The days of deploying new equipment for the sake of having the latest and
greatest ended when the Internet bubble burst. Nevertheless, there are many
legitimate reasons for upgrading your company’s enterprise network. The trick
is selling those reasons to the executives holding your company’s purse strings.
When you know it’s time for a network upgrade, you need to have more than the
technical facts — you need to arm yourself with a rock-solid business case. Start
with these 10 ways to sell the members of your upper-management team on the
- Know your numbers
It’s no secret: No matter how promising a technology may be, if it doesn’t
result in a tangible inancial beneit to your business, it won’t get a green
light from upper management. So when you propose a network upgrade,
make sure that its business case is strong enough to clearly show what it will
do for the company. For instance, how much money will the upgrade save or
earn your company? How will it help employees become more productive?
Know up front what the technology’s positive ROI (return on investment) will
- Run new, revenue-generating applications and cost-saving services.
Simply put, old networks can’t run next-generation applications — at
least, not eiciently enough to satisfy customers or employees. If your
company is looking to ofer customers Web 2.0 services or cut costs with a
VoIP implementation, you need a modern enterprise to handle the greater
bandwidth requirements, QoS (quality of service) functions, and additional
traic that will be generated by both next-generation applications and voice
- Protect the business with tightened enterprise security.
Security threats continue to evolve, and so should your security measures.
Any network upgrade should include advanced security measures that
protect new applications, such as Web 2.0 communications tools and VoIP,
to ensure the most impenetrable borders possible. But security threats come from inside an organization as well as outside, so a security system must
be upgraded to continue to prevent data theft — including a company’s
proprietary information — and fraud from disgruntled employees.
- Save money through reduced power consumption.
The push toward making IT more ecologically friendly is both good for the
planet and good for your business. If it’s your datacenter you’re overhauling,
choose energy-eicient servers, such as Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Sun Fire/
SPARC Enterprise T1000 and T2000 boxes or Dell’s Energy Smart PowerEdge
servers. Also, choose other datacenter equipment, such as fans, that reduces
the amount of power your company consumes and pays for. In his blog, David
Douglas, Sun Microsystem’s vice president of Eco Responsibility, advised
readers to make the most of their eiciency projects by factoring energy
savings into the ROI on capital improvements.
- Increase employee productivity.
The primary reason to upgrade a LAN is to gain greater performance from
your client/server applications. When you applications run faster, your
organization’s employees can accomplish more work in a day. According
to Cisco Systems Inc., a CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computeraided
modeling) applications task that takes ive minutes to execute with
a 10BaseT hub could execute in just one minute with a 10 Mbps Ethernet
- Increase network capacity.
Speeds and feeds still have a place in selling a network upgrade. Quite
simply, without increased capacity, an organization can’t use new and big
applications, such as VoIP, which promise to both cut costs and help make
workers more productive.
- Make the network more reliable.
From financial institutions to retail outlets to academic outposts, almost
every organization today relies on its network to do business. And when
the network is the business, downtime will certainly lose your company
revenue and quite likely scare of customers. A network upgrade can make
the enterprise more reliable and decrease costly downtime.
- Ensure ongoing vendor support.
If your network devices have been around long enough, they’re probably
nearing the end of their useful life. When devices become outdated, vendors
stop supporting them with necessary software patches, technical support
and replacements for failed parts. A network upgrade will include fresh
vendor support, and you may be able to negotiate less-expensive support
contracts with your IT providers.
- Refresh and hone network design.
A network upgrade is an opportunity to revisit and improve the design of
the enterprise. This is a great time to make your network more modular, for
instance, which would allow you to ease further changes into your network
in stages. It also allows you to better tune IT functionality to the needs of
each site within your company.
- Simplify network management.
Upgrading the network is also a chance to simplify network management
with, for instance, powerful automated tools and a uniied interface, which
will make it more cost-efective and eicient.