Written by Bruce Campbell
A company with a competent IT staff knows its day-to-day technology needs are adequately met. The IT staff gets to know the internal network well, as well as the users on the networks, and are able to respond quickly to issues that arise, to keep everyone productive.
But what about when a situation arises that’s much more involved? Let’s take a network upgrade for an example. The skill sets involved in planning and executing a network upgrade are much different, and go beyond just technical skills.
It’s easier when you’ve been there before
On the planning side, the proposed technology upgrade has to undergo a “Proof of Concept” stage to ensure the technologies being proposed will work (and work together) as planned. Equipment and software needs to be sourced, often from a variety of vendors. Often the possible configuration combinations for the equipment are extensive, and interoperability with other equipment needs to be taken into consideration.
Chances are, the business cannot afford to shut down operations during the upgrade, so the project would need to be executed in a way that allows for phased deployments, with each step tested and vetted before the next step begins.
Experience lets you expect the unexpected
Finally, the technicians doing the upgrade will need to be prepared to deal with the unexpected issues that inevitably crop up. This is the time when experience is invaluable. A technician who has been involved in numerous complex IT projects will be much better equipped to anticipate trouble spots and deal with them. No amount of manuals or conference calls with vendors can match the benefits of experience. No amount of technical training can prepare an IT staff for the intricacies of timing that are essential to a successful IT project.
Finally, keep in mind that the tasks that occupy normally your IT staff’s time don’t go away during the project. How can they be expected to serve the ongoing needs of your existing IT infrastructure, and its users, AND guide an IT Project to an on-time and on budget conclusion?
Investment in expertise and experience pays off
In general, a company will save money and time (and downtime!) by employing an IT Services firm with Project Management skills. The planning and execution skills, coupled with real-world experience, can deliver a well-planned, well executed and well documented IT project that proves to be a wise investment for your company.