BizTech BizTech Podcasts

66. What's the value in SASE and global backbones? With Daniel Beckworth

April 26, 2023

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Listen in as we get deep in the weeds of Advanced Networking, SDWAN, SASE, and more with Daniel Beckworth of WhiteOak Solutions. Daniel has been deeply entrenched since the early days of SDWAN and we listen as he talks about the evolution of SDWAN, what to look for, how to avoid customer roadblocks, and most importantly, how to make your customer be the champion!

Transcript of episode can be found below.

Josh Lupresto (00:01):
Welcome to the podcast that is designed to fuel your success in selling technology solutions. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto, SVP of Sales Engineering at Telarus. And this is Next Level BizTech, everybody. Welcome back to another episode. Today we’re talking about some good, super nerdy, but important stuff, . We’re talking about software defined networking, advanced networking, SASE, lots of cool acronyms that we’re gonna explain those in just a second. But first of all, I’d like to welcome on the good man, Daniel Beckworth of White Oak Solutions. Daniel, welcome on, man.

Daniel Beckworth (00:39):
What’s up buddy? Love that intro in the music. I was impressed. Well done.

Josh Lupresto (00:43):
. Thanks, man. Let’s see, we got, we got a lot to unpack here. So before we start breaking down acronyms, history trends, evolution deals, all that stuff, I want to hear about you. I, I wanna know we’d like to kick this off. How did you get started? Have you always been in, in, in this space, in the tech space? What did you do? Did you cut grass and saw yourself as a lawn care man? And then you’ve found tech, you know, what’s the story, man,

Daniel Beckworth (01:10):
Man, cut grass. That actually, when I think we all go through those moments and working in it where you feel a little burnt out sometimes, you’re frustrated with the state of your career. I think we can all admit we feel that, and I, I think it’s healthy for all of us to have that job that we dream about whenever days are going really bad, and mine actually is cutting grass. So yes, there’s something peaceful about that. Or just working at Home Depot. That’s my other dream, right? just telling you get an aisle six would would be beautiful, but no, so have, obviously haven’t always been in it. I actually had a weird start to my career. It’s a weird transition, or it may seem that way. I, I started out in the ministry, spent time in seminary, and actually it’s, it’s got a strong crossover like Iverson, and there’s some elements to it that I think are, are really, really helpful. Like just being naturally curious about learning. Then known it’s been a trade that I’ve been able to apply to it, and I think it keeps you really relevant and helps you from being stagnant. And the other is that it really helped me early on in my my growth to prioritize human experience and relationships, which is really the cornerstone with what we do in, in information technology and how we build those true relationships with our end users.

Josh Lupresto (02:26):
So this is funny. You are, we, we started a trend. You there, there has now been two potential practicing theologians that have changed into tech. So whatever reason it, it, it’s working. We’ll take it. Lots of good background, lots of smart people coming into this space, so I’d love to hear it. I did not know that story. Awesome. Yeah.

Daniel Beckworth (02:46):
Yeah. Just blessings for everybody. ,

Josh Lupresto (02:50):

Daniel Beckworth (02:50):
And then and then, you know, I jumped into it working with traditional VARs and system integrators that’s very popular in my neck of the woods in, in Alabama. And so I, I cut my teeth in that space and and then I was able to transition over to the agency side of the house, and it’s been a tremendous learning experience.

Josh Lupresto (03:13):
So, so tell us about the business. Tell us about White Oak. Who are you, what do you do? What’s your focus? Maybe bring us up to speed.

Daniel Beckworth (03:20):
Yeah, certainly. So the focus of the business is a couple of key areas. So obviously you’ve got the traditional elements like telecom with much more of my focus being on the customer engagement and customer experience, so here, contact center. And then from there the equal focuses on next generation networks. So providing those superior levels of managed services and being able to meet the business needs because staffing is, is obviously an issue. And then cybersecurity. So I wanna be, ensure, I wanna ensure that I can help harden your environment and protect your users no matter where they sit in the wild or wherever they sit in the country or across the globe. So, equal focus on, on those things with a lot of my business falling and infrastructure as a service and all the things that fall into that space.

Daniel Beckworth (04:11):
But the business model’s pretty simplistic. So I’m vendor agnostic, and I, I truly mean that in, in the most simplistic of ways. I’m your third party advocate. I don’t care who the vendor is or the name on the box, that’s not important. I’m looking to listen to I mentioned earlier, creating that real human connection. Listen to your requirements and what you struggle with. Map that to the vendors who are actually gonna meet your needs and can provide a solution that they can actually execute upon. And then help you negotiate with those vendors, implement that solution, and then ensure that support is superior in an ongoing format. And that’s the entire goal of the business.

Josh Lupresto (04:53):
Beautiful. All right. Well, we’re gonna call on pieces of that now. We’re gonna, we’re gonna jump into the good acronym soup here. So there’s a couple components of this and, and I want to set the stage maybe to where this technology started and what it was marketed to us in the channel as what it was supposed to be. And then we’ll talk a little bit more about how it’s evolved as we get into kind of some of the questions. So if we look at SD WAN software defined networking, we look at SASE, secure Access Service Edge, SASE’s a newer term, right? But yeah. It, it feels like in the channel, this idea of SD WAN was introduced years ago, and it was marketed as, you know, one of those Sunday, Sunday, Sunday things. It was, do you have customers that have expensive MPLS networks? Then SD WAN is for you, let’s decouple it. Let’s put in diverse connections and, you know, let’s give you visibility into the network. So I, I, I’d like to get your perspective on how do you define this kind of broader SD WAN network first, and maybe, you know, some of those, some of those flavors, right? How do you look at it? And then we’ll talk about, you know, what, what really was your first deal in this? And then we’ll, we’ll evolve that.

Daniel Beckworth (06:00):
Yeah. I was an early adopter on on selling sdwan. So even back in 2016 and, and earlier those projects were on my desk and, and already had a focus in that area. And you had a lot of traditional players or or folks who evolved out of their traditional networking practice. And, and back then even some of those solutions were kind of SD WAN light, and that’s still how I categorized a lot of the vendors in this space today. But, you know, it was initially oversold or, or really emphasized the cost saving aspect mm-hmm. of reducing PL l s and, you know, all the customers didn’t get to realize that cost savings very early on. And some of those vendors really struggled with that marketing as a result. And I don’t wanna say that it set the, that space back, but it wasn’t necessarily marketed in the correct way, or it didn’t highlight the real benefits of the overall solution that, and you had the, the national carriers wise up and they started dropping their pants on pricing for MPL l s So it had to evolve and to, and to where it is today which is much more useful.

Daniel Beckworth (07:14):
And now we’re gonna see the technology, which it is just, it’s taking over like wildfire and it it’s just the industry standard at this point.

Josh Lupresto (07:23):
So, so if I, if I bucketize this for a second, and I know the other, you know, the other part of the title of this episode is a little bit of, is there importance to having a global backbone? Right? And, and, you know, there’s the age old engineering answer. Well, it depends. Yeah. But if, if we first maybe put software defined networking in a couple buckets, we think we’ve got a, we’ve got a bunch of vendors with OEMs that fit into this segment that is over the top, whatever circuits you have, whatever connectivity you have, here’s one bucket, it’s over the top, right? So an agent can come in and wedge with that. Then we’ve got the idea of, well, we’ve got our aggregators and those types, and some of the telcos that sell the connectivity and the SD WAN, right? So it’s a you know, it’s optionality there to help you wedge in. And then really that maybe that third bucket in those who provide these complex layer two backbones to eliminate some of that middle mile global, you know, concerns, things like that. Do you, do you look at it that way from a bucketized perspective or, you know, there, there’s obviously a lot of different flavors in that, or do you think we’re missing anything in, in analysis, you know, in that, that direction?

Daniel Beckworth (08:25):
I think those buckets are very helpful. And, you know, you have to understand that end user’s consumption model as well to understand well, what are their requirements of how they financially want to consume this and how they wanna package it. That’s, that’s one aspect that you have to include in your overview or your discovery with that end user, because that does matter, and it will narrow the field of vendors that you can utilize. Some of the other elements that you wanna think about is like, what are the actual feature set and capabilities of those platforms? So you’ve gotta get down into the, the weeds a bit to understand, because not all SD WAN vendors are like, for, like, there are certainly what you typically hear referred to across the industry as SD WAN light. So it’s vendors who, and think of traditional firewall manufacturers or products like, and, and not to be mean by products like Meraki or Fortinet mm-hmm. ,

Daniel Beckworth (09:16):
They don’t prioritize some of the advanced next generation networking capabilities. They’re gonna have a heavy focus on the traditional security elements of a, of a premise-based firewall, and they’re really gonna prioritize those elements, and there’s a place in time for where that fits. And then you’ve got some other products like Cato or Silver Peak, or Velo Cloud, which is now VMware SD wan, who have different methodologies for how they send packets across the network and how they prioritize applications over packets. And that can matter as well. It depends on that customer consumption model and what’s the actual workloads that they’re trying to maximize.

Josh Lupresto (09:56):
Good. Love that. All right, let’s get into time capsule here for just a second. We’re not gonna go too far back, but I want to go to one of the first deals that you sold in this, in this space, right? You know, you talk about those landing on your desk, curious about what it looked like, what the customer ask was, you know, whatever you can tell us about that deal and kind of what did you learn from it?

Daniel Beckworth (10:16):
Yeah, so it was in the the law firm legal space. So think of a company that’s gonna have, you know, 10 plus locations. And those are very traditional consumption models. They like CapEx purchases over operational expenses. But much more progressive end user who was trying to understand the new ways that you could consume telecom and how they could minimize their expenses. This was an end user that heard all the hype in marketing about SD WAN that was being pumped into the the ecosystem by the vendors. And they immediately thought, well, I’m gonna slash my NPLS bill and I’m gonna save 75% of my costs outta the gate. So we, we initially approached the project with cost saving in mind, and what we initially recognized early on in, in that first project was, we’re really just moving one pile of money to another pile of money, and there’s not gonna be this insane cost savings that the vendors led you to believe that would come into place. But, you know, there were some cost savings. So the then user probably saved about 25% off of their overall telecom expenses, and it allowed them to enter into the future where their data center was gonna live in multiple locations, including hyperscalers and premise based. And it allowed them to move into a more of an edge computing style environment, rather than being a traditional hub and spoke. So there were a lot of benefits that we were able to discover through the process that you didn’t hear the vendors prioritizing at the time.

Josh Lupresto (11:55):
Good point. Let’s talk about customer relationships here for a second, and we’re gonna get to challenges next, but I want to talk about before we get to the the, the cons. I wanna talk about the pros of, as you get into these very non-com commoditize, these non-transactional conversations, right? You’re talking about some real core advanced networking, integral to the business type of conversations. How does that help you and, and, and how do you feel that that evolves your relationship with the customer? Because sometimes, you know, it feels like you, you get a lot of these people that say, oh, I didn’t know you could do that, or didn’t, you know, once they find out you can do that and you can help them with these things, how do you feel that these conversations help your relationships evolve?

Daniel Beckworth (12:38):
Yeah, certainly. So what I find to be the most meaningful aspect or the most meaningful way that I can engage an end user is to try and solve their problem. So take my sales hat off and, and I’m not thinking about pitching a product, and I don’t come to the table with a vendor in mind that I’ve just got to sell you. If I step into the engagement with the approach that I’m gonna have an open mind and open ears, and I’m gonna listen to you, that’s it. I’m gonna start with that approach, and then I’m gonna go solve your problems, and I’m gonna knock that out of the park. If you do those things for those end users, that leads to more engagements, more projects, more opportunity but you’ve got, essentially, you’re earning that through every step of the way, and you build a deep sense of trust.

Daniel Beckworth (13:26):
And I, I can’t overstate how important that level of trust is. It, it is everything in that engagement and that moves you from simply being a transactional vendor, which I don’t wanna be, that I’m not, that that’s not the space that I wanna play in. And I find very, very little value in working within users that want transactional style purchasing. I’m here to be an advocate for you on your behalf, and I’m in the, the accounts and the, the customers where I have those sorts of relationships. I’m treated as another member of their team, which is the best place that you can possibly hope to be.

Josh Lupresto (14:02):
So you know, you bring up a great point about this, this idea of this trust factor. Some call this a strategy of or what I’m about to say, some call it a strategy of the takeaway approach. I don’t look at it as necessarily a closing tactic from a takeaway approach perspective, as much as sometimes we’ll get a customer really excited about, okay, I need to do this, I need to, I wanna do this, I wanna do this, and they’re ready to buy UK and software define networking and security, and, and they go, okay, cool, let’s go. And you, and I know that if we try to do all those things at the same time, it’s gonna completely fail and it’s gonna blow up our relationships. And so sometimes the, the, the craziest thing that we can say to a customer is, I love that you love that. I love that you, you wanna do all these things, and those are great, but I don’t think we should do all them right now. And in the back of their minds, they’re thinking, wait a minute, minute, but don’t you make money on all this stuff? And you go, I do, but you’re not gonna like me if we push forward on all of that. Right? What, what’s your, do you see some aha moments when you have conversations like that of the trust is just permanently built after that?

Daniel Beckworth (15:04):
Yeah, so I’m, I’m working through an engagement right now. That’s a great example of that, where I’ve found what what has deepened my relationship with this end user is my willingness to say like, that’s not the best idea. And and I’ll give you examples of why that’s not a good idea and how this could be painful for you. And even the willingness to share, like, Hey, I’m gonna let you inside the kimono and show you how this vendor might be problematic or, and where that vendor’s problematic. And the willingness to share the bad news is almost as important as pitching the good news. You, you’ve gotta have bo both sides of the coin and show that you’re willing to get into the trenches with them. You’re essentially treating that business as if it’s your own, and you’re trying to understand the landmines that that end user might step on, and you’re waving the flag to alert them and let them know that there’s problems ahead. Let’s create a roadmap or a clear path of success, and then help them execute on that. So, to your point, sometimes it means prioritizing one project over the other and delaying some projects so that you can execute and be successful with the number one priorities.

Josh Lupresto (16:14):
Yeah, good point. So what, you know, when, when, when you’re having some of these conversations, what, I guess, what are some of the unexpected challenges here? And, and what I wanna weave into this outta your reply is really what do you say to the customer? How do you approach these? You know, I’m a big questions fan, right? I always like asking the right questions that get people on the right track, but what are, what are some of the challenges that you face in these conversations and, and, and how do you get through them?

Daniel Beckworth (16:42):
Yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s a ton of challenges and there’s a ton of questions that you, you face in, in all these engagements. You know, a lot of it focuses around what I find in especially a place like Alabama is you have all these legacy or traditional businesses who have these very traditional consumption models. They traditionally think that I’ve gotta go create an FTE for this product or this role. And so you’re having to navigate around some of those aspects and, and especially the concept of kingdom building where mm-hmm. maybe a manager or director or C-level wants to create their own little kingdom that they don’t want anybody else to touch. And they’re they’re very sensitive to that. So you have to understand, you know, how that person is compensated what they find meaningful and valuable what their executive team finds meaningful value and valuable, as well as the company’s overall roadmap of how they hope to develop into the future.

Daniel Beckworth (17:40):
So you’re weaving that complete story into the narrative so you can help them successfully execute on all of their goals. And, and some of the questions that, you know, we’ll traditionally see, or some of the obstacles that we’ll see is, is that consumption model. So is it a CapEx or an opex? Who’s gonna manage this thing? And what’s the ongoing complexity and how do I overcome some of those challenges? What you also see in a traditional place like Alabama is those legacy networks. You know, early on SD WAN was really easy to roll out in greenfield environments. That was an easy one. But where we initially saw challenges were some of those very complex cobbled together legacy networks, and the workloads were very complex, and it, it was very problematic. So you had to approach that in a very sensitive nature so that you didn’t break everything.

Daniel Beckworth (18:33):
So, ongoing challenges and obstacles, you know, with SASE what we’re trying to understand now is where are people gonna work? Are they gonna be in the office? Are they gonna be hybrid? Are they gonna be working from home forever? We don’t really know. Those are still challenges. And then we’re trying to overcome the obstacle of understanding how do we secure those end users, and how do we simultaneously keep the expenses down? Because and you’re very aware of this, and what you probably see in the partner community is application sprawl across these environments, and that it multiplied during the pandemic. And over the past two years, we’re now organizations on average have between 200 and 300 applications that those end users are expected to utilize and maintain. And what we’re finding is overall productivity is going down because of the amount of applications that we’ve gotta use. So how do you narrow the focus on that, reduce those applications while simultaneously securing that workload and those applications that the end users are expected to utilize? That’s a challenge.

Josh Lupresto (19:37):
Yeah, no, you bring up a good point, right? And, and as we evolve this SD WAN and, and add-in things like SASE and casby, it seems like there’s this, there’s this idea of, again, funneling and aggregating either of the applications or aggregating aggregating all the tools that are using to manage it. I mean, how do you, how do you see, right, and what, what’s your perfect scenario as you run into the things that you just mentioned, applications, sprawl, users all over the need for edge compute, trying to fix latency, secure it all. What’s your, what, what’s your magic if you could, if you could get everybody to kind of do this and move to this or understand it, how do you feel that SASE is a, is a leverage in that strategy

Daniel Beckworth (20:18):
Adopt a hybrid cloud strategy period? The assumption that everything has to go live in a hyperscaler is crazy. Both from an expense management perspective as well as utilization. That’s, that’s not the best strategy for most end users. Also, the assumption that everything should stay on-prim forever is antiquated. You should assess every workload that you have and understand the best place for that to live in terms of the financial impact to your business, as well as how is it gonna improve the productivity of your end users. So factor in the edge computing and hybrid cloud model, and adopt that as a strength for your business because it will help you in totality. The other is we should also perform assessments of all the applications that our end users are utilizing, because I can assure you that there’s duplication inside of those applications that are utilizing, and we’ve got to consolidate those things so that we can improve the productivity of our end users. So we have too many tools that aren’t being utilized. We can save money and productivity if we’ll consolidate those things. And that will also ensure that we can secure those workloads in a much more easy and simplistic fashion. And, and, and it’s really just scale at that point. It’s, it’s easier and more cost effective to secure a smaller footprint than a sprawled out footprint that just makes common sense. Right. For

Josh Lupresto (21:45):
Sure. For sure. Maybe last question in this, before we get into to some of the final kind of examples and talk future, where do you see, you know, the idea, the, the, that we mentioned in the beginning of a global backbone you know, you, you threw out some, some options out there, right? There’s the catos, there’s the Aryakas, you know, these, these guys that have invested in really fine tuning connectivity from point A to difficult point B across the globe. Where do you find that those really get to show their value, those backbone solutions?

Daniel Beckworth (22:17):
Yeah, so I’m increasingly bumping into more and more end users that have a global focus and global footprint. So it’s, it’s extremely challenging for them. So think of the retail and the manufacturers and, and all these large enterprises. As, as we scale up into those businesses, those folks are gonna have end users and customers literally scattered across the globe in some instances is they, they even likely have offices scattered across the globe, and they’ve traditionally had to cobble those things together. So companies like Cato and Aryaka, and, and you can see this from some of the uc vendors in the space that are continuing to expand in markets like Asia-Pacific India, China, and, and they’re making that a massive focus. So that is only going to allow us to scale across the globe and service those end users. And I can’t overstate how important that is and to factor that into your equation. So companies like Aryaka and Cato specifically, and Sdwan and the SASEe space have done more than any any other vendor that I’m aware of.

Josh Lupresto (23:26):
Yeah. Good, good points. I think as you’d look at that, I mean, the, the, it’s, it’s interesting in that sometimes I think on the surface that it appears that there’s a lot of people that do this and they all look the same, but when you whittle it down, you know, and you say, okay, who do we have that that really has global backbone? Backbone? Certainly there’s a, there’s a list there, but when it is the macies, the catos, the ear, these, these are people that have really invested into saying, I can get you from point A to point B. Don’t worry about it. Let me take it off your plate. And I think to maybe kind of wrap this thought up, it does play into some of that trend that we’re seeing in other, all the other technologies of, I don’t have enough people to do this, or I lost my staff to do this. I need to be able to, I, I’ve sunk cost into some of my gear, so I can’t replace it all. And I don’t have, maybe I don’t have the, the, to your point, it’s not always a good idea to just say FTEs are the answer. Maybe I outsource that a little bit. So lots of, lots of good, I think headwinds to your point you know, adding to that from an ITO perspective, that opens up opportunity for this.

Daniel Beckworth (24:25):
Yeah. Especially trying to hire globally. How do you do that in today’s era?

Josh Lupresto (24:29):
? Geez, domestically is hard enough, man. Yeah. Finding the people, the war for talent,

Daniel Beckworth (24:34):
You can barely find people in your back backyard. So trying to do that globally is an insane challenge. And, and part of the restriction that you see in traditional or legacy businesses is that concept or idea of protecting those FTEs and protecting those kingdoms. We, we’ve gotta move out of that mindset. Yeah. Because if you look at the open recs inside of it, across the spectrum, like there’s plenty to go around, that’s a, a famine mindset. And managed services will be the answer that gets us over the shortage that we’re experiencing. And so people have to have the willingness to let go of some of that control, but it does require that you invest the time to find the partner that’s actually gonna service you well over time. And to your point what’s really going to narrow down that list for you is understanding your requirements. So when you start thinking about your global networks and global strategies, if you’re an end user, that requires that it does narrow the playing field. And there are great vendors who have made massive investments, both in terms of time, talent, and financially to build out those platforms, and it’s very meaningful.

Josh Lupresto (25:48):
So let’s move let, let’s move here to an example. So what we see sometimes is that, you know, we get a lot of asks of, Hey, I need you to get on and talk to this customer about this one thing. And a percentage of the time it ends up being just that a percentage of the time we end up uncovering more, and then another percentage of the time it ends up being something completely different. So I would love to hear you know, a semi recent example of one of these situations that you walked into, SD WAN SASE, you know, somewhere in that, that neck of the woods that, that you helped really make a transformation. What kind of tech did they have? What were the pain points? How did you uncover it? What did you learn, you know, all that good stuff, and what was the outcome?

Daniel Beckworth (26:28):
Yeah, so I was actually working through a customer engagement opportunity, and it, it morphed into a SASE and Sdwan conversation. It happened to be an international company with offices literally globally as well as across the continental us. So truly global company with tons of end users and some complexity obviously, and, and how they service those end users. And so, by focusing so intently on how they service their end users, it naturally led into conversations of how they could improve the overall performance of that network. And it’s a company that still had a very traditional MPLS model that they’d been relying on for decades. So this is an example of a company that did have some massive cost savings that they were able to recognize for moving from traditional MPLS to a DIA strategy and layering in an SD WAN solution.

Daniel Beckworth (27:31):
So we’re actually in the middle right now of trying to select the SASE vendor that’s gonna be the best fit for them for their ongoing needs. And that’s, I mean, it’s a complex engagement, right? You’re having to understand the requirements of numerous business units from marketing to sales reps to support staff and backend end users who literally sit across the globe. That’s hard. So if, if you, if you take that consultative approach of one, trying to understand that end user’s requirements, and then map those requirements to the best solutions and fits, and then even go through the POC phase, let them test that out and let those vendors prove the best option and solution, you’ll walk away with a, a slam dunk, and you’ll see how those opportunities morph into more and more engagements, and you’re able to continue to serve those end users in new and bigger and better ways.

Josh Lupresto (28:27):
Good example there’s a term that I keep thinking of the last couple podcasts is that you know how before you get in a big sweaty lawsuit they, they say, please go through arbitration first. Yeah, I feel like sometimes our role, when we talk about these multi departments, we talk about procurement and we talk about the business leader and we talk about the tech team and, and, and it used to just be that the decision is made with the tech team and everybody’s gotta use it whether you like it or not. Mm-Hmm. . And that just seems like it’s completely flipped. And I, I feel like our role sometimes as the, as consultants and advisors really is opportunistic to be that arbitrator, because sometimes these departments just don’t talk to each other very well, or they don’t speak the same language. And so you get to come in as that hero, that knight in shining armor and bridge these gaps, right?

Daniel Beckworth (29:14):
Yeah. So in, in some ways, we’re playing therapists for all the different verticals inside of the organization. And the way I personally view my my role in this equation is as the guide. So if you think of it in the classic narrative or story framework, which is my approach for how I’m I sell I’m not the hero in this equation. I’m, I’m just simply the guide. My end user gets to be the hero. And my job in the equation is to help assist navigate the roadblock so that they get to be the champion, and they get to slay the dragon at the end of the story, and we cap off the story with them being the greatest. So yeah, that’s where I find the meaning and the value for my role. And where I find the end users who simultaneously perform the best, they have a very similar approach internally.

Daniel Beckworth (30:01):
So they’re going to those individual business units, they’re polling the audience. And this is an area that i, I also take part in, and it’s, it’s where I try to lead the conversation. So for example, I, I’m engaged in a complex customer engagement experience right now, and what I’ve requested and, and where we found the best successes is interviewing the, the individual business units mm-hmm. and asking questions about what makes your life painful, what would you love to see in a solution? Tell me about where you’ve been 10 years ago, and where do you see your department going 10 years from now? And then mapping out all of those factors on a weighted scale so that we can take that back to internal it, and it gives them such perspective of what their end users actually need and find valuable. So it’s not just the tyrants of it, rubber stamping decision and forcing it onto their end users. It’s a collective experience where the entire group gets to decide what’s the best option for our business and for the future.

Josh Lupresto (31:04):
Love it. The tyrants of it, and laying the dragon. I love it. Yeah, I love, I love it’s it’s true though. It’s so real. Good stuff. Okay, Mr. Beckworth, as we wrap, I want to look into our crystal ball and I want to pull out two things. One, I I want your advice for anybody that has not stepped into this, you know, has this really pushed into heavy advanced networking. One, I want you to, to kind of share what you think your advice would be for partners that have not stepped into this yet. And then two, I want, you know, if we look out 12 months, 24 months, where and how does this technology, or do these conversations evolve or does anything change?

Daniel Beckworth (31:47):
Yeah. So on the partners who haven’t stepped in this space yet I’ll say that curiosity is the edge that makes life good. And just because you haven’t done it before should not be the barrier that stops you from diving in and educating yourself. There are so many resources that are available, like plug for Telarus, like just hop on the Telarus University and you can learn about this technology. And it’s not that difficult. It’s not the crazy learning curve that you might think it is. And the, the real encouragement that I would share there is like, is that if you wanna serve your customers, and, and that should be your ultimate goal, it shouldn’t, your primary focus shouldn’t be just making money and stacking your bank account. If you’re guiding a North Star is serving that end user, this should be a priority for you.

Daniel Beckworth (32:37):
You should invest the time necessary to learn this technology and it will pay off in dividends because you are going to slam dunk all of those services that your customers need and it’s gonna revolutionize them. And then in terms of where the industry for SD WAN and sass you’re going the next 12 months, you know, there’s gonna be a ton of evolution. We’ve seen a ton of evolution from when the market first started. The first project or first SD WAN deal that I ever pitched was kind of a fascinating experience. We ran through the demo, ran through the benefits of the product, and when we concluded the end user, I’ll never forget this, they said, well, that’s cool, but it’s black magic and never work

Josh Lupresto (33:18):

Daniel Beckworth (33:20):
And so we’ve gone from that phase of and this is kind of the traditional phase of new knowledge where people, it’s immediately ejected and then people finally start slowly co coming around to it and then it’s just adopted. And it’s the industry standard. SD WAN in 12 months will continue to be the industry standard moving forward. It’s not a question of if or when it is right now. And it is happening. The things that I’m personally trying to look out for is how these vendors are going to evolve and how some of them are going to consolidate over time. We’re gonna continue to see the consolidation and mergers of these products in the space, especially with those sdwan vendors trying to combine themself with SASE vendors. So are they gonna build their own? Are they gonna acquire, that’s gonna be a crucial question that we need to pay attention to because it’s gonna dictate and determine where the market goes.

Josh Lupresto (34:14):
Good stuff, always the inevitable consolidation, the practices, the growth, the mergers, acquisitions. I love your great, great points, great things to look at. Daniel Beckworth, that wraps us up for today. Appreciate you coming on, man.

Daniel Beckworth (34:26):
Josh, my man, always a great time with you. I really appreciate you having me on. And thank you for all that you do for the Telarus family and all the partners out there.

Josh Lupresto (34:35):
Appreciate it. Thank you, sir. All right. Daniel Beckworth, White Oak Solutions that wraps us up for today. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto, SVP of sales engineering at Telarus. And this is Next Level BizTech.