Enterprises are redefining their branches as part of their digital transformation strategy, and for many, a one-size-fits-all wide area network (WAN) is no longer a viable solution. Trends, such as cloud computing, video collaboration, virtualized applications, and the internet of things (IoT) are driving change in network architecture. And frequently the way to address those changes is through software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solutions, which offer a new and promising alternative for businesses seeking to enact a digital transformation.

Branches Are Changing

According to IT research firm Gartner, “WAN edge infrastructure is changing rapidly” in today’s IT landscape. Networking professionals face the challenge of “dynamic business requirements, including changing application architectures.”

Today, a branch can be anything and anywhere: from a regional headquarters to a remote clinic, from a mall kiosk to an unmanned substation. In fact, 83 percent of enterprises are increasing their number of WAN-connected remote sites.

Of course, it isn’t only where the branches are that’s different — it’s also what happens everyday inside them. Depending on their nature, these locations all have distinct needs in terms of IT infrastructure, applications and connectivity. The ways people work and communicate, the services that they provide their customers, and the coordination that occurs machine-to-machine are all constantly transforming based on technological shifts and developments.

All of this activity, meanwhile, is enabled by applications that are changing, expanding and moving to the cloud. However, cloud applications must be able to access high-performing networks and communicate securely in order for businesses to carry out the digital transformations that they require in an evolving IT landscape.

Changes Require a Redefined Branch Network

To properly address these changes, you need a new kind of branch network that’s capable of handling them. Having a redefined branch network will ensure that your apps in the cloud are always available, your machine functions are always on, every communication is secure, and your users have a consistently high-quality experience.

What’s more, all of these features need to be delivered without piling on extra stacks of appliances and layers of complexity for your IT team to manage. The emerging WAN Edge solution is consolidating multiple network services and centrally managing them, and nearly half of all businesses prefer to consume that branch infrastructure as virtual network functions instead of dedicated appliances.

Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN is That Network

To resolve these issues, more and more organizations are turning to SD-WAN solutions. Gartner projects that by the end of 2017, more than 40 percent of WAN edge infrastructure refresh initiatives will use vCPE platforms or SD-WAN solutions, a dramatic increase from less than 5 percent in March 2017.

SD-WAN solutions enable you to do many things. They include support for hybrid WAN connectivity, direct access to the cloud from remote sites, and increased visibility and control capabilities in order to boost application performance. In an EMA Research survey, 42 percent of users mentioned improved application performance as a top business driver for adopting SD-WAN, while improved network security was a top priority for 34 percent.

With an SD-WAN approach, your business can embrace new ways of working and transition applications confidently to the cloud, all while simplifying your operations and preserving agility for your business. Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN provides always-on access to applications, regardless of where they’re hosted. The solution ensures a high-quality end user experience for all apps, securely connects branch locations to the cloud, and encourages efficiency and agility by simplifying operations and centralizing management.

Hear and learn how these branch changes should be driving change in your network directly from EMA in an exclusive on-demand webinar from Citrix.

Join us for the On-Demand Webinar: SD-WAN Redefined with EMA and Citrix.