How a logistics firm leverages SD-WAN for competitive advantage

A gamble on a relatively unknown technology four years ago is paying off for a logistics company, which is using the software to shave millions of dollars off its bandwidth connectivity costs. Today freight forwarding company JAS Global is leveraging a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) to run cloud applications, according to JAS CIO Mark Baker. Eventually, Baker hopes to use the SD-WAN as the backbone of a predictive analytics strategy to grow the business.

SD-WANs allow companies to set up and manage networking functionality, including VPNs, WAN optimization, VoIP and firewalls, using software to program traffic routing typically conducted by routers and switches. Just as virtualization software disrupted the server market, SD-WANs are shaking the networking equipment market.

Cisco Systems earlier this month agreed to acquire SD-WAN startup Viptela for $610 million in a bid to accelerate its market strategy. A big driver for Cisco’s move is that SD-WANs are gaining traction in corporations, with over 3,000 paying customers and 100,000 branches deployed worldwide, according to Gartner.

JAS Global

JAS Global CIO Mark Baker

SD-WANs weren’t on many CIOs’ radars in 2012, which is when Baker first became acquainted with the technology. Baker was consolidating global IT operations, which after years of expansion had tacked on more subsidiaries, many of which ran their own accounting, warehousing and other transactional applications. After convincing the board and C-Suite that JAS should replace its custom software with available vendor applications, Baker selected one global ERP system from WiseTech Global, a logistics industry standard.

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