The first step in the process of developing and implementing an effective IT plan for the client is to perform Network Discovery. Performing Network Discovery allows MEI to find the best solution for accomplishing the objectives outlined herein while minimizing or eliminating the need to "re-do" anything or do anything twice. Network Discovery entails the following procedures:
  • Perform interviews with organization members including administrative staff, managers and clerical employees. Interviews are intended to reveal information including:
    • Level of computer skills possessed
    • Workflows
    • Database requirements
    • Software Application requirements
    • Communications requirements (internal and external)
    • Document Handling needs
    • Known problems with existing hardware
    • System shortcomings and problems as perceived by users
    • Current and future "actual" hardware and software requirements
    • Wish-List items
  • Complete inventory of current equipment
    • Identify current number of computer workstations in use
    • Identify capability of existing workstations
    • Identify specific hardware and software configurations of existing equipment including CPU speed, Hard Disk capacity, Memory Capacity, etc.
    • Identify printers
    • Identify Local Area Network (LAN) topology including:
      • wiring scheme
      • cable type (Cat-3, Cat-5, plenum)
      • Hub/Switch configurations (10Mbt, 100Mbt, 1Gbt)
    • Identify Servers (dedicated and peer-to-peer) and their specific hardware configurations
    • Identify power requirements and protection
    • Identify peripherals in use (Palm devices, scanners, etc.)
  • Complete inventory of current software
    • Identify Operating System platform and version of workstations (Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP)
    • Identify Operating System platform and version of Servers (Windows NT/2000)
    • Identify Application Software and versions including Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Database, e-mail, Contact Management, Accounting, etc.
  • Complete examination of current connectivity and communications capabilities
    • Identify Internet connectivity for e-mail
    • Identify Internet connectivity for Web Access
    • Identify Computer Based Fax capability
The "Deliverable Product" resulting from Network Discovery is a written report identifying the current IT needs and future goals of the client and a detailed plan for meeting these needs. The report will include the following:

  • Current Inventory Statement of Computer Hardware and Software
  • A short-term technology plan addressing the immediate needs of the client as identified during staff interviews
  • A long-term technology plan addressing goals set forth during staff interviews
  • A detailed plan addressing the consolidation of existing databases
  • An RFP detailing hardware and software necessary to meet the short-term goals of the client
  • Training requirements for implementing new systems and software
  • Consulting and Support requirements for providing guidance and assistance with maximizing use of the new technologies proposed
  • Estimated costs of on-going costs for hardware maintenance
  • Estimated costs of on-going costs for Internet Connectivity and presence
  • Timetables for implementation
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