Today’s guest blog post comes from Ronan Murray, Operations Services Manager at LeasePlan.

With 6,800 full-time employees spread out across 110 offices in over 30 countries, LeasePlan is a truly global company. Accessing a car has never been easier thanks to their full-service lease offering, with a fleet of 1.7 million vehicles… and counting.

LeasePlan’s mission is to provide innovative, sustainable vehicle leasing solutions, no matter who you are or where you need to be, so you can focus on what’s next. Only one thing rivals the flexibility and availability of their inventory: their network.

While LeasePlan is a longtime NetScaler, XenApp, and XenDesktop customer, it was the NetScaler SD-WAN offering that caught Global Infrastructure Manager Ronan Murray’s attention in 2015. “At the time, we were reviewing our global network contract with third party carriers and it seemed like a great opportunity to improve availability, reduce costs, and enhance security,” says Murray.

LeasePlan did a proof of concept with Citrix, which confirmed NetScaler SD-WAN’s value to the business. It met the expectations of various groups within the organization across technical, financial, managerial, and architectural related spectrums.

SD-WAN provided total availability, increased bandwidth, enhanced capacity, optimized the end user experience by prioritizing certain applications and network traffic all while reducing costs. In addition, SD-WAN enhances the benefits and functionality which LeasePlan derives from the cloud through its ability to deliver secure local breakouts to their branch based users — thus reducing the traffic demands on cloud services and improving the user experience.

“Who doesn’t love greater availability at a reduced cost?” Murray asked.

Time to market is another major advantage for LeasePlan. SD-WAN can bring up a branch in a matter of days, as long as there is already an internet connection.

MPLS circuits are typically expensive, even in Western Europe. SD-WAN allowed LeasePlan to increase efficiency and reduce costs using commodity DSL internet circuits and even 4G. With branch locations scattered through all Nordic countries and the far reaches of Western Europe, 3000 km away from the data center, SD-WAN presented the perfect use case. Murray remarks, “[with SD-WAN,] No matter what your particular challenge is, SD-WAN delivers on all of them.”

“[SD-WAN is] going to explode in 2018…,” Murray predicts. The U.S. is reaching early maturity in its adoption rate, but LeasePlan is a SD-WAN pioneer within EMEA. The opportunities SD-WAN offers EMEA are enormous, but very few companies are using it and few providers are offering it yet.

SD-WAN is a critical component of LeasePlan’s larger, fast-paced digital transformation journey. The entire company is quickly becoming cloud-focused on an IT level while making substantial shifts in their internal organization. The result is a much more agile, flexible, elastic, and scalable organization that slashes the time necessary to make decisions and implement solutions. Dependency on legacy data center-based applications has become a thing of the past, and the cloud is the future.

When you take the rapid pace of change and advancement into account, it’s all too easy to understand why “What’s Next?” is LeasePlan’s favorite question.