Smart Steps to Improve Network Performance

Solving IT challenges in “rapid growth” organizations requires more than just cash flow. Integracon helps organizations address challenges with cost-effective strategic solutions that improve network performance without breaking the bank. One of our clients, a rapidly expanding church, asked us to help them solve some of the performance problems in their network. Integracon developed and implemented a solution that increased network up time by 67 percent while dramatically reducing annual IT cost.

This church faced a common problem in developing organizations, an overly complex and poorly coordinated IT. Without a strategic plan for development IT often becomes a problem instead of a solution. The technology becomes a bottleneck for projects, communication, and more. Many IT consultants advise clients to “buy” their way out of problems.

Integracon disagrees. “More isn’t always better,” says Integracon CEO Greg Kill. “The church already was spending a lot of money for very poor results.” Integracon approached the problem holistically and scientifically.  “Our first step was to collect metrics,” Kill said. “And what we found was surprising.”

As it turns out, the church has a serious and confusing sprawl problem. By studying the IT environment, Integracon uncovered six times more closets and switches than had been previously reported.  “The previous vendor did a lot of cabling, but ‘doglegged’ connections, for example,” Kill said. “Without a detailed plan in place, it could take days to find and fix problems.”

The kind of confusing clutter is common when IT infrastructure is developed haphazardly over time without a consistent plan for growth. This often results in higher costs and poorer performance. In the case of the church, IT response time took longer and longer, and the Internet was unavailable one-third of the time.

Collecting Metrics for IT Problem Solving

Integracon started by collecting metrics. “We monitored everything, including all key IT devices, to establish baselines,” Kill said, “And then we communicated our findings to everyone involved.” This helped Integracon to pinpoint real problem areas as opposed to perceived problems.  “The beauty of using metrics – or technical discovery – is that we can compare perceptions of the problem with the scientifically proven reality. Often, impartial data indicate that the problems – and their solutions – can be found in a completely different area than anticipated,” Kill said.

Strategic Plan for Improving Network Performance

With real data in hand, Integracon explained the challenges to the church staff and offered a proposed path forward. The network performance plan focused on five specific indicators:

  1. Reliability
  2. Security
  3. Performance
  4. Scalability
  5. Cost Sensitivity

1. Reliability – The network performance plan focused on increasing uptime and making email, Internet and applications available to staff without hassle. Integracon developed a solution that required little hardware and software investment.

2. Security – A range of issues like anti-viruses, spyware, unauthorized access, file sharing and password issues as well as the extensive use of Internet radio can dramatically reduce network performance. Integracon developed a strategy to address these problems while also mitigating risks to their brand and to their IT network.

3. Performance – Integracon’s plan also greatly improved internal network performance by reconfiguring the client’s switching environment. “They were paying for a 10 meg Internet connection but getting only 2 megs,” Kill explained. “We were even able to negotiate a $50,000 credit for them by proving this discrepancy existed.”

4. Scalability – The new plan improved the system’s ability to expand applications without degrading reliability, security or performance.

5. Cost sensitivity – Integracon could have used the standard “buy more tech” approach but instead used the scientific approach to find the best overall results within budget.

“In essence, we moved IT problems out of the way so the church could concentrate on its mission,” said Kill. “And that’s a satisfying outcome for everyone. They knew they had a trusted group helping them.” The solution implemented by Integracon delivered big wins for the organization such as

  • Network performance up time jumped from 67 percent to 97 percent.
  • Service response time was cut from 4-5 days to 1-4 hours.
  • Network security created one entry point instead of 50.
  • Annual IT operating budget was slashed by 40% (from $800,000 to $150,000).

By delivering such dramatic results, Integracon ended up receiving more than a dozen referral calls from area churches and other organizations with similar IT challenges. In your organization is facing network performance, give us a call. We can help you find a cost-effective solution that fits your organization goals. Call Integracon today at 865-330-2323 or chat via Integracon.com.

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