Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) occupy a strange space when it comes to technology, but that certainly doesn't mean it's a bad space. There's a lot to be said for having the flexibility — or, if you're fond of buzzwords, "pivotability" — to adopt new technology at a small scale and on short notice. That's especially true now that the vendor world has gone crazy for pay-as-you-go or subscription services. When you have access to the enterprise world's crème de la crème without paying enterprise-level invoices, the world is your oyster.
Enter SD-WAN for UCaaS. The burgeoning technology is frequently pitched as a tool for enterprise users, but its core ability is to increase digital communication quality while simultaneously slashing the amount of bandwidth those communications require. That's often very well aligned with the SMB world's need for flexibility and scalability in solutions. For instance, if inadequate data connectivity options or data costs are keeping your company from fully realizing cloud-based communications, this technology could open new doors for you.
Those are just a few ways the technology can help small businesses as the world moves to cloud communications — and cloud everything else, for that matter. Here's a look at how the technology promotes scalability for SMBs:
A Brief Primer on SD-WAN for UCaaS
Of course, understanding what the technology does is key to grasping how it can help your company. The application of SD-WAN technology to UCaaS is all about enhanced digital communications quality and efficient bandwidth usage. It actively monitors all the traffic a business generates on all its data connections, locates dynamic communication traffic as it's being generated, and finds the best possible path for it at any given moment.
If that elevator pitch is a little dry on paper, the real-world results can be downright exciting. Businesses of all sizes can realize a substantial optimization of bandwidth usage with the technology, resulting in a number of positive outcomes. The business suffering from poor call and video quality on a commercial broadband connection may see a significant uptick in quality with a need for a faster connection, while the organization that overspends on a costly private circuit to keep its communications clean may be able to move to a lower package or switch providers altogether.
Peace Out, Private Circuit
Further, that potential reliance on a private circuit may be one of the best reasons for an SMB organization to consider this technology, especially if the company pays for it at more than one location. Because the technology can be deployed in multiple sites (such as across a regional grocery store's half-dozen locations or in numerous cafes run by an area coffee chain), the combined savings grows with every line a company reduces or eliminates. That's the kind of figure that "really adds up," as the accounting types are fond of saying.
However, the advantages can go beyond simple savings in certain business situations. For example, take the midsize organization that wants to move to a more affordable digital communications package across locations, but can't due to a smattering of sites only having access to ill-fitting or substandard internet products. With SD-WAN, the company now has options beyond sticking with its standard PBX solution or overspending for a handful of locations to go on the private circuit.
In all of these situations (and others), the technology promotes scalability because it is scalable and has the capability to link distributed SMB locations across a region, state, or even country. More, it promotes growth for single-location and distributed businesses alike by giving those businesses more options for the communication and data tools they choose. Not bad for "just" a communications solution.
Consistency in Motion
Other scale-friendly factors come on the administrative side. As any growing organization knows, rapidly opening multiple locations comes with a million intricacies to master and manage in terms of the products and services they need — and once you have the initial ruffles smoothed out, long-term management is still a concern.
Though it's a business communications tool on its face, the right SD-WAN for UCaaS product can help in areas as far-reaching as hardware. For one example, look at purchasing business-class networking equipment such as firewall appliances and routers. A competent SD-WAN for UCaaS product includes strong firewall capability out of the box. Beyond the short-term savings this represents, having built-in support from the same people who manage your communication quality of service (QoS) can be immensely helpful in the long-term, a perk that only grows as the number of businesses in your stable does.
Then there's the ability to work over numerous data connections. Even small distributed companies in the same city or region must often deal with multiple communications providers. This can result in inconsistent service quality, among other problems that scale alongside the business. A product that keeps communication quality roughly equivalent at every site, then, can be a big advantage over time. Instead of dealing with that one shop's inability to stay connected, you can feel safe knowing your QoS solution will switch seamlessly to your failover option as your internet provider fixes the problem for the tenth time that month.
Ease of administration and monitoring is also a useful feature in growing organizations, particularly when they've reached the point where they need dedicated IT staff. Worthwhile solutions include deep insight into performance at all linked locations. In turn, this can help tech staff make decisions, perform diagnostics, and carry out other tasks for multiple locations from a central post, thus keeping them from bouncing from location to location and saving the business time, effort, and mileage invoices. As another added benefit for IT teams — as well as their employees and customers — included encryption features bolster privacy at every endpoint location. Besides ensuring the company's hybrid network receives consistent privacy protection at every stop, this mitigates concerns over multiple connection types and reduces the effort and system resources companies must spend to keep a thumb on potentially malicious activity.
Technology's role as a democratizer is on full display in the business world. While some cutting-edge solutions do only make sense at certain (read: large) operational levels, others can be every bit as useful for SMB organizations. SD-WAN for UCaaS certainly fits that bill for smaller organizations on the upward path. If growth is a concern unto itself — or you just want better communication quality and bandwidth efficiency at your growing stable of locations — give it a look.
Visit Vonage Business to learn more about enterprise communications solutions that improve scalability, flexibility, and consistency.