Why Business Resilience and Network Agility Are Here to Stay


It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like no other. When the pandemic first hit, we weren’t sure what would happen, for ourselves or our customers. What we did know was that we were going to do everything we could to help our customers not only stay in business but adapt their businesses in new and innovative ways. The resilience our customers have shown this year is truly inspiring.

In the early stages of the crisis, our customers were looking to make the most of the technology they already had in place. In some cases, this was enough. Others quickly realized that as they made adjustments to better support their employees and customers, their network technology needs had changed as well.

Many businesses quickly implemented new collaboration tools and security protocols to support a new remote workforce, manage operations remotely by creating virtual workspaces, offload applications to the cloud, or stand up new digital commerce platforms to serve customers. Through it all, Comcast Business is proud to have been able to serve our customers, and more importantly, help them pivot and adapt to the litany of changing business, customer, and employee needs.

Over the past year, we’ve been honored to receive recognition from several industry analysts and awards that confirm that we’re keeping pace with the market’s needs. We see this collective validation as a barometer for how enterprise digital transformation and IT needs are evolving as much as it is a testament to Comcast Business’ innovation strategy. Our product teams are always focused on anticipating our customer’s needs and providing them with the digital agility to help future-proof their businesses. Going forward, Comcast Business is ready to support digital-first business models with the expansion of the network edge, cloud migration, and security.

A robust foundation: bandwidth and network control

For companies seeking to ensure network resilience or taking steps to shift from legacy to software-defined networking, the ability to adeptly manage multiple network connections and existing architectures are crucial. For new SD-WAN customers, this allows the ability to support various architectures and technologies without requiring a full replacement of hardware and systems. Once implemented, the application-aware traffic routing and network segmentation of SD-WAN allows IT teams to have much more control when adjusting to new business needs, managing bandwidth, and prioritizing mission-critical operations.

Frost & Sullivan believes that the pressure on network managers to optimize networks as businesses adapt to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will increase the attractiveness of broadband and wireless services with SD-WAN. Frost & Sullivan’s recent recognition of our ActiveCore platform with the Customer Value Leadership Award emphasized the value of being able to access several self-service tools for network administrators to gain insight into network performance and manage policies through a portal - all of which improves operational efficiency. This single-pane-of-glass view for IT teams across WAN components (transport and network functions) offers a high level of network visibility and control needed to quickly respond to changing business needs.

Earlier this year, Comcast Business was also presented with the Data Value award from Atlantic-ACM, given to the large service provider who receives the highest combined ratings for the perceived quality and price competitiveness of their data service offerings. This recognition is especially meaningful because the recipients are determined by detailed user reviews from over 1,200 unique customers who provided more than 3,400 carrier-specific evaluations of service level and product quality for their current providers. Customer input like this confirms that we are supporting them in the right ways.

Best-in-class technology: flexibility and choice

This year has taught us the value of flexibility. The ability to be flexible will serve business leaders well as we navigate the coming months and years of what will likely be a hybrid model of remote and in-office working. This shift, along with the uptick of digital commerce, has spurred a cloud-based application-centric approach for many organizations. In a recent PwC survey, almost 75% of finance leaders said they were planning for a more agile business environment going forward; saying that the cloud’s flexible cost and scalable service will be an important component of this agility.

As companies continue -- or in many cases, accelerate -- their digital transformation and cloud adoption, performance and user experience will need to take center stage. SD-WAN solutions will rise or fall based on their ease of use and ability to orchestrate and optimize applications, integrate security, and onramp the cloud.

We’re confident that our ActiveCore platform offers enterprises the advanced virtualized network functions and orchestration capabilities they need to accommodate an increasingly digital-centric future. This has been achieved in large part through our partnership with Versa Networks, a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Report for WAN Edge Infrastructure. Versa’s strengths include a comprehensive solution with strong capabilities in networking, cloud access integrations, and security.

Earlier this year, Comcast Business became one of the first and only service providers to receive MEF 3.0 certification for our SD-WAN offering. The MEF 3.0 SD-WAN certification verifies that providers have services and products that conform to the industry-leading SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services (MEF 70) global standard. As many IT decision-makers know, a standard is particularly helpful for buying decisions as they try to sort through the roughly 70 separate SD-WAN options available. Enterprises now have a reference to help determine if a product or service meets their networking use cases and service resiliency requirements.

Managed network services: expertise, scalability, cost

From working with customers, we know that many organizations will need to adjust and optimize their WANs on an ongoing basis, but don’t have the internal expertise to make the desired changes themselves. We also know that IT managers are juggling even more responsibilities and decisions since COVID-19 hit and maybe working with a reduced staff. Therefore, integrating a software-defined architecture can present management challenges for enterprises that are considering a do-it-yourself approach. Besides de-risking SD-WAN deployment, a managed services provider can bring significant commercial benefits including a cloud consumption model, integration of full-scale security capabilities, uniform service-level agreements (SLAs), access to pre-tested multi-vendor virtual functions, and integrated self-service portals.

As the SD-WAN market has matured in the last few years, Nemertes has been tracking a dramatic shift in the market: from do-it-yourself deployments to managed ones. According to their research, one of the big potential benefits of rolling out SD-WAN is that SD-WAN tools can, through virtualization and centralization of management, make running a modern WAN easier. As a part of their Next-Generation Networks research, they collected information on participants’ primary SD-WAN solution providers. Participants rated providers on a scale of zero to ten based on how likely they would be to recommend their current provider to others (zero = would never; 10 = would always). Scores averaged 7.71, with a range from 6.75 to 8.25. We are thrilled that among our esteemed peers, Comcast Business received the highest average rating at 8.25 and received the Nemertes Pilothouse Award for Managed SD-WAN 2020.

Looking forward to 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect how companies do business today and in the future. It has forced many of us to think about our businesses differently. And digital transformation has been widely recognized as a pivotal element for business resilience and growth.

At Comcast Business, we will continue to focus on broadening our portfolio based on the needs of businesses undergoing a transformation: moving workloads to the cloud, integrating a distributed workforce, and providing the flex and scale they need to meet their growing infrastructure needs. We will continue to design offerings for organizations of all sizes that can help fundamentally change the way businesses operate - offering managed and professional services to help balance the load. 2020 has been a year of uncertainty and change, but we will continue to provide the support and services the industry has come to expect.

See how the Comcast Business ActiveCoreSM software-defined networking platform can help enable your digital-centric future.

This year has been all about helping our customers adapt and build business resilience.

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