Be Transparent: Some companies want to shroud the RFP process in secrecy – not letting providers know how each answer is weighted – but that will prevent a company from focusing on the areas that are most important to your company. You’ll need a high level of trust between your IT staff and your provider, so start with establishing that transparency right from the beginning.
Before you begin your SD-WAN selection process, partner with a guide for the transition. Contact us at AMD Communications for a seamless migration to a virtualized network solution.