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Lessons for IT and Telecom Managers

Last of a three-part series of articles on what we learned from an installation at our new office

If there are major lessons for IT and telecom managers in this comedy of errors; they would have to do primarily with planning and preparation: You can never plan or prepare too much!

We didn’t expect so many troubles to crop up since the system had been very stable for a long period of time. As well, we didn’t design an initial back-up disaster solution in the event of voice systems problems because, again, our situation was ‘temporary’.

Temporary or not, we should have designed and planned for the worst, like we do for all of our client projects. We have designed and now implemented a standby solution that provides real-time backup if our IP phone equipment or network has any service or performance issues.

The first “Ah-Ha”

There’s no doubt that small and medium-sized businesses benefit when equipment manufacturers take the communication features that used to be only available with expensive, high-end gear and make them available and affordable to small and medium sized companies.

But, conversely, small corporations then have to think and act ‘big’ when it comes to planning, project and vendor management.

Be prepared to not only swing like a heavyweight fighter when the network supplier threatens to leave the arena, but be prepared to make whatever changes are required in order to provide professional, reliable voice and data communications services to support your clients. They are the ones that count to win the fight in migrating to converged technologies!

The big “Ah-Ha”

This project with the associated time, effort and service impact on our customers combined with the day-to-day expectations of running Fox Group made me, as a tech-savy leading edge telecom consultant and analyst realize that it is critical and necessary to separate our next generation “testing” from our day-to-day business.

Although this may be a bit of a disappointment to everyone since the “living lab” did result in very useful findings and feedback for the participating vendors, our customers and Fox Flash readers, we will not continue to do this at our customers’ expense.

As a result, our test lab will now run distinct and separate from our business technology environment. We will not submit our clients to the pain and disruption of dealing with early-adopter technologies in working with us as telecommunications management consultants and analysts in the future.

Postscript

We continue to work with all our suppliers co-operatively to strive to ensure that not only we, but vendors as a whole, understand the importance of marrying the needs of businesses with the fast-paced advancements in communications technology.

It has been a learning experience for both of us and we continue to work together by re-installing the initial solution using the design and supporting recommendations that I have described. If a day does not pass that is a learning experience then why live!

As always Roberta Fox welcomes your thoughts and feedback on this and other emerging technology topics. Contact editor@foxgroup.ca.