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Will Return to Office Bring WAN Changes?

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Picture of WAN switch
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In a recent No Jitter post, Irwin Lazar of IT research firm Metrigy, raises an issue that didn’t get a lot of attention during the pandemic period, but likely will become more pressing as end users return to offices, in whatever configuration that return takes place.
 
Irwin’s piece, “Evolving Your Network for Hybrid Work,” looks at all elements of the enterprise network — WiFi and broadband links for home workers, office LANs, and WANs. As Irwin points out, enterprises that plan to shift a significant portion of their workforce to part- or full-time remote work will have to address issues of security and quality of service from the kitchen tabletop (so to speak) all the way out to the cloud. So far, few enterprises seem to have attempted to tackle this challenge systematically.
 
But I want to highlight another piece of the puzzle that this post touches on: the WAN. Irwin recommends that enterprise decision-makers evaluate WAN technologies to ensure “all sites are capable of supporting high-quality video for however many employees are anticipated to be on site at any given time.”
 
The WAN is going to be challenging to get right until the dust settles post-pandemic — particularly for enterprises that are downsizing or reconfiguring their office space to serve fewer employees or a different mix. This is a challenge not just from the technology perspective — quality and security, as Irwin writes — but in terms of budget. That’s why I’m delighted that another one of our subject matter experts, Joe Schmidt of TechCaliber Consulting, is going to address this topic at Enterprise Connect 2021, coming to Orlando, Fla., this September.
 
Joe and his colleagues at TechCaliber are experts in negotiating service provider contracts, which could become a major thorn in your side as your enterprise rolls out its new hybrid work strategy. In planning the session with Joe, a couple of critical questions quickly emerged:
 
  • You likely have long-term WAN contracts for your office sites. What can you do if those contract commitments diverge from how you’ll use these sites post-pandemic?
  • How might increased use of video within the office affect your bandwidth needs, and how do you satisfy those needs (or even make the increased demand work to your advantage in negotiations)?
  • Which WAN services are most cost-effective for the new applications and usage patterns you’re likely to encounter when your enterprise’s return to office is complete?
  • How should you go into your next round of contract negotiations with your service provider? Where are you likely to have leverage, and how can you best use it?
  • Who within your enterprise organization should you be talking to now in order to understand the business’s plan for hybrid work, and its implications for WAN usage?
 
TechCaliber handles negotiations for some of the largest and most complex enterprise services deals out there, and Joe will bring a wealth of experience to this session. I’m looking forward to seeing Joe in person again in September, and I hope you can join us for this and dozens of other terrific sessions. Registration is open for the event, so if you’re able to sign up now, you’ll get our best pricing.

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