Anew network installation represents a significant investment for any business and one that should lead to improved capabilities, speeds and agility across the company. However, the stages between deciding to invest and the new system being in place and fully functional can be complex. Not to say hectic and demanding.
These 7 steps can help to ensure a smooth and successful network installation with minimal downtime for your business:
1. Research Your Network Installation
Comprehensive research in the early days of a new project is important to ensure you embark upon the best solution to meet your needs. Expert third-party engineers can help you to objectively review your requirements from both a business and technical perspective to be sure your chosen solution will tick all the boxes you need it to, solving any existing problems and achieving the level of performance required.
Once a solution has been decided upon, any uncertainties need to be clarified prior to purchase. And a detailed understanding formed of all elements required to build the infrastructure in question. Overall, thorough research can minimise risk and therefore accelerate the deployment process.
Planning is a critical part of any network installation and frequently overlooked. Using your research to develop High and Low level designs, implementation plans, testing plans and acceptance criteria is essential. A Project Manager cannot run a project that has not been properly planned. So this should be seen as a critical part of any successful project delivery.
3. Project management
Carefully directed project management is vital to ensure planned budgets and timescales for the project are adhered to and all resources are aligned in the right quantities at the right times. Project management begins with a full deployment plan detailing each step required. And the order in which events must take place and any contingency procedures. However, it does not end there. It must continue throughout the process, reviewing the venture as it unfolds and amending plans as required. This ensures one deviation does not have a knock-on effect elsewhere.
Project management may also extend beyond the end of the actual network installation. For example, planning how change will be managed within the team. And developing appropriate test plans to ensure all new equipment is fully functional, fault free and operating as it should.
Pre-staging can help to mitigate risk, eliminating many of the issues that may cause a delay during the network installation process. These services allow equipment to be set up in a test environment prior to installation, ensuring any faults are eliminated and giving the team complete confidence in the solution they are deploying.
During the pre-staging process, configuration details can be finalised and testing carried out to ensure capacity and performance requirements are met and will continue to be met should the network grow. Interoperability testing with existing equipment can also help to iron out any integration issues meaning equipment can easily be slotted in where it’s needed when the time comes for installation.
Ensuring timely and reliable logistics is key to a smooth network installation process with minimal downtime. All other elements can be planned and in place, but without good logistics and reliable delivery of equipment, delays in deployment can begin to stack up.
A company carrying out an installation needs to be sure relevant equipment will be delivered to the correct location. At the time it is expected. This means all other elements, such as removal of existing equipment and provision of engineers to carry out the installation, can be aligned at the right time. This will minimise costs in both time and expenditure and ensure tight deadlines are met.
It is also worth considering what will happen to any old equipment. It may be worth looking for a logistics provider who can also manage the removal and disposal or resale of your surplus equipment.
The importance of training on new systems should not be underestimated. Seamless installation planning and deployment can come unstuck later down the line if your in-house team is unfamiliar with the new equipment, how it functions, how it integrates with your incumbent system and how to resolve any issues that may arise. Training ensures your engineers have all the tools they need to keep your system operating smoothly. It can also help ensure you get the maximum performance from your investment. Ensuring all the benefits of the new equipment are fully understood, training can similarly help to overcome any resistance to change, which is often brought about by unfamiliarity and a fear of the unknown.
Finally, effective planning and smooth implementation makes it easier to document the system and configurations you have in place – a vital step in the network installation process that must not be ignored. Documentation makes it easier to manage equipment, warranties and asset lifecycles, it allows you to easily reference your architecture in the future when troubleshooting problems and it makes it easier to pass on details of your system to new members of staff.
Looking to the future, documentation also makes the planning of future developments and upgrades easier. Because you have a reliable map of your current capabilities to work from.