Q&A: Toby Sturridge, CTO, SDWAN Solutions, London & Brussels
Toby Sturridge, CTO of SDWAN Solutions Ltd (UK) & DG of SDWAN Solutions SRL (BE), is an SD-WAN Technical Subject Matter Expert and holds certifications across multiple vendor technologies.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
We’re the only 100% SD-WAN focused managed service provider and the only MEF SD-WAN Subject Matter Experts s in the UK. We tailor solutions to every customer’s needs using only the best in class technology vendors, Unlike most other SD-WAN suppliers, we are fully certified on all the SD-WAN suppliers we use; we test each SD-WAN technology in our pan-European R&D lab and subject them all to 84 gruelling tests before we will add them to our portfolio; we use our own uCPE hardware range to host the SD-WAN software negating the need for slow RMA contracts and ensuring a better alignment to the client solution than vendor hardware which is often generalised and less cost-effective.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
Once we accept an SD-WAN technology in R&D, we align it to industries, verticals and specific use cases best suited for the technology based on its strengths and sometimes it’s limitations. After initial consultation with the client, this means we can quickly align a vendor to an opportunity based on the client needs and expectations, often turning around complex solution designs within a few days
How does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?
Due to the nature of true SD-WAN technology, the principal time taken is to ensure we have the correct details from the client to perform the installation. During this process, we emulate the customer design in our R&D lab, so the actual implementation of the technology is generally fast once all the required information is gathered. Solving every customer’s unique network requirements and demonstrating these in a live environment guarantees a successful project.
How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what does best practice look like?
With our range of retail products we have aligned products specifically for retailers based on their industry requirements – we have solutions for retailers that only need access to public cloud systems (for ePOS e.g. BoxPos) and others where there is a requirement for access to logistics, warehouses, distribution, HR and security systems, site to site connectivity and data centre access.
What advantage does it add?
SD-Wan technology allows us to provide connectivity with far better uptime and resiliency without the high overheads of MPLS or VPN management – ensuring that retailers never have to put up the dreaded “Cash payments only today” sign, and as SD-WAN is fully managed, you don’t need a full team to monitor and manage every site, as this can be done form a central location, in real time.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2021 / What challenges are retailers facing in 2020?
Retailers have been one of the hardest hit industries with Covid-19 and potentially could be again with Brexit. Retailers will be looking to reduce their monthly overheads whilst keeping their connectivity intact and resilient. SDWAN Solutions can provide the assurances they need to ensure their stores stay connected, gain more functionality and visibility and even flexibility as stores open, move or even close.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
We’ve developed the technology and partnerships to be able to offer a complete and fully managed solution at unprecedented prices, letting retailers and high street businesses concentrate on their own business knowing that the underlying network is always available to support their business needs
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
We don’t just resell products, we innovate and solve problems and will continue to do so. We are also growing our European business via our Belgium registered company, across all 27 EU states. You can expect to see a multi-lingual 24 x 7 EU support desk and in country field engineers. We are also investigating expansion into other geographies
Any final thoughts?
SD-WAN technology can save high streets huge amounts and introduce smarter ways of working. Don’t be afraid of new technology, it’s not intrusive and we will be with you every step of the way.