IT Strategy for WAN Procurement and your organisations specific business strategy
The IT strategy element is perhaps one of the most powerful WAN procurement areas because, when used correctly, IT Managers are well position to align their specific business requirements with the MPLS network or VPLS service provider capability.
Strategy encompasses two elements. The first is your company strategy, competitive edge and business growth. The second is the procurement strategy your business will follow in order align your organisation with future WAN capability.
Over long periods of time, your WAN’s abilities and limitations are directly related to what the organisations is able to do on the network. How your users are able to really interact and make use of the network will affect their overall performance and, as a knock on, the organisations. And this is where the real problems begin. The majority of service provider salesman have a product to sell and will focus on your sites and bandwidth with the result being good commercials and a solution. But perhaps not correctly aligned. In some cases, IT Managers believe the approach of a quotation vs spreadsheet is an acceptable strategy. However, I’d stress the need to think a little more in-depth because connectivity is a major leading competitive edge for your organisation. The wrong decision will impact the business. When outsourcing to an MPLS provider a major point is to consider that your business goals may not align with those of the provider. A procurement strategy must be in place to ensure the best possible outcome. The problem is, IT Managers are often unaware of the key areas and vectors to consider. In the race to the best features and benefits, the typical service provider sales process will often miss key strategic elements of MPLS VPN procurement – it is critical that IT Management and procurement teams are armed with the best possible process to ensure this does not occur.
Your organisations strategy
Strategy means different things to different people. When considering company strategy, IT management will need to think about what makes the organisation competitive in the market place and the capabilities which relate to digital process and workflows. A recent article discussed how a Japanese retailed digitised their processes to allow rapid replenishment of stock. The underlying architecture was based on 70,000 computers which collected data of sold items each and every day. The data is analysed and a robust network delivered stock replenishment orders are completed. In addition, even the weather is considered. A strategic initiative must have an underlying network to deliver the data with maximum uptime. Without a robust architecture which support resiliency, traffic growth and application priority, these projects will ultimately fail.
Start with a diagnosis of your current situation
I’ll start with a statement (probably obvious but worth stating): “It doesn’t make sense to keep doing more of what doesn’t work”.
With MPLS network procurement projects I have been involved in over the years, perhaps one of the main reasons that projects do not succeed is indecision. IT Managers are faced with a tonne of service provider presentations which surround features and benefits which all sound the same. In the absence of tangible value, the decision is then based on price alone. If the savings are not significant, it takes a confident IT Manager to change service provider simply because the impact of another wrong decision is significant.
Further reading: Article on MPLS Provider