William Max, Director of Network Engineering, Jason Gotchall, Director of Business Development and Jake Hastings, Principal
Google makes digital transformation sound simple. The majority of the searches there state, “It is the integration of digital technologies to improve business processes and customer experiences.” Nothing contradictory about the statement, and yet there is a major missing piece. It turns out that digital transformation is “not just” about implementing endless technology tools. So to speak, an organization can have the best cloud, mobile, or SaaS solutions but until and unless there is a cutting-edge network orchestrating and seamlessly connecting the myriad technology tools spread across locations, their digital transformation journey will never really take off.
Today, in a bid to improve productivity, competitive edge, and the unassailable customer experience, organizations are adopting different technology components in full swing. But oftentimes this brings major traffic strains and the network to a crawl. While the good news is that SD-WAN, an architecture that aims to make networks agile and flexible is the undaunted winner in such times, eliminating unstable networks and poor connectivity, the bad news is that preparing for an SD-WAN shift can be intimidating and time-consuming. The striking proliferation of SD-WAN products in the market only adds to the noise, as organizations fail to discern the best possible solution for their requirement. In times like these, what businesses need is expert intervention and no one understands this better than GroupA.
Based out of San-Francisco, GroupA is a boutique consulting and systems integration company that takes charge of an organization’s complete SD-WAN needs—from consulting to solution implementation all the way up to maintenance and customer support. Perhaps what truly distinguishes the company in the industry is their unbiased approach to vendor evaluation. This means GroupA is not tied to any particular SD-WAN provider and their larger goal is to bring the best possible solution for a client, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all.
Run at the Speed of ‘Now’
“Occasionally we come across clients that have put their hands up when it comes to SD-WAN, upon the realization that they lack the right in-house expertise to tackle the complexities and nuances that entails seamless networking,” says William Max, Director of Network Engineering, GroupA. In other cases, clients are hesitant to let go of their legacy processes in fear of the expenditure, training, or the technology upheaval that’s in store. However, here Max puts forth a simple argument. Imagine the amount of time that skilled personnel in a company could be saving, if mundane networking tasks are taken off their plate.
In every step of the way, we ensure that a client’s technical goal aligns with their business goal
Instead of embroiling in troubleshooting, maintenance, and bug fixes, engineers at an organization can now focus on driving innovation or other important operational activities. “At GroupA we bring over 20 years of expertise in consulting, enterprise architecture, and networking, to the table making us specialists in the field. For every client that comes onboard, we closely examine the current gaps in their environment, their business needs, and put together best-in-class SDN solutions that are tailored specifically for them,” says Jake Hastings, Principal, GroupA.
The focus here is “customer centricity” and the same reflects in the solutions approach that the company follows. GroupA can either customize on top of an existing SD-WAN solution or build an offering from scratch using a high-level programming language such as Python. What tops the list however is that instead of a ‘hit and run approach’ the company creates an adaptable, partnership-based relationship with clients, and is always available on call at the slightest sign of any glitch.
Customers can sign up with GroupA for just their consultation services (in case they already have an adequate team at hand and only need help to kick start a project) or reach out to them specifically for software, hardware, and licensing requirements. “Our happiest customers, however, are the ones who trust us with their entire project,” states Jason Gotchall, Director of Business Development. This is because GroupA offers end-to-end SD-WAN services from scoping and consultation to negotiations with vendors, architecture design, hardware and software implementations, training, and even ongoing maintenance and support. “In every step of the way, we ensure that a client’s technical goal aligns with their business goal,” continues Gotchall.
Customer Service above Everything
What speaks volumes about GroupA’s state-of-the-art tenet is the trust that clients from different verticals, whether it’s banking, IT, or distribution have invested in them. Today, the company counts the likes of Workday, Young’s Market Company, and Itron in their clientele and according to Gotchall, clients invariably end up with the same request and feedback, “We love the solutions you offer and how do we scale it to achieve more automation, visibility, and security.”
To better highlight their prowess, Max brings up the reference of a construction company in California that wanted to achieve unified communication between all their branches as well as connect their different offices to the data center in a secure manner. However, existing service providers were quoting a high price-point, until GroupA came into the picture. With GroupA at the helm, the construction company was able to migrate from traditional MPLS to SD-WAN, which shaved off significant costs while improving their applications’ performance. In addition, GroupA was able to install a full mesh network with the highest security levels.
Long story short, the client attained all their network requirements at five times less cost than originally planned!
Needless to say, security is a big part of network architecture and with SD-WAN comes SD-Security, which further simplifies the process. SD-Security paves way for centralized management and the use of web GUI, where users can interact with systems through visual indicators instead of typed commands to control and maintain network security. “This acts as a huge benefit for organizations that are going heavy with digital applications such as cloud, where security is a major factor. Not only that but it also leads to increased visibility and performance of their applications,” states Max. The case in point of one of GroupA’s clients is the perfect example to gain a better understanding of how exactly SD-Security works. The client was unhappy with the built-in security capability of their SD-WAN. GroupA came in and put a virtual firewall—of the client’s choice—on top of their SD-WAN architecture. Clearly, today SD-WAN is the answer to dynamic, reliable, and secure connectivity while eliminating the backhaul penalties imposed by MPLS.
All Set for SD-Everything
Throwing light on their future course of action, the leaders at GroupA are putting their bets on SD-Everything (SDx), IoT, and AI. Over the last few years, SDN, cloud networking, and network functions virtualization (NFV) have garnered their share of attention and excitement, but now it’s time for a whole new world called SDx; where not only the network but also compute, storage, and the data center is poised to become software-defined. In combination with AI and IoT, SDx is the future of IT that spells phantom drones, self-driving cars and whatnot, while pushing the economies of scale and efficiencies to unimaginable levels even for verticals that have shied away from technology so far such as construction. At the center of all these transformations, leave it on GroupA to do the heavy lifting so that organizations can harness the direct benefits and promising ROI from these disruptive technologies.
"At GroupA we bring over 20 years of expertise in consulting, enterprise architecture, and networking, to the table making us specialists in the field"
Emerging as a winner during changing and complex times is extremely characteristic of Hastings and the story behind GroupA’s genesis is a testament to that. Hastings laid the foundation of his venture after a national company that he was working for in 2009 shut its doors, following the financial crisis. But this was just the beginning for the visionary. He brought together the team that he had helped build in his previous company and the rest, as they say, is history. It was a grind but today, GroupA has completed 10 successful years in business, bagged multi-billion dollar companies as well as eminent startups as clients, and expanded their footprint. However, throughout the years their passion for delivering leading-edge technology solutions in line with market needs has not waned. Just before signing off, Hastings puts across a final thought that pretty much summarizes GroupA’s unique value proposition, “Technology changes or even SD-WAN can be daunting, but given our track record and skill set, we can help you ease and ace the transformation,” he ends.