One of the classic business strategy questions is: Do you make it yourself or buy it from someone else?

The original version of this question centered on product line decisions. Do you design and manufacture your product lineup or OEM the product from someone else? An OEM could add value in some other way, like wrapping services around the base product. Another approach would be to buy entry-level products and focus your in-house design and manufacturing on higher end versions with bells and whistles and better margins.

“Make or buy” is a foundational strategic question. As the economy evolves from manufacturing to digital commerce, the question has new importance even if the “product” isn’t always physical.

Make or buy decisions now define a lot of what IT leadership focuses on. Hybrid architectures, by definition, allow us to own some things, rent others, put our equipment in someone else’s facility and scale up or down as needed. But with high-profile topics like the cloud (Public? Private? Hybrid?) dominating conversations, it’s possible to overlook the need to re-engineer the network to accommodate increasing demands ranging from collaboration to hybridization to cybersecurity.

SD-WAN promises to address these issues by integrating networks made of different topologies and connection types through an overlay that allows central control of the whole network. SD-WAN offers flexibility, cost savings and security for your disparate WAN environment.  As an SD-WAN advocate, I see the many benefits it offers organizations such as yours.

I’m not the only one to see the opportunity in this market. Companies looking to implement an SD-WAN strategy face lots of choices when it comes to vendors and consultants. It also presents another make-or-buy decision since you could build it yourself or bring on a managed solution like CenturyLink’s award-winning service.

My advice is to use SD-WAN as a chance to start laying a foundation that will grow and evolve for the next 10 to 15 years. DIY SD-WAN can be assembled from a variety of sources. But you will still need to manage it, and extend it, as new connections are required or new technologies become available. The DIY approach – or the “make” part of this particular make-or-buy decision – helps with today’s problems.

But, SD-WAN can be a step in re-engineering the network for the future. When you’re ready to modernize your network infrastructure, it’s more important than ever to partner with an industry leader like CenturyLink. Not only do you get all the advantages of SD-WAN, you get the advantages of having IT experts manage it for you while you put your own people on customer-facing strategic initiatives and high leverage activities. You also get a partner with their eyes on the horizon.

SD-WAN solves real problems today. It also presents a new kind of “make or buy” decision to IT leaders. You want a partner who can help re-engineer your network over the long haul. Use SD-WAN as an inflection point and bring in a partner who can help you manage your infrastructure now and into the future.

Ready to see how SD-WAN will benefit your organization?  Talk to an IT expert today.

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