The Unprecedented Importance of Revisiting IT Precedents

Every IT leader would agree that a few of the top goals of any IT department are to provide reliable, secure, and sufficient services to meet the needs of the company that they support. Most IT leaders would also agree that yesterday’s solution is for yesterday’s needs. If today’s needs are different, then yesterday’s solutions are likely insufficient. This is clear to most people. The blind spot for some leaders is recognizing that solutions continuously evolve even if your needs remain static. Today’s unchanged solution to your unchanged needs might seem sufficient, but it might be hurting your company if it goes unchecked.

Whether you have worked with the company for 2 years or 20 years, it is important to revisit the precedents for solutions that have been set by you or others on a periodic basis. Each year, I add to my IT action plan to review at least one past large-scale solution with the same basic goals to achieve: better service, and better value.

Two years ago, I chose to revisit the company’s telecommunications infrastructure. As anticipated, I had the goals of providing better service and better value to the company and our customers. In pursuit of these goals, I met with our sales and support teams and asked about any pain points that they had and what an ideal solution would look like for them. I met with our finance team and compiled a complete TCO report for our existing telecommunications infrastructure. To provide better value, it was imperative to know the big picture of our total costs. Any new solution would need to provide compelling enough value and service for it to make sense. After a few months of research, and many SC led demo’s we found our solution. We tossed our very large footprint legacy on-premises PBX (including the PRI, and ACD, AES, SIP, etc.) in favor of software phones and a standards-based SIP solution with a managed cloud PBX. It has been two years since that project was completed and the our sales and support teams still tell me how happy they are with the new phone system. Not only did this project save the company $30K per year, but the sales team is enjoying mobility options that had never existed before. Our sales team can work from home and even take calls to their office line from the road.

The best part of the whole project was when I saw the smiles on our sales team’s faces a few weeks after the project was completed. The company’s needs had not changed since the last solution was implemented. But by contrasting the viable incumbent solution against leading modern solutions, I was able to sponsor and implement the change that unlocked unforeseen productivity gains and simultaneously improved the company’s bottom-line.