System Selection Dos and Don'ts

Note: This is part 3 of The Teleconvergence Approach to System Selection. If you haven’t already done so, please begin by reading Part 2, Selecting a System – and Getting it Backward.

Why Not To Do What You Do

When you see a doctor, it's because you have a specific problem. You don't expect the doctor to give you brochures or tell you about his favorite diseases or the details of her best operations. You really aren’t interested in everything the doctor can theoretically do for you. You only care about your symptoms and your diagnosis.

And that’s precisely what's wrong with the usual system selection process. You care about what you need, not about what the vendor has. The emphasis is clearly in the wrong place: on the vendor's solutions rather than on the buyer's problems. You aren't really -- or shouldn't really be -- interested in the technology, but instead in what the technology can do for you.

Teleconvergence focuses on understanding a client's needs, wants, limitations, time frames, financial constraints, and everything else that will or could play a part in your decision-making process. We want to know not only the business objectives supporting the technological effort, but equally the business processes and reasoning behind those objectives.


Teleconvergence helps organizations solve business problems and issues arising from technological change or from the need to be responsive to the effects of such change.

A good deal of our systems practice touches on leveraging technology (including telecom) because the 21st century’s driving business needs are to communicate, cooperate, and collaborate. Our clients must exploit technology to reach their objectives while refusing to become subservient to it. When determining a client’s system requirements, we also note the full range of existing business and human factor issues that must be satisfied, future plans that must be accommodated into the system architecture, and so on.

The Teleconvergence consulting process results in the establishment of longer-term infrastructure at the same time that immediate issues are being addressed. Our perspective, a result of our having done this many, many times, is what adds depth and value to the business cases we make for our recommendations to our clients.

An Eminently Practical Methodology

It is important to point out that the Teleconvergence Process initially mostly ignores available vendor, system, and technological alternatives, focusing instead on understanding a client's business, technical, and strategic needs. We pay as much attention to your business and strategic objectives as we do to your financial constraints and projected timelines.

In other words, we look at the business and operating requirements first, then the means to satisfy them second.

Teleconvergence has no bias toward or vested interest in any particular vendor or system solution, new or pre-owned, physical or hosted or virtual.  In fact, we have no bias toward any new solution at all. We may end up simply recommending that you keep what you have while showing you how to modify it to satisfy your needs for the foreseeable future.  That's why we work for you and only for you.

Vendors will tell you what you want to hear. Teleconvergence will assess your situation, discuss your alternatives, and then we'll tell you what you need to hear.

What we suggest you read next is the next article in the series, How Teleconvergence Keeps Up with Developments.
Conceptually, it’s really (almost) as simple as that. Practically, though, there’s a lot of work involved.  Incidentally, for the full description of our approach, please read The Teleconvergence System Selection Process in Detail.
A reminder: This entire section discusses our approach to system selection.  When you're done, for a complete treatment of the types of systems we consider and why, please refer to the section Telecom Consulting Services, beginning with the series of articles entitled Changing Systems?

Two Final thoughts Regarding System Selection

1. Avoid being locked into a vendor and especially, into a vendor's vision of the future. Each vendor has its own technology, its own evolution strategy that calls for replacing whatever it offers today with something else in a number of years, whether it's broken or not. Or even whether you need it or not.

  • As we say elsewhere, even if a vendor's vision or strategy is valid, that vision cannot and will not be the same as yours, and so it can't possibly take you where you need to go. If that vision is faulty or false, then it simply will not get you anywhere.
  • It's also worth repeating that the probability that any vendor, no matter how valuable a "strategic" partner, has the same business priorities, objectives, and strategies as you is exactly zero.

2. You may or may not need a consultant. You may decide not to retain a consultant whether you need one or not. But virtually every business can benefit from a consultant's perspective.