How to Avoid Paralysis by Analysis When Choosing a Networking Solution

Seeking a new network solutions partner? Looking for a company to perform a review of your IT infrastructure? On the hunt for someone who can implement a hardware installation at your organization? Regardless of your networking needs, the search for an experienced and knowledgeable provider is often a complex and frustrating experience — so much so that many in this predicament become paralyzed by the plethora of options available to them and are unable to make a decision.

If you begin to feel overwhelmed by an overload of information, it’s important to step back before you reach a level of paralysis by analysis that causes you to forgo making a decision or to choose the “safer” (but not necessarily best) option. There’s no denying that it’s difficult to be the one responsible for choosing a network solution when there are so many options out there. But you don’t have to let fear and apprehension about this decision keep you from making the right one. Use the following tips to overcome paralysis by analysis when choosing a networking solution.

Set a search timeline and a decision deadline.

You simply don’t have the luxury of sitting back while your competitors adapt to the latest IT transformations. Your search for a networking solution must be a priority. To keep things moving and avoid a standstill, set a structured timeline for the entire process.

Break out the search into various time blocks and determine a deadline for the final decision. Be sure to allow yourself at least a week before the decision deadline to perform a thorough review of all your choices and information.

Identify your networking issue, and really understand it.

When it comes to a networking solution for your organization, what exactly are you looking to accomplish? Do you have a particular service in mind? Are you attempting to solve an issue for which you don’t know the root cause? Is there a lack of network security that you’re trying to overcome? Are you in need of an upgrade?For every need, there is an appropriate solution, so properly identifying these requirements must be your first step. Until you fully comprehend the networking nuances of your individual organization, you won’t have a good idea of how to find the solution that can address them appropriately.

Consider hiring or consulting someone to make the decision.

You’ll need to decide whether this process should be handled by someone else within or outside of your organization. Perhaps you need to hire or consult someone in order to feel confident that you’re making a well-informed decision. Whether you choose to outsource this position or rely on an internal candidate, it’s important to bring them on board at the very beginning.

Determine your budget.

Every organization has its budget limitations, so it’s essential to be very clear about what you can and can’t do financially. With all of the service recommendations, proposed products and provider man hours that come with implementing a networking solution, you’ll need to be prepared to approach your options with a realistic budget.

Some of the costs you can expect to incur are:

  • New devices and equipment
  • Design, implementation and deployment
  • Managed services

With a predetermined budget, you’ll be in a better position to ascertain true value propositions. You should approach providers with questions about the long-term financial benefits of your investment.

Dig in and begin your search.

Once the prep work is complete, it’s time to move forward and start researching the choices at your disposal based on industry, location, offerings, reviews and other areas. Keep all viable options and supporting information saved within the same document or folder in order to maintain an organized, time-saving effort.

Weed through your options.

With a list of options in hand, you can start your initial review through the process of elimination, removing any choices that are immediately disqualified based on your requirements. Think about your initial needs assessment to weed out the definite no’s according to:

  • The criteria most important to your organization
  • Proximity considerations
  • Areas of expertise
  • Desired certifications or awards
  • Advice and feedback from industry colleagues

You can also make some initial judgements based on each prospect’s recommended solutions. You’ll need to solicit answers to some of the following types of questions to perform an informed analysis in this area.

  • How long will the solution last?
  • What is the likely Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over the lifetime of the products?
  • What will be involved in maintaining it?
  • What level of efficiency does it provide?
  • How long will it take to implement?
  • How easy is it to integrate, and how will users be affected?
  • Will additional equipment, bandwidth, etc., be required to support it?
  • What benefits or advantages should the business expect to see?

Dive deeper into the viable choices.

There are a number of core networking solutions and services that an effective partner should provide. You’ll want to investigate these particular offerings on a deeper level to find out which ones can best accommodate your specific needs, including:

  • Site Surveys
  • Network Assessments
  • Structured Cabling
  • Network Cleanup
  • Managed Services

As you scrutinize these and other offerings, be sure to think about more than just your present realities. Consider the future of your business and how you expect to grow over time. Be smart about choosing a partner who will support your growth and keep you at the forefront of your industry.

Initiate your “final week” review of all information.

Use this scheduled time to organize your thoughts and align your needs with the most promising solutions. Approach the data with patience and objectivity, using a scoring or categorization system to highlight the top contenders.

Consult with your decision makers, and move forward.

After you’ve done the requisite homework and streamlined your information, take this data to your decision makers to get consensus on the greatest pros and cons for each solution. Find out what they have to say about the data and information you’ve collected. Then make your selection based on the option that:

  • Checks off the most boxes on your list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”
  • Displays the highest level of potential to deliver on both your current and future needs
  • Speaks most directly to the IT struggles and objectives of your organization

Paralysis by analysis doesn’t have to be your fate in the process of selecting a networking solution. You can make a well-informed, confident decision by taking a smart approach. For more expert insight on choosing the right networking solutions provider, download your free guide now.

By Craig Badrick


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