Project Managers: The Unsung Heroes of Telecom

You finally found the right WAN solution for your company. Congratulations!

The hard part is done right? I mean, the carrier assigned an account manager to you, so they should be doing all the hard work. Now, you just have to sit back, relax, and let them do their job…

If you’ve ever been through even one network migration or turn-up, then you’re probably already chuckling to yourself a little.

Project managers vs. account managers

Account managers and carrier support exist to be reactive throughout the migration process and try to mitigate any problems after they have happened. That’s not exactly a plan for success, but at least you’re getting some support.

For this reason, many companies also assign internal assets to be project managers and oversee every step of the process in order to try and prevent problems before they occur. A project manager stays in touch with IT personnel, local contacts, hardware providers, and carrier contacts to make sure everybody’s on the same page and working towards the same goal and deadline.

A project manager can be the difference between happy management and end users, and an inbox full of angry emails because sites are down and employees are left twiddling their thumbs on company time.

Communication is key, and you need to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting from a support standpoint before you sign the dotted line with your carrier.

Titles can vary from carrier to carrier, but what level of support are you actually getting? In an era of technology dominated by “as a service” offerings, project managers are a key element in making any given service a true solution.

While it can be hard to determine who should be handling certain elements of a solution at times, a good project manager and helpful solution provider will be ready with a scope-of-work to keep everybody on track.

A clearly defined breakdown of how a solution will come together is essential to success. Once this is documented, you need a project manager willing to work closely with all parties involved to keep driving the project forward and everybody on track.

If you’re signing a multi-year contract with a significant monthly cost attached, then you should expect the most from your solution provider. A reactive support system that isn’t coordinating with your local contacts to schedule site-visits or your IT personnel to test on-site hardware isn’t adding any real value and may even be costing you money by having to fill in the gaps.

Expect more from solution providers and ask the right questions early to make sure you get what you are paying for. Doing so can mean the difference between deploying your own IT assets to every branch for mindless tasks and managing remote assets that already have to be on-site so that your IT team can stay central and productive through your migration or turn-up.

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