Corporate WANs underperforming, says Telia Carrier study

According to the findings from Telia Carrier, security and service flexibility were the biggest pain points among businesses, with 55% and 43% respectively believing corporate WANs to be insufficient in these areas.

Also frequently cited as concerns in Telia Carrier’s research, entitled ‘Enterprise network insights 2020: transforming the corporate WAN’, were supplier performance (36%) and network congestion (35%).

90% of respondents revealed that their enterprises rely on the public Internet for some or all of their WAN services, while 48% said the impact of a corporate WAN outage exceeding 24 hours would be catastrophic.

With WAN capabilities still evolving, suppliers are needing to improve customer experience, and the WAN ecosystem is proving to not be fully understood by businesses, the latter of which has led to knowledge gaps about the Internet and its various tiers.

Only half of survey respondents (US: 57%; France: 56%; UK: 49%; Germany: 37%) rate their understanding of how the Internet backbone works as very good or excellent.

In addition, almost two-thirds (France: 74%; Germany: 62%; US: 62%; UK: 49%) believe that public Internet connectivity doesn’t greatly vary between suppliers.

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“Network-development strategies, unfortunately, appear to be missing the backbone piece of the puzzle,” said Mattias Fridström, chief evangelist at Telia Carrier.

“This means that Tier 1 suppliers, such as telcos and carriers, are often overlooked when it comes to choosing a method to build their WANs and connect to the cloud.”

Future supplier relationships

Looking forward, the top three priorities that were cited when choosing a local network partner or ISP were bandwidth (40%), service flexibility (36%) and customer support (29%).

Over a third (38%), meanwhile, confirmed that they now only shortlist suppliers with a strong commitment to sustainability – in France, this rises to 55%.

Of those who don’t include sustainability in their initial selection criteria, 42% say it helps them choose between the final candidates (US: 46%; UK & Germany: 45%; France: 28%).

In addition, the vast majority (95%) are willing to pay a premium for a sustainable supplier of 5% or more, while only a fifth said they choose suppliers solely on the basis of price and performance.

In terms of tech developments, 90% said they would like their network partners to adopt more machine-to-machine workflows and automation to enhance their services, and 68% said they already use APIs to achieve real-time visibility of their network performance, or control of their network infrastructure.

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“If organisations really want to create the networks that transform their businesses, whilst controlling costs and reducing their carbon footprint, their leaders may need to review their strategies for the next three to five years,” added Fridström.

“Network providers can be strategic partners in the growth and development of enterprises — if they’re aligned with enterprises’ needs.”

The study from Telia Carrier surveyed 414 respondents in the US, the UK, Germany and France online, in July and August 2020. The vast majority of respondents (85%) held leadership roles, e.g. at C-suite level, and more than half (56%) said they had the last word in network development strategy.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.

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