I had lunch a while back with a senior IT Services leader and he had a refreshing point of view. The SDN community generally talks a lot about the capital cost savings to be achieved when implementing network virtualization. In my view, that is perhaps the least important and smallest benefit to be achieved with Smart Networks (SDN). When viewing the Total Cost of Ownership model pioneered by Gartner, we tend to ignore the benefits to the business units or end users other than possibly reducing the charge-back or cost. I submit that the reduced cost to the users will not make or break the success of their offerings.

Why don’t we include faster time to market, faster pivots or greater market share? I suspect that if we focus on the benefits to the end user, and the end user’s business, we will tend to see a much more favourable ROI when looking at IT investments and specifically, we need to view these investments in terms of IT Services Lifecycle Management. What IT services can we bring to the end users and how will that help them with their customers? SDN and Network Virtualization are simply tools to achieve the service.

So here is my top 4 reasons to implement a Smart Network (SDN), in ascending importance:
4. Capital Cost Savings
3. Flexibility in Selecting Best of Breed Virtualized Network Services
2. Lower Operations Costs (which can be substantial)

and,

#1. The agility necessary for the business units or end customers to bring valuable services and/or products to market faster and more effectively. (This was the point of view of my lunch companion)

The ROI becomes very attractive when you add the increased revenue and/or market share i.e. Total Lifetime Value of bringing your offering to the market faster and with greater quality.

Are you having similar discussions?