A Peer-Submitted Best Practice

Digital transformation through Network Modernization, Making the Impossible, Possible

Driving Digital Transformation is a way of driving competitive advantage in the marketplace. We recognized that enabling our company’s business functions to seamlessly operate between a physical and a digital world would require significant strengthening of our technology foundation. The foundational digital transformation program scope involved moving from a traditional on-premise data center to a world-class, private managed cloud provider while enhancing infrastructure and application performance insights. In addition, a key objective was enhancing the employee experience by deploying a first-ever employee engagement mobile application for our frontline employees while driving collaboration using Video channels and softphones instead of only voice / e-mail.

To accelerate the programs, a strong foundation was key. We first chose the SD-WAN solution that supported both edge computing and firewall security. We performed an initial pilot to validate the solution. Once validated, our largest challenge was to determine how to deploy 500 circuits and 5,000 network devices to 1200 sites across North America in less than 9 months without business disruption.

Another key factor was a strong network operations partner and transport provider. While the above would support a quality deployment, it would not guarantee completion with the aggressive timelines. We had to innovate.

The highest value came in the form of configuring SDWAN-footprint boxes that are now small enough to fit into our fleet making them a significant Industrial IoT enabler. We implemented and configured each box and shipped directly to the site, reducing the onsite deployment time. The development of robust procedures that were able to sustain deployment velocity despite individual site issues was also key along with precise scheduling and execution of numerous third parties as well as equipment and transport logistics. The ability to reconfigure a site by simply moving the SDWAN endpoint, avoiding provisioning new circuit construction also increased agility.

33x increase in network performance 65% reduction in total cost across 1200 North American sites. By moving away from high priced MPLS providers, creating an optimized, outsourced network operations center and innovating an industrial SD-WAN footprint box, this enabled our digital transformation and made what many thought was impossible, possible.

About the Author

Erika is a highly accomplished corporate leader committed to providing technology solutions through a culture of innovation and sustainability. Under Erika’s leadership, WM’s Digital Business Services:

  • Provides cloud productivity and wireless capabilities for  over 1,200 sites acrosst North America.
  • Executes WM’s Digital Transformation Strategy.
  • Transformed WM’s network from a MPLs network to a modernized edge computing model through the use of SD-WAN technology.
  • Implemented first-ever Teams powered by Avaya Softphone.
  • Innovated first-ever employee engagement mobile solution.
Photo of Erika Walk

By Erika Walk

Senior Director, Digital Business Services at Waste Management

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