Large Enterprises Prefer Tailored Managed Network Solutions

Enterprises are increasingly relying on managed network service providers to keep their business operations running reliably. But according to the survey, enterprises aren’t opting for just any service provider that offers WAN connections.

Rather they are trending toward specialty service providers that have high-touch customer service, vertical market expertise, and offer managed applications specifically tailored to their business, according to a recent survey of executives and IT leaders at large U.S. companies by Boston-based market research firm, Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB).

CMB surveyed 342 decision makers at large distributed enterprises with WANs ranging from 100 to more than 500 networked sites, and typically more than 5,000 employees. The study was commissioned by Hughes Network Systems, a provider of broadband satellite solutions and services, and a leading provider of managed network services.

Respondents told us that their IT departments are stretched thin. They are increasingly turning to managed network providers in order to free internal resources so they can work on more proactive projects,” said Chris Neal, vice president and technology practice leader at CMB. No surprise there. What did surprise us is that it’s no longer enough to just offer WAN pipes.” Enterprises are seeking providers who offer unwavering customer service and deeply understand their unique applications.”

For example, a large fast-food franchise needs more than site-to-site connectivity these days. It’s looking for expertise in restaurant operations and the ability to deliver industry-specific solutions like managed PCI Wi-Fi security, digital signage, or employee video training over the WAN.

Strong customer support is by far the most important criterion for  large enterprises when selecting a managed services provider (nearly 4 times as important as technical criteria such as the provider’s network architecture), followed by strong SLAs, a provider’s understanding of their unique business applications and related industry expertise. Combined, these top criteria account for nearly two-thirds of all the weight in an enterprise’s final MSP selection. The need for WAN optimization was another key finding in the research.

The net-net of the CMB study is that enterprises are stretched thin, need to do more with less, yet can’t afford to fall behind their competitors technologically. Industry knowledge and great customer service is what matters most to enterprises now. Managed service providers, like Hughes, who can deliver those values — and make their applications run faster — will ultimately win the day,” said Mike Cook, senior vice president at Hughes.

Many enterprises rely on ordinary DSL or cable broadband to network a majority of their distributed sites. Investing in major upgrades to their WAN infrastructure isn’t currently feasible. Yet they are under growing competitive pressure to deploy advanced, bandwidth-hungry applications across their WAN.

A majority of large enterprises (55 percent) have boosting application performance over their WAN as a top network infrastructure priority in the near-term future. Consequently, a majority of respondents favor providers with managed WAN optimization technologies that overlay their existing slower WANs, providing WAN acceleration and Quality of Service (QoS) performance without the associated costs and complexities.

By Team

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