Our current provider charged astronomical prices for legacy MPLS WAN, and the installation time and cost to increase our speed would strain our budget. We finally concluded that a traditional WAN network was no longer the solution. A modern business needs flexibility, speed, reliability, and cost efficiency to expand sustainably, and the difference between commercial success and failure often lies with the technology a company selects. GRENKE decided to move to SD-WAN to become more agile and cost efficient, and we started a market analysis for SD-WAN providers that would fit our entrepreneurial spirit.
We Needed SD-WAN to Increase Our Agility
SD-WAN offers an array of options when configuring an internet connection. You can combine several data lines and customize connections to match user needs. This customization would provide us with outstanding flexibility in every global location, saving us time, money, and effort by only using what we need at each office. Another big plus was the ability to shape and set rules for traffic. With SD-WAN, we could separate traffic into different categories and priorities, which would help us avoid those end-of-month slowdowns that were characteristic of our existing setup.
Once we had decided that SD-WAN was the way to go, our consulting company connected us with several providers offering different SD-WAN migration packages. We compared several organizations based on price, features, and team spirit, and we could tell Riedel was the team for the job. Riedel had worldwide network experience in multiple countries and employed highly-skilled technicians at their service center in Germany, eliminating time and language barriers for support. They offered managed services, and the “set and forget” philosophy appealed to us. From the start, Riedel and GRENKE saw eye to eye on the project, and they offered us a dedicated technician to walk us through our deployment. We were on our way—but as I mentioned earlier, surprises lurk around every corner.
Supply Chain Disruptions Threatened to Upend Our Plans
Adapting to our wide range of locations and office sizes, GRENKE outlined the best and most cost-efficient migration plan with multiple equipment classifications: platinum, gold, silver, bronze, and copper. Our primary location in Baden was handled first and treated to the platinum plan (the most extensive setup), while we gave smaller or more distant locations a lower classification and prioritized them according to their speed of delivery. Some countries’ providers took up to eight weeks to complete installation, while others (like those in Germany) took four weeks or fewer.
Deployment officially began in 2021, and supply chain disruption from the pandemic created a chip shortage for our Cisco SD-WAN equipment. Our order sat behind millions of other backorders, and we had no idea when it would be fulfilled. We had to adjust the order of our location migration based on the availability of the necessary equipment. Our larger locations with more SD-WAN components and intricate configurations were looking at a delay of six months or more.
But Riedel didn’t come to us with the problem; they came to us with a solution. They offered the use of secondhand equipment they already had in stock as an interim solution—a placeholder until our requested equipment came from Cisco. We could stay on track without waiting for the supply chain delays to resolve. We accepted their recommendation, and everything continued according to their established timeline. By September 2022, we saw 90% project competition.
Realizing the Benefits of SD-WAN
The benefits we’ve seen from SD-WAN are monumental. In just one year, we’ve already saved 25% in costs compared to our previous infrastructure. We can also configure our global network based on the needs of each location, which results in faster connection for everyone. There’s no need to throw money for equipment at a site that doesn’t need it, and with the adaptability offered by Riedel’s SD-WAN, we can easily scale up or down depending on location size.
SD-WAN has also granted my team the gift of time. Since Riedel manages our network monitoring and configuration, GRENKE digital can focus on our sales business rather than fret about our system. The freedom of choice and flexibility of a good solution is worth its weight in gold.
Riedel’s calm professionalism has transformed how GRENKE operates from the inside out. Our teams can move faster, and so can IT. I know I can rely on Riedel for everything, and my team and I feel overwhelming relief that we have their support.
Partners Who Share the Same Spirit
I chalk a lot of this success up to the spirit of Riedel. GRENKE is a family-founded company at heart, and even as we’ve grown internationally and have been listed at the stock exchange, we’ve strived to retain that feeling and add a personalized touch to everything we do. We could tell from the beginning that Riedel felt the same way, and ran their business similarly. We have all appreciated the personal element of Riedel’s partnership, and having direct lines of communication means that technical issues get solved quickly.
Our technicians have a direct line of communication with Riedel’s German offices, and we feel their dedication and commitment to quality at every level. From their leadership teams to their skilled technicians, everyone goes out of their way to treat us and our concerns with respect. If you’ve ever worked in IT and know what it’s like to get trapped on the support desk “merry-go-round,” you know how invaluable personalized assistance can be. And despite our equipment surprises and an entirely remote rollout during the height of the pandemic, our connection with Riedel ensured a smooth process. I’ve come to trust their knowledge and commitment to excellence with everything.