SD-WAN: The perfect prescription for CIOs’ pharmacy network challenges

January 23, 2020
Author: Jon Lloyd
Blog | Communications | Digital Workspace

There’s one thing causing pain for every IT specialist in the pharmacy industry today— enterprise WAN.

Symptoms include: traditional MPLS networks that cannot offer low-latency/high-performance access to cloud applications; security and management requirements associated with disparate traffic flows begin to add to the complexity of managing branch operations; and increasing operational (staffing) costs.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it may be time to ask your CIO about SD-WAN.

The evolving pharmacy environment

In today’s ever-changing pharmacy landscape, large-scale drugstore chains are strategically shifting away from significant retail presence to offering more and more healthcare services for their customers. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are commonly available at drugstore locations to diagnose and treat minor health conditions, administer low-cost lab tests and immunizations, and provide wellness services like disease awareness and education. Additionally, some pharmacy chains now offer in-home healthcare services and have developed and maintained tools designed for specific healthcare purposes, like sourcing low-cost prescription medications, including generic and pharmacy branded drugs provided at a discount.

In this same environment, consolidation and acquisitions among pharmacy chains and other healthcare industry companies are prevalent. And like many retail environments, store closings are common, especially in drugstores with excessive floor space dedicated to retail products instead of growing healthcare services.

So, in this evolving pharmacy marketplace, IT departments must strategically bend and flex as their companies bring on new healthcare services while paring down or eliminating unprofitable products and service lines.

The challenge for CIOs—whether managing hundreds, thousands, or even 10,000+ locations with various functions, products, and services—is how do you bring all of these different moving parts together?

These challenges are especially difficult in an industry traditionally operating in technology silos across their corporate-wide branch networks.

Top three network challenges SD-WAN solves

Let’s take a look at the top three network challenges CIOs must overcome to operate smoothly in this shifting pharmacy environment and remain solidly profitable.

1. Volume of pharmacy locations with disparate, siloed networks

Connecting a multitude of drugstore locations with massive data footprints and ever-changing product and service lines can be a daunting challenge.

For CIOs, network engineers, and network administrators, consolidation of company location networks into an easily accessible and managed enterprise WAN is a top priority—not just from the standpoint of controlling network traffic and bandwidth usage but also understanding consumer behavior and feedback.

With SD-WAN implementation, corporate technology teams gain insight into the performance of every drugstore location network, and can then proactively and securely manage bandwidth and data flow to meet specific business objectives.

2. Obtaining single-pane-of-glass visibility without losing platform control to a managed services provider

With its real-time, centralized, web-based dashboard, SD-WAN gives pharmacy technology teams greater visibility and control than traditional enterprise-WAN infrastructure, like MPLS.

The advanced SD-WAN monitoring and orchestration software allows users to drill down into the minute details of network performance data to identify bottlenecks and reroute traffic to less stressed resources. Priority can be given to customer-focused applications such as patient monitoring and prescription refill apps to minimize emergencies or provide data to doctors to adjust treatment plans when necessary.

Single-pane SD-WAN management does not mean your IT staff must give up control over the centralized platform. By partnering with a managed service provider allowing for co-managed centralized monitoring, your pharmacy technology team gains unprecedented visibility and control over the applications driving growth for your organization, with access to managed services partner experts as needed.

3. The need to improve Quality of Service (QoS)

By eliminating the pain of managing disparate networking equipment across all pharmacy locations for centralized SD-WAN, Quality of Service improves immensely through categorization and policy changes that deliver predictable performance. In a majority of cases, potential network challenges can be addressed upfront, leading to smoother data flow and more reliable service. Many of the adjustments are applied automatically through increasingly intelligent algorithms, giving IT staff the ability to step away from day-to-day network management responsibilities to focus on the strategic initiatives designed to drive pharmacy chain growth.

With the real-time, web-based SD-WAN dashboard, technology teams can quickly analyze key metrics and performance indicators, and ensure they align with strategic business goals.

Choosing an SD-WAN provider

When making the critically important decision to choose an SD-WAN provider, just like any long-term relationship, it is important to know they have your organization’s best interests at heart and that they’re going to support future growth. That’s why a big part of our commitment to you is the roadmap we create and how it supports a long-term enterprise strategy.

CBTS is a committed SD-WAN provider. We take significant time, research, investment, expertise, and vetting to develop a roadmap that is long-term and offers a breadth and depth of functionality that aligns with your pharmacy and retail requirements.

Remember: Making the right decision about your SD-WAN provider leads to the long-term health of your IT operations and success of your business.

Learn more about the SD-WAN solution from CBTS.

Discover how advanced VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud capabilities like Dynamic Multi-Path Optimization (DMPO) and cloud gateways can give you a competitive advantage.

Experience immediate relief when you take advantage of our 90-day SD-WAN proof-of-concept.

  • Register for a FREE 90-day proof-of-concept (PoC) and receive Co-Managed Cloud SD-WAN at up to four sites.
  • Receive a customer premises device provided by CBTS and cutting edge SD-WAN software technology from VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud.
  • Experience a simple, zero-touch deployment of the market leader in SD-WAN, helping organizations migrate to cloud applications and reduce overall network cost while increasing performance.
  • Discover the freedom to manage company application policies through the Orchestrator or offload management to CBTS with confidence, giving you back your nights and weekends.
Learn more: SD-WAN Tool Kit and request a free 90-day proof of concept now

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