New Research from EMA Examines How Enterprises are Transforming Their Networks by Building an SD-WAN Foundation and Taking the Next Step Toward SASE

EMA report provides advice on how to build an SD-WAN foundation that is scalable, stable, secure, and fully operationalized

Lafayette, Colo., April 13, 2023 – Enterprise Management Associates (EMA™), a leading IT and data management research and consulting firm, today announced the release of its new research report, titled “WAN Transformation with SD-WAN: Establishing a Mature Foundation for SASE Success” authored by Shamus McGillicuddy, vice president of research, covering network management at EMA. 

Software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) technology transformed the networking industry nearly a decade ago by allowing IT organizations to replace or supplement their expensive and bandwidth-constrained private and managed WAN services (e.g., MPLS) with public internet connectivity. SD-WAN provides security, visibility, and centralized control over these new hybrid networks.

Now, a new wave of innovation has arrived with secure access service edge (SASE). Vendors and solution providers are integrating SD-WAN with multifunction cloud-based network security into unified platforms that provide connectivity and security for distributed, multi-cloud enterprises. While SASE holds promise, EMA heard anecdotally that many large enterprises struggle with their transition from pure SD-WAN to true SASE. 

EMA believes that the industry’s emphasis on SASE is trivializing the complexity of SD-WAN. Some enterprises make the mistake of designating SD-WAN as a just another SASE feature, a checklist item on an RFP that can be turned on with the click of a button. 

“SD-WAN is a nontrivial technology that requires careful planning and rigorous attention to Day 2 operations to ensure ongoing performance and security,” McGillicuddy said. “Many enterprises had suboptimal results with their first foray into SD-WAN and they’ve applied lessons learned from these early failures to their second-generation SD-WAN implementations. These organizations should approach SASE with the same critical scrutiny. The transition to SASE will require a battle-tested SD-WAN foundation.”

EMA surveyed 313 IT professionals across North America and Europe who have responsibility for and/or influence over their company’s WAN strategy to discover how their organization is building a SD-WAN foundation and taking the next step toward SASE.

Some of the key findings include: 

  • Only 38% of IT professionals believe their SD-WAN implementations have been fully successful.
  • More than 30% of IT professionals believe it is difficult to advance from SD-WAN to a SASE solution. Only 11% believe it is very easy.
  • 66% of IT organizations prefer to consume SD-WAN as a managed service, but 58% prefer to share responsibility for Day 2 operations in a hybrid operating model.
  • 43% of companies have multiple SD-WAN vendors now, which adds complexity to a SASE transition.
  • 71% of IT organizations apply WAN acceleration to their networks, and nearly all of them leverage their SD-WAN vendors for this acceleration.
  • 86% of organizations are incorporating wireless services into their WANs, and most are using this connectivity as a primary connectivity option for at least some sites.

A detailed analysis of the research findings is available in the report, “WAN Transformation with SD-WAN: Establishing a Mature Foundation for SASE Success.”

EMA will reveal highlights from the report during the free April 18 webinar, “WAN Transformation with SD-WAN: Establishing a Mature Foundation for SASE Success.”

BroadcomCato NetworksCradlepointJuniper NetworksLogicMonitor, and Riverbed sponsored this independent research report.

About EMA
Founded in 1996, EMA is a leading industry analyst firm that provides deep insight across the full spectrum of IT and data management technologies. EMA analysts leverage a unique combination of practical experience, insight into industry best practices, and in-depth knowledge of current and planned vendor solutions to help their clients achieve their goals. Learn more about EMA research, analysis, and consulting services for enterprise line of business users, IT professionals, and IT vendors at


EMA on Twitter   EMA RSS   EMA on YouTube

EMA Services

IT Professionals

EMA can help you:

  • Support your decisions
  • Succeed with key projects
  • Align IT with the business

Learn More!

IT Vendors

EMA can help you:

  • Build the right product
  • Reach the right prospects
  • Establish market credibility

Learn More!

EMA Advisory Notes Service

An Affordable Way to Stay on Top of Key Trends & Industry Events

Subscribe now

EMA Premium Research Service

In-Depth Insight into IT Management Benefits, Challenges & Best Practices in the Enterprise

Subscribe now

©1996-2024 Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.
EMA™, ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES®, and the mobius symbol are registered trademarks or common-law trademarks of Enterprise Management Associates, Inc.
Site Terms & Conditions | Integrity Policy | Site Map | My Account
Subscribe to EMA RSS Feed