We find that at times IT staff – and vendors – can have the tendency to make IT more complicated that it needs to be. And by doing that, it increases risk and cost to the business.
Keep it simple whenever possible.
Recently, we had a choice. To give you a little background, a part of an overall infrastructure redesign had to get accelerated for business reasons. The outsourcer involved was recommending a major network upgrade to support VoIP phones in a separate building. If you know that technology, you might agree. To separate the voice from the data on the same network, you need a higher level network switch.
Sometimes there is a better way though. In researching the fiber connection between buildings, we found two! Yes, that means we can keep voice completely separate from data. Maybe it’s not as elegant as the big upgrade. Ultimately though, it keeps things simple and provides the same functionality with less risk. Voice can’t impact a network that needs a lot of work, which now will not have to be done under the gun. Of course, the vendor’s revenue gets delayed a bit as well…
Phase things in.
In one situation, the phone system is getting replaced. A high priority health emergency call center line needs to be redesigned. Rather than redesigning it in the first phase, we will get the new system online, and then address the redesign. That way we know where to start looking if something isn’t working right. (Yes, despite thorough planning, issues still happen.)
System conversions are notoriously difficult to phase in. Interfaces between new and old have to be created. The “big bang” approach of converting everything at once is such a high risk that businesses pay to create those interfaces even though they will get thrown away. Even converting by module (e.g. HR, Financials, Production), is better than trying for the big bang which have a high risk of being over budget, being late and even of failure.
Next time someone presents a really complicated plan, ask questions. Work to identify a simpler solution. It doesn’t always exist, but if you can keep IT simple, it will often be cheaper, easier to maintain, easier to understand and a lower risk to your business.