Planning for Scale: Project Management at the Center of Successful IT Relocation
Planning for Scale: Project Management at the Center of Successful IT Relocation
After two centuries in New York City, the American Bible Society made a strategic decision to relocate its headquarters. The non-profit organization, which translates and distributes millions of Bibles internationally each year, is one of the oldest charities in the country and had been at its most recent location for nearly 50 years. The American Bible Society’s leadership understood that to relocate an organization with 270 employees, and centuries of history and legacy, required more than simply a company with moving experience.
It would require a trusted technology services partner that could leverage project management experience to maintain and, where possible, improve critical business function. After a careful discovery and bidding process, Pro4ia, a global technology services firm with offices in New York and London, was awarded the project. Pro4ia has a great deal of experience with Technology Relocations in the enterprise and mid-market spaces, including New York City’s largest ever technology relocation.
“We have a mission that reaches around the world, so it is critical that technology works with us strategically to fulfill that mission. Upgrading our network at our headquarters in our new home city, and going through the smallest amount of disruption possible, were outcomes we absolutely needed from a technology partner on this project. Pro4ia was that partner.” – Nick Garbidakis CTO/CIO, American Bible Society
Tasked with relocating the organization and keeping IT aligned with pre-existing and proposed organizational efforts, Pro4ia’s holistic integration of project management into each step of the process guaranteed success during the network implementation. But what is project success? What does it look like when project management is used to ensure success?
Mitigating Against Project Failure
In the US IT industry, Gartner studies suggest that 75% of all projects fail. Information technology failure means these projects miss deadlines, come in over budget, or fundamentally do not accomplish the intended purpose. Moreover, according to the Project Management Institute’s “Pulse of the Profession,” project success rates have been falling since 2008 across the project management industry. By incorporating a strong emphasis on project management into each phase of the project, particularly the planning and initiation phase, Pro4ia’s team avoids the classic project pitfalls that can undermine a business’s critical functions.
“I can’t stress enough that expert project management is essential to aligning IT with a business’s high-level strategic initiatives. From the scope of work, to the network architecture design, to the implementation phase, we started with a project management mentality. That’s what made the difference for ABS, and that’s what powers every single project we’re brought in on.” – Sergio Deligiannis Managing Partner, Pro4ia
There are several common weak points in the initiation, reporting, and fundamental structure of IT projects. Some of the most common reasons for project failure include poorly defined project scopes, improper estimating, and insufficient approval processes. In each of these aspects, the Pro4ia team worked to mitigate against negative outcomes for the American Bible Society. Pro4ia uses a 3+1 approach for every client they partner with. This means each of its three core practice areas of Technology Relocation Services, Technical Services, and Infrastructure Services are each built from a “Project Management First” foundation. Consequently, they follow the sequence of project management best practices: Initiation, Discovery, Planning, Execution, and Close-Out. This consistent approach to technology projects is combined with the deployment and application of PMI-certified Project Management Professionals (PMPs).
A strong indicator of project success or failure is the quality of the project management in the initiation and planning phase of a project. For Pro4ia, ABS’s relocation and network implementation project required a great deal of due diligence in the initiation phase. As part of the regular reporting component, based on PMI best practices, Pro4ia integrated this project management solution into each stage of the project, increasing stakeholder support, understanding, and engagement. Timely approvals throughout the project were also explicitly integrated into the pre-planning and scope of work documents. Each of these items worked together to create a project environment where stakeholders and team members alike understood what to expect, when to expect it, and if there were any issues in implementation.
Maximizing Opportunities By Building For Scale
The American Bible Society is one of the oldest charity organizations in the country and owes its lasting legacy in part to the strength of its vision and foresight. In moving from their headquarters at 1865 Broadway in New York City to Market Street in Philadelphia, the organization’s leadership recognized that the move would be an opportunity to upgrade its network, to improve its resiliency and security, and to build with scale in mind.
Pro4ia provided a technology analysis to ABS as part of the proposal. A technology analysis is a standard part of any project, large or small, to keep business functions and strategy at the forefront of planning and goal-setting. This valuable document assessed current IT performance as dictated by business needs and strategic objectives and acted as a blueprint for growth and scale. While an analysis confirmed the SAN components could be relocated and used efficiently for years to come, ABS and Pro4ia saw an opportunity to replace and upgrade a number of critical pieces of network technology.
“Instead of just relocating their existing technology, we took the opportunity with their move to put in 100% new and next-generation Cisco technology to make the network more resilient, more secure, and more robust. Their goal in moving was to improve their organizational functions—we equipped them with the technological backbone to do that.” – Alex Boccio Project Manager, Pro4ia
In keeping with the needs of the organization, two Cisco components were integrated into the network that are indicative of the strategic deployment of IT to support ABS’s strategic need for efficiency. A Cisco ASA5525 with Firepower now complements the infrastructure of ABS by offering a highly scalable security appliance architecture. In the modern day workplace, maintaining information security is a critical business function. ABS is now armed with the industry’s first threat-focused next generation firewall (NGFW), offering advanced breach and threat detection from both known and unknown threats. The installed Cisco product also offers reduced costs and complexity, positively impacting the mission of the non-profit.
In addition to this installation, the Cisco ASR1002-X router was also added to the network infrastructure, offering embedded enterprise-level services in a small form factor, serving as a high-performing EDGE solution for a private WAN. On top of firewall and IPsec and broadband aggregation, it also allows for significant scaling. The system bandwidth is upgradeable past its factory set limit, allowing for growth to be part of the equipment’s lifecycle.
With no technological disruption to core business function for the organization, the American Bible Society was able to transition smoothly to their new home city of Philadelphia. The project ran seamlessly thanks to the strong emphasis on project management and strategy-oriented planning. Coupled with the network upgrade, and a solid foundation for their technology infrastructure, ABS can trust that its technology initiatives will work for their mission, as it moves into its third century of operation.
Pro4ia integrates project management best practices into every project, for enterprise and mid-sized companies alike. If your organization is looking to relocate or find out how technology can support your business objectives, speak to one our IT experts today, or visit www.pro4ia.com for more information.