Demand for SD-WAN is at an all-time high, and more and more businesses are looking to MSPs for help setting up and managing this new expanded network environment. In fact, in Futuriom’s recent survey of enterprise end-users, 83% said that their awareness of SD-WAN managed service offerings has grown in the past year.
That means now is a crucial time for MSPs to differentiate from the competition, scale the business and maximize revenue through an advanced, differentiated offering. Juniper Networks’ AI-driven SD-WAN solution can provide that differentiation.
The Network is Critical
Over the past few years there have been several trends of importance to an MSP’s business. The biggest, perhaps, is the adjustment to work from home and work from anywhere scenarios – a transition that was accelerated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Strongly related to this is the fact that cloud services have been proven to work, and any organizations that hadn’t completed that transition before the pandemic, quickly moved to do so in the months that followed.
Today’s network users are primarily mobile, and digital is quickly replacing all things physical. Endpoints and devices have proliferated to the point where there is no longer a perimeter that can be easily protected. In addition, the return to work and offices will provide yet another challenge to organizations, as businesses will likely shift to more of a hybrid environment.
The end-user experience, however, has become the key factor in any service discussion. Customers just want their video calls to work, their documents to load and their applications to run every time they need them. MSPs need to provide customers with an excellent experience, no matter how they are connecting to the network.
The end-user experience isn’t just about employees using the network, however; it’s also about those servicing it. As the pandemic recovery continues and employees are leaving organizations for greener pastures, more work is shifting to MSPs as a way to limit the burden on a company’s IT staff. This helps IT teams to apply their talents to more mission-critical tasks – and at the same time, improves the organization’s chances at retaining them.
Legacy solutions focused on the connectivity, not the experience provided to users. A conventional, complex WAN has unpredictable service quality for multicloud, public cloud and other business-critical applications. MSPs simply cannot manage the networks and needs of today’s users with outdated WAN technologies; there’s too much complexity involved. In this legacy model, technical debt continues to mount and leads to reducing overall business stability.
Customers rely on MSPs to provide an excellent experience from client to cloud. Therefore, the only clear answer is to bring experience, intelligence and simplified network operations to the network itself.
Optimizing the user experience starts by making sure customer traffic gets where it needs to be quickly – and without encountering any issues along the way. To do this, MSPs need traffic visibility and control.
Juniper’s Session Smart technology, part of its AI-driven SD-WAN solution, can grant that visibility and help MSPs by automatically making dynamic routing decisions, i.e., identifying the best route to ensure traffic gets where it should, as fast as possible, maintaining the end-user experience.
With Session Smart technology, Juniper can give an MSP the power to direct traffic to travel the strongest, fastest route to its destination, eliminating the degradation and delays inherent in shoving all traffic through the same tunnel.
Ease of Management
Ease of management is critically important to MSPs. In order to scale their businesses, MSPs are continually looking for a way to do more, such as adding more features or functionality, or the ability to manage an even greater number of clients. As an MSP grows, the value of a single dashboard that can grant visibility into the status of all customers at once increases exponentially. A single, unified view makes it easy to pinpoint specific problems and act quickly to solve them.
Juniper’s AI-driven SD-WAN solution is built on an open, API-driven architecture that MSPs can easily integrate with their own environment or that of their customers. This empowers them to deploy fast, scale and integrate up and down as customer demand dictates.
At the same time, spending fewer hours on lower-value tasks can also free up team members to deliver more business-critical solutions to customers. This can give an MSP the time it needs to add additional services and solutions that could enhance a customer’s environment and improve the MSP’s bottom line.
By improving network visibility and decreasing the time and stress of managing multiple customer engagements, Juniper’s AI-driven SD-WAN solution opens the door for MSPs to become more proactive with their customers. Many MSPs get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks of the job, stopping them from doing anything but reacting to issues as they arise. Often, responses are prioritized based on who the most important (or highest-paying) customer is, as they’re the ones most important to keep happy.
There are simply not enough employees or enough hours in the day to do more than what’s absolutely necessary to keep customers’ businesses running at full speed. Becoming more proactive changes that, though. With additional time and visibility tools in an MSP’s toolbelt, it becomes easier to get a step ahead of any issues, often finding and solving problems before customers are even aware of them. Proactivity reduces support tickets and even the number of house calls needed to identify and repair an issue.
Information availability leads to better actions that help make an MSP-customer connection even stronger.
The Benefits of AI
Sophisticated AIOps, that only Juniper Networks can deliver, is the key to helping MSPs to quickly identify and resolve network problems. More than just a detection solution, Juniper’s AI-driven SD-WAN, driven by Mist, can speed the time-to-repair. In many cases, whether an MSP is at fault for an error or not, the customer views them as the owner of the issue and expects a fast fix.
Juniper Mist WAN Assurance (Figure 3) feature uses the power of AI to help team members troubleshoot a specific issue. Perhaps there is latency in places, or some employees are experiencing dropped video calls. When a technician begins to investigate the issue there are many, many potential causes to investigate as they work their way down the checklist. By utilizing AI, however, they can be immediately guided toward what the most likely cause of the problem is, and then spend their time fixing it, instead of going through a series of trial-and-error actions until they arrive at the issue.
Juniper’s Virtual Network Assistant, Marvis, can leverage conversational AI technology to greatly improve an MSP’s operations and ability to respond to issues. Imagine a scenario where a team member has identified a problem in a customer’s network, but they’ve never experienced that issue before, not to mention repaired it. It could even be that the implementation is so old that those who worked on it or serviced it before are no longer at the company or the MSP. This is where Marvis can help.
Marvis enables an MSP’s technician to ask it a question about a network issue. The AI-powered solution will then provide an answer that pinpoints the fixes that need to be taken to restore everything to working order. The questioning can be done using regular, everyday language as well – no specific or special language knowledge is necessary. This continues the positive experience, as there is no delay between identifying a problem and fixing it.
The Right Solution
Juniper’s AI-Driven SD-WAN technology can truly bring both innovative network experiences to MSP customers and substantial benefits to the bottom line. It ensures that MSPs deliver a positive customer experience from day one, and one that will grow as their business grows.
For more information on how Juniper’s AI-driven SD-WAN solution can help your MSP succeed, visit the Managed AI-Driven SD-WAN solutions page.