The SD-WAN market is at an important inflection point. We are now past the early visionary stage of adopters of “Gen1” products. As exciting as that market segment was, it was the smallest part of the SD-WAN market. As the majority of enterprises are now looking at SD-WAN, they have a new set of requirements. Winning with this set of customers is very different from winning the early visionaries and requires “Gen2” SD-WAN. This set of customers presents a massive market opportunity — analysts forecast it to be $8.05B in 2021. This stage of the market is going to define a new set of winners and losers. The partners that avoid falling into the chasm will be the ones that adopt a Gen2 mentality.
The two most important decisions partners have to make:
- Which SD-WAN products to sell – the ones that fulfill Gen2 requirements
- How to structure GTM with the Gen2 SD-WAN vendor to succeed
1. Which SD-WAN products to sell – Gen2 products
Gen2 SD-WAN is more than just enabling broadband usage in the enterprise instead of MPLS. The early majority market requires the following incremental capabilities:
- Application-policy based management, visibility, and troubleshooting. Relying on traditional networking alone fails the cloud-readiness test. The cloud is not an IP-address. The cloud is an application. Don’t be misled by marketing claims – ask powerful questions such as, ”Can the SD-WAN provide SLA controls for cloud apps using a single-sided device deployed at the branch?”
- Delivery of cloud applications WITHOUT the need for “bookends” or “pops” in the cloud. POP-based architectures don’t scale to the enterprise that wants broad-based cloud adoption. Security and availability issues plague these solutions at scale.
- Security: Integration of best-of-breed cloud security “All-in-one” mediocre security + mediocre SDWAN blobs don’t cut it for the early majority enterprise. Native integration of best-of-breed cloud-security products such as Palo Alto Prisma, Zscaler, CheckPoint, NetSkope, etc. are essential.
- Data – Control separation sounds exotic. It’s not. It simply means your customer’s data flows should NEVER traverse the SD-WAN controller. Good SD-WAN controllers are multi-tenant and cloud-hosted. Your customer’s data should not have to traverse the controller but should be direct from the branch SD-WAN device to the application-server. This architecture is essential to avoid security vulnerabilities and downtime. This is the reason Gen1 products are being regularly replaced in enterprise customers where early Gen1 deployments were made.
- Infrastructure-as-code and API-led models of deployment that eliminate errors, enable scale, and provide automation across product sets are a game-changer. Customers have reported saving $550,000 per 100 sites deployed using Infra-as-code deployment models with Gen2 SD-WAN.
- Data and AI-powered products that use a centralized data-lake and API based architecture to enable Autonomous functions. Just as AI enables self-driving cars, G2 SD-WAN products offer self-driving networks that eliminate manual interventions and increase business uptime.
It’s no surprise that CloudGenix partners have taken the SD-WAN market by storm, winning deals against “Gen1” SDWAN products from the likes of Cisco and velocloud in addition to massive new greenfield opportunities. Gen1 products fall short of customer needs for cloud enablement, deep application, and network visibility and integrated security. This article outlines a 2000 site replacement of Gen1 SD-WAN with CloudGenix.
2. How to structure GTM with the Gen2 SD-WAN vendor to succeed
Gen2 partners are not legacy “box pushers.” Gen2 partners build a highly scalable model to succeed in the cloud-generation of customers. This requires setting expectations of partnership in GTM with the SD-WAN vendor:
- Your vendor’s sales and sales engineering resources should only get paid when you get paid. Work with vendors that are 100% channel with ZERO channel conflicts. The pace of market adoption is too fast to deal with conflicts with vendors that run direct sales vs. channel sales.
- A corollary to working with a 100% channel vendor is to ensure that the vendor has world-class sales and engineering resources that can co-campaign with you. To bring innovation to the majority enterprise, you need to scale yourself with vendor resources. It’s a two-way partnership, not a one-way street.
- Expect your vendor to jointly engage to invest in MDF and lead generation. Not waiting for post-success but investing to succeed. Investing in a growth and majority market is very different from the early cautious approaches.
- The early majority relies on reference selling a lot. These customers want to hear from others in their industry or vertical. Ensure that your SD-WAN vendor has an aggressive approach to responding to your requests for customer references for your campaigns. Protect your customers and grow your business.
CloudGenix partners enjoy working with a Gen2 vendor who provides engineering and sales resources for campaigns, is 100% channel, and aggressively invests in MDF. With the largest number of Fortune 500 customers, CloudGenix has references in every vertical at every scale-point.
The early phase of SD-WAN adoption was exciting, but the massive $8B+ market opportunity is ahead of us. Partners and vendors who were lulled into their pre-chasm success will not be the ones that dominate the majority market. The ones that recognize this foundational shift will succeed. Adopt the Gen2 mentality now and partner with Gen2 CloudGenix SD-WAN.