Enabling Business Insurance Services and Its Call Centres with SD-WAN

“With SD-WAN scaling our business and multi-site management has never been easier.”

With a customer base of 425,000 and growing, Simply Business needed excellent voice quality, fast access to business-critical applications, and more. SD-WAN became its solution.

Problem Situation

Simply Business provides business insurance that includes liability, professional indemnity and landlord coverage. With just over 400 employees, Simply Business is able to support a customer base of over 425,000 through its offices in London and Northampton, and more recently in Boston, USA.

To support such a large customer base, Simply Business employed a 200-set all centre in addition to its other offices. To connect all the offices and the large number of network devices, Simply Business relied on MPLS, provided through one of Western Europe's largest independent managed service provider.

However, Simply Business was finding it more and more difficult to manage the business to keep up with the increasing demands and fast pace of its customer base due to its reliance on MPLS. This MPLS network was very traditional in nature, using legacy hardware not designed or updated to handle the business-critical applications of a modern company, such as Twilio. The entire network was outsourced to their managed service provider. If changes were needed, a request was submitted to them. This became a bottleneck to the business as change requests took much too long to fulfill.

Simply Business had a tremendous reliance on its call center and the business depended on a high-quality voice connection. The inability to use MPLS to apply two-way quality of service (QoS) or gain clear visibility into network performance to determine network health was unacceptable. MPLS also prevented Simply Business from fully utilizing the two network connections installed at each site because they were deployed in an unmodifiable active/passive configuration.

Simply Business knew it needed to change its situation to remain competitive and deliver an exceptional user experience for its customers. In July 2016, Simply Business evaluated seven companies in an effort to address its issues with MPLS, finally choosing Breeze Networks as its partner of choice.

Solution Selection and Implementation: Breeze Networks and VeloCloud

Breeze Network proposed VMware NSX® SD-WAN by VeloCloud™ as a solution that could address the issues that Simply Business faced before with MPLS, delivering network visibility, QoS, and optimized bandwidth across the entire network infrastructure. Breeze Networks leverages the complete NSX SD-WAN solution for Simply Business, which includes the NSX SD-WAN Orchestrator for single-pane of glass network management and monitoring, NSX SD-WAN Gateways to more quickly and efficiently gain access to cloud-based applications, and NSX SD-WAN Edges at each site to optimize traffic and bandwidth and provide the eyes into each network edge location.

“In partnering with Breeze Networks and deploying SD-WAN, we were able to remove the legacy shackles that held us back from doing business faster, being responsive, and proactively addressing issues.”


Paul McAdam
Lead DevOps Engineer, Simply Business

Implementation of NSX SD-WAN in Simply Business' call centre was performed by Breeze Networks, using software running in AWS. This deployment proved Simply Business' innovation and forward thinking as its call centres were one of the very first to be run using SD-WAN.

Breeze Networks replaced the entire existing MPLS network with NSX SD-WAN, the central firewall and AWS interconnects, as well as deployed new resilient circuits and cloud-based web filtering.

Complete Network Visibility

In shifting to SD-WAN and utilizing the NSX SD-WAN Orchestrator, Simply Business is now able to achieve complete network visibility, constantly monitoring the health of its network, and proactively diagnose complex problems. It can see how well an ISP connection is working, with measures for packet loss and jitter logged and presented in easy to read formats. With integrated reporting and available dashboard, Simply Business rests assured that the network is operating as intended.

Single-Touch Network Configuration

Network configuration changes when dependent on legacy connections or components is extremely time consuming and costly. Each component, such as routers and switches, must be managed and modified on an individual basis using complicated CLIs. NSX SD-WAN eliminated the need for on-site visits to make these changes as the ability to manage and implement network changes across all offices and devices is performed through an easy-to-use single profile that can be updated via the management console.

Automated Business Intelligence

NSX SD-WAN utilizes a host of software features that enable automated business intelligence. Simply Business was able to utilize NSX SD-WAN Dynamic Multi-Path Optimisation (DMPO) to not only determine the fastest and ideal data transport routes available using its built-in algorithms and metrics, but also automatically repaired any sub-part links to ensure the accurate and timely delivery of information.

Simply Business also took advantage of the ability to run virtual instances in the cloud, which easily connects cloud environments. It also utilised different cloud gateways as breakout points giving them power to shape and manage the direction of global network traffic.

Freedom from ISPs

With its legacy MPLS, Simply Business was completely reliant on one specific ISP, with long-term contracts and the inability to change the situation. With SD-WAN, that restriction is eliminated, allowing Simply Business to become ISP agnostic. It can plug any ISP into the NSX SD-WAN Edge and utilizing a private tunnel through that connection to the NSX SD-WAN, it is instantly connected to the private network environment. This means multiple active internet connections and zero downtime if any of those connections is to fail.

“With SD-WAN scaling our business and multi-site management has never been easier.”


Nathan Emmens
Lead BizOps Engineer, Simply Business

Hybrid Management Solution for Flexibility

Simply Business is no longer beholden to one network provider. Leveraging Breeze Networks with SD-WAN, Simply Business uses a network management hybrid model where Breeze Networks manages its service but Simply Business also can manage the service itself using the NSX SD-WAN Orchestrator. It can create business rules and profiles to match its business methods and its suite of applications.

Simply Business can also easily setup VPN tunnels to other sites such as its recent acquirer, Travelers Companies Inc. as well as AWS, Google Cloud, etc., without needing to wait for an account manager and an engineer to organize the change management request and deploy it two to four weeks later. Today, this can be done quickly, eliminating lost opportunity costs as well as increasing efficiencies.

Scalability and Speed to Market

Legacy infrastructures often impeded the speed at which new sites or locations can be brought online because MPLS often takes weeks, if not months, to provision and deploy. SD-WAN removes those obstacles and now Simply Business is able to scale easily, setting up new sites quickly. It simply sends a NSX SD-WAN Edge to the new site and plugs it in to any available link such as broadband, cable, DSL, or 4G.

Simply Business

About Simply Business

Simply Business is one of the UK's biggest business insurance providers, with over 425,000 small businesses and landlords trusting it for insurance. Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements.

Company Name
Simply Business
Industry
Business Insurance
Headquarters
London
Website
simplybusiness.co.uk

Challenges
  • Dependence on inflexible and costly legacy network infrastructure (MPLS)
  • Lack of network visibility, management, and control
  • Inability to expand to new sites quickly and easily
Results
  • Easy and simple network configuration and management.
  • Implement change network-wide through a single profile.
  • Optimized bandwidth and Quality of Service (QoS).
Breeze Networks
About Breeze Networks

Breeze Networks is a managed service provider, founded on the technical design principles of tomorrow. With no legacy infrastructure, we are a truly innovative and flexible network integrator - taking advantage of the latest SD-WAN technology. We are a trusted partner and UK Managed Service provider of VeloCloud. For more information, visit www.breezenetworks.co.uk.


See Also
Enabling Business Insurance Services and Its Call Centres with SD-WAN
Customer Case Study (PDF)
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