December 08, 2021 | Michael Flannery

Leading the WAN evolution: Embracing change for a more secure and connected future

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Michael Flannery, Chief Marketing Officer

Michael Flannery

Michael Flannery is chief marketing officer at Windstream Enterprise. He is responsible for overseeing marketing, product development, product management, go-to-market strategy, brand strategy, and demand and digital strategies. Additionally, he oversees customer retention and inside sales for Windstream’s mid-market and enterprise segments.
Summary: As we celebrate the fifth year of offering our SD-WAN solution, we do so while ushering in the next wave of network innovation—Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). The evolution of our network and security solutions is a challenging but necessary process that enables us to keep up with the pace of change, accelerate digital transformation and unlock value for customers. Why do we choose evolution, even when it may be hard? The answer is simple: We do it for you.

While reflecting on the fifth anniversary of our SD-WAN solution, I found immense gratitude as a result of our journey. Grateful because we made a bet on “what’s next,” and our clients have benefitted tremendously as a result. Five years ago, we realized that traditional WAN architectures, like MPLS, weren’t going to propel our customers’ businesses into the future. Companies were struggling to find network solutions that offered the flexibility and security required to support cloud-based applications and services—along with unrivaled network availability to ensure better employee and customer experiences.

The 2016 launch of our SD-WAN solutions suite established our position in the marketplace as an early adopter. Embracing a forward-thinking mindset transformed Windstream Enterprise from “just another network security provider” into a software powerhouse that is fueling the next era of secure business connectivity and communications.

How did we know?

Five years ago, how did we deploy a solution that the market needed in the future? That answer is easy: we listened. Our solution development roadmap is informed by numerous things, including industry analysts, competitive changes, macro market evolutions and new market entrants. These continue to be sources that guide our roadmap. However, the single most important input into our development priorities is you, our enterprise client. We listened to you—and better yet, we acted.

An investment in you.

While it’s not always easy to embrace future-forward thinking, our commitment to our customers requires exactly that—without disrupting the digital experience.

Because we saw the tides were changing in our industry, we leapt at the opportunity to invest in the future—specifically, your future. As expected, we’ve proven once again that the success of Windstream Enterprise is inextricably intertwined with the success of our clients.

Windstream Enterprise has demonstrated leadership in product innovation unlike any other leading provider of cloud-enabled connectivity, communications and security services:

  • We now have more than 30k enterprise locations connected with our SD-WAN solution, with over 20k installations
  • Windstream Enterprise was one of the first providers to create a digital experience that gives customers the complete visibility and control they need, integrating voice, security and other offerings into a single pane of glass, along with ticketing and order status, via our award winning WE Connect portal
  • Our Insight Engine and advanced co-management capabilities continue to differentiate us in the marketplace by filtering out the noise and putting what’s important at the forefront of the digital experience

Together, our future is bright.

Although these initial investments have paid off, I’m here to tell you that we’ve only just begun. Windstream Enterprise has big plans for what’s next with SD-WAN, namely via the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), an emerging framework melding enterprise networking and security into a single construct.

Sixty-four percent of businesses are planning to adopt SASE by the next year,1 and this rapid industry acceptance demonstrates the need for “anytime, anywhere” solutions that can deliver secure access (both on-site and remote) at scale. That’s why Windstream Enterprise has been laser-focused on building a seamless offering that combines SD-WAN’s efficiencies with a more flexible, user-centric approach to securing remote workers and cloud applications.

I’ve never been more optimistic about the future—for Windstream Enterprise and our service clients. We’re always building toward “what’s next” and we’re excited to share these upcoming innovations with you.

References

  1. “64% of businesses are adopting or plan to adopt SASE in the next year.” Security Magazine. June 16, 2021.


Key takeaway: At Windstream Enterprise, we aren’t afraid of change—we embrace it. Our clients have been, and will continue to be, the most critical ingredient to our success. That’s why we were early to evolve with SD-WAN, and you can expect the same for SASE, too.
Chief Marketing Officer

Michael Flannery

Michael Flannery is chief marketing officer at Windstream Enterprise. He is responsible for overseeing marketing, product development, product management, go-to-market strategy, brand strategy, and demand and digital strategies. Additionally, he oversees customer retention and inside sales for Windstream’s mid-market and enterprise segments.