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The global software-defined networking (SDN) market is expected to reach $43.3 billion by 2027. This number is hardly surprising considering the numerous benefits that SDN brings to the business and how effectively it has proven its value over the past two years. According to PwC, SDN is the key to unlocking inventive solutions and business processes in the new, 5G world. For McKinsey, it’s the toolkit required to centralise network intelligence and control and the linchpin in advancing innovation within infrastructure and architecture. The SDN market has undergone a significant transformation in perception, from a technology that was perceived as complex and convoluted to a trusted way through many of the obstacles thrown up by the pandemic.

The case for SD-WAN among South African business

For business, the real meat and potatoes behind the growth of SDN, or softwaredefined wide area networking (SD-WAN), is the fact that it has become increasingly accessible and relevant while ticking some very important business boxes around speed, resilience, reliability and cost. While it was gaining ground pre-COVID-19, particularly with larger enterprises that had large networks and large requirements, now it’s been adopted by organisations of all sizes. Organisations that want to sit on the edge of agility while they scurry to find long-term stability in the current environment. The pandemic was the proof point that the internet was a strong enough connectivity layer, that the business could bypass the costly MPLS experience in favour of software and redefined connectivity. And, of course, in favour of improved cost efficiencies. Alongside robust and reliable communications and connectivity, SDN has offered the business financial respite in times of tightened CAPEX budgets and increased financial pressure. However, this goes beyond just offering a cheap service - this perception can oversimplify the value that SDN brings to the organisation and potentially result in poor decision making. Companies run the risk of jumping onto the SDN bandwagon because it’s the cheapest, not because it’s the best fit for the business. While SDN does deliver value, this value must be embedded from the outset and genuinely contribute to enabling the business.

The shine in SDN maturity

SDN has matured and brought with it a bouquet of benefits that can deliver long-term value to the organisation:

SDN weaves these benefits into its very fabric, giving the business the space it needs to pivot and adapt to changing market conditions without the weight of CAPEX and admin. It has proven its worth over the past two years, and will continue to evolve and adapt to business demands as it gains ground and popularity.

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