Mitigating the Risk of Compressed Timelines

August 28, 2012

– by Dale Hardy, VP of Professional Services

Driving home from a customer meeting this afternoon, it occurred to me that more and more, it seems that nearly every project we do for our customers has a very short timeline or compressed schedule.  Once a company decides to move forward and implement a technology that will help them expand market share, reduce costs, or improve the productivity of their personnel, they want to reap those benefits right away.

When implementing technologies for our customers that touch nearly every area within their business like Unified Communications, data center automation, storage networking, or security, we think it’s important for our customers to understand the potential risks of a compressed implementation schedule (that go along with the rewards).  Short timelines often rely on everything going “just right,” and as we all know, there is a very good chance that something can likely go wrong.

Project success is much more predictable along with risk avoidance when there is sufficient allowance in the schedule for discovery, planning and testing. When time is short, we collaborate with our customers to assess the potential risks inherent with compressed timelines.  Then, we to put together a joint action plan that balances the business’ needs against the risks we’ve identified.  For some customers, that might mean that we meet the target dates for critical locations, departments, or applications while slightly delaying deployments to non-mission critical areas.  For others, it might mean deploying the solution to all locations, but limiting non-essential system functionality to ensure system stability.  In any case, we believe that the most important thing we can do for our customers is to meet their implementation schedule needs without disrupting their business. 

We think our honest approach is the best one for our customers and their businesses, and they do too.  We recently received letters from three customers who thanked us for “doing the impossible” – meeting implementation schedules that even they believed couldn’t be met.  In reality, nothing can displace thorough project discovery and planning; however, our team was committed to  exceed our customers’ expectations while mitigating the risk inherent within compressed timelines.


Keeping an eye on what’s important

August 23, 2012

– by Waheed Choudhry, President and COO

I just returned to the office yesterday from a family vacation to France and London for the Olympics.  Like any executive, I realized that the trip was going to present me with a big challenge.  I had to figure out a way to stay in touch with the business without letting it interfere with the quality time I planned to invest with my family.    

To meet that challenge, I put together a plan – a “family plan”.  My “family plan” allowed me get a needed break from the daily grind and spend time with the most important people in the world – my family.   It also allowed me to take care of business – important business.  Here’s how it worked.

  • Before we left for the trip, I got in contact with my wireless provider to put in place the service I’d need to make and receive voice calls only.   Text messages were out, as were their constant interruptions. 
  • Prior to the trip, I also met with my staff and made sure that all of them understood that they were in charge of the business.  I would be available, just not necessarily instantaneously. 
  • During the trip, I confined Email and other data capabilities to WiFi connections and hotels, Internet cafés, and Cisco’s Cisco House in London.  This ensured that I would share my family’s memories of the people we’d met, the places we’d seen, and the experiences we’d enjoyed.

My “family plan” was a huge success.  I’ve returned to the office renewed and rejuvenated.  My family and I have tons of wonderful memories from the trip – and the incredible opportunity to actually attend Olympic competitions.   And the business?  My staff has kept Nexus on course for another great year.

Staying connected anytime, anywhere, and anyplace is important to every business, everywhere.  But sometimes we as individuals have to remember that we need to disconnect as well.  When we disconnect it allows us to reconnect with the people who matter most– our family, friends, and community.   It allows us to keep an eye on what’s really important.

Click to watch a video on the Nexus corporate culture of “Success, Family, and Fun”


The net impact of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

August 7, 2012

– by Tom Lyon, VP of Managed Services and Shane Roberts, Director of Managed Services

the multitude of consumer devices facing ITA member of our staff at Nexus was surprised to discover that his family of four had consumed 8.26GB of data in just one month.  After interviewing family members, it was pretty clear that the culprits were streaming and downloaded video along with Pandora radio.  But his experience got me thinking about the number one issue our customers talk about when we ask them to name the biggest network management problems they face.  Almost without fail, it’s how to deal with all of the consumer smartphones and tablets that are proliferating on their networks. 

Our customers, and our own experience here at Nexus, tell us that allowing users to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), significantly impacts the network infrastructure in three main areas:

  1. Bandwidth – If four consumers can use 8.26GB of data in one month, how much more will an executive, sales person or field technician generate that uses TelePresence to stay in touch, views high-quality 1080p video, and downloads multimedia documents like PowerPoint presentations, brochures, and comprehensive reports?  Our experience, and that of many of our customers, is that users consume bandwidth almost as fast as it is installed.  We’ve found that providing the bandwidth users need at a cost the company can afford requires an approach that includes policy (limiting devices or types of traffic), technology (bigger pipes, improved infrastructure), and operational improvements (better tools, more efficient processes).
  2. Security – It’s just a little scary to realize that the Vice President’s “business” tablet is also a toy for his/her nine-year-old son or daughter.  And, that both of them are probably making the four biggest smartphone/tablet security mistakes:

    * Downloading apps from unverified sources
    * Using an unlocked device
    * Using a device without a password or using a password that’s simple to break
    * Failing to keep the device’s OS updatedIT professionals know that it’s difficult to change user behavior.

    Therefore, it’s protecting the network that’s key.  We’ve found that single sign-on, context-based access rights, and SSL VPN’s – along with policy – can help insure that a nine-year-old’s mistake doesn’t result in a network intrusion.

  3. Storage – To users, storage is like bandwidth – the more there is, the more they’ll consume. However, all of that video, all of those documents have to be stored somewhere.  And for companies that must comply with Sarbanes-Oxley and other state and Federal laws, simply deleting all of the video isn’t an option.  We’ve helped our customers – and ourselves – to manage the storage storm by implementing robust storage area networking solutions and using virtualization to help cap costs. 

Mobile devices aren’t going away.  And, since companies can’t just stay on an unlimited data plan with their wireless vendor to cap mobile data costs (like our colleague), it’s important to prepare for their impact on network bandwidth, security, and storage.  

Information on Nexus solutions that can help solve BYOD issues is available at:
Identity Services
Network Security
Meet the Demands of End Users
Keeping Up with Bandwidth Demands
The Role of the Network in Data Center Virtualization
Overpaying for Your Communications Infrastructure
Managed Services Provides a Predictable Cost Model


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