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                                          Respond to two classmates with citation for each responses
In the LC PBX project how important was using a six step implementation process for the implantation process, or was it not useful at all ?
The LC PBX project was in my opinion was successful due to the company using a six step implementation process. What makes up the six steps of the strategic plan used in implementing a new system?
There are six steps in our process guide to strategy implementation that you can follow and ensure that your strategic plan evolves from just a plan, into a strategic implementation:

Define your strategy framework
Build your plan
Define KPIs
Establish your strategy rhythm
Implement strategy reporting
Link performance to strategy                                                                                                                 In everyday terms, it is DOING what you said you would do while in the planning phase.

What made LaGrange College PBX case successful?
LaGrange College had used an ESSX system; but due to the growth of college students, they felt it would be better for them to upgrade their system. The college wanted to arrange for each faculty member to have their own specific telephone number, rather than sharing one phone line for multiple faculty.
Faculty members and board members at LaGrange College formed a team to discuss the needs and plans for this transformation. They formed a six step model and discussed each step in detail. The first step was to investigate. In the investigation phase of the project, the problem is identified by management staff and discussed with the rest of the team. The second step is the analysis and design phase. In this phase they determined the exact needs for the system. Next, they had to determine the design and order and install the necessary equipment. After the system was installed and tested, implementation took place. Staff was trained on the new system and taught how to maintain it. In the final stage, the system is turned over to a maintenance group who is trained on how to identify and correct any issues that have occurred. 
LaGrange College worked together and planned each step out into detail in order to have a successful transformation. If the staff would not have discussed it with one another, the transformation may not have been as successful. The System Development Life Cycle at Work: An Examination of a Successful Private

Branch Exchange (PBX) Installation

Ron Davis

Auburn University

Auburn, AL

Tel: 334.844.6524

Houston Carr, Ph.D.

Auburn University

Auburn, AL

Tel: 334.844.6522

Jeremy Stafford

Auburn University

Auburn, AL

Tel: 334.844.6524




This article analyzes an installation of a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) at a

private medium-sized southeastern college and the role that the Systems Development

Life Cycle (SDLC) played in this project. The SDLC is described and is followed by an

illustration of how the steps of the SDLC were implemented in the LaGrange College

PBX project. This examination reveals that following the guidelines of the SDLC is

fundamental to the success of an information systems installation project. The article also

asserts that the analysis and general design phase is the most important step of the SDLC

and an extremely detailed model showing the requirements of the system must be

developed early in the process.




Founded in 1831, LaGrange College (LC) is a southeastern liberal arts college

located about sixty miles southwest of Atlanta, Georgia. Roughly 1,000 students are

enrolled and approximately 200 full and part-time staff members are employed on a 120-

acre campus. In the spring of 2000, the college decided to examine its existing telephone

service. The college had been using BellSouth ESSX©, which is a form of centrex service,

for many years. Although ESSX had performed adequately during this time, the college

felt that this service would not meet the growing needs of the school. For example, due to

the extra monthly expense charged for additional services, few users within the college

had any features besides local and long distance access. The college wished to provide

additional features such as digital and analog telephone service, direct outward dial

(DOD), music on hold, and call transfer. Particularly, LC wanted each member of the

faculty and staff, as well as each student living in on-campus housing, to have an

individual voice mail account. The college also wanted to furnish each faculty and staff

member with their own unique telephone number. Under ESSX, as many as three

professors were sharing one phone line. Additionally, the college desired to bring

maintenance and upgrading of the system in-house to avoid possible delays in service. In

recognition of these problems, a two-man project team was formed to address the

situation. One member of the team was a self-taught PC network administrator who had

spent the previous year working within the administration of the school. The other

member was an LC employee who served as the liaison between the school and

BellSouth. Neither employee had any formal training in the Systems Development Life

Cycle (SDLC), information systems, or telecommunications.



As the college considered available alternatives, the first decision to be made was

whether to remain with ESSX or to install some other solution. Some more advanced

technical options were eliminated immediately because the IS department was not

directly involved with the project. However, the new executive management team of the

college had prior experience with Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) and felt comfortable

both with the technology and with making the necessary financial investment into a PBX

project. For these reasons, options other than installing a PBX or remaining with ESSX

were eliminated immediately from consideration.

Insert table 1 here.

Table 1. Comparison of a centrex system and a PBX.


The Systems Development Life Cycle, routinely used by systems analysts,

programmers, and other IT professionals to complete information systems projects, is a

process of using a standard approach to solve a problem. A simplistic diagram of the

SDLC would be as follows: Analysis → Design → Implementation. First, one must

determine what the problem is, design a solution for the problem, and then install that

solution The PBX project at LaGrange College utilized a more detailed SDLC model

consisting of six steps. In the following sections, a technical explanation of each step will

be given followed by a discussion of the actions taken during the PBX project at

LaGrange College.



Step 1. Investigation.

In the investigation phase of the project, the problem is identified by a user, a

member of the technical staff, or a member of management. After this occurs, a team is

formed to discuss the problem and any potential solutions. Teams are usually composed

of a leader, technical specialists, and users. In addition, Telco or vendor representatives

and consultants may also be included. A senior member of the organization usually

serves as the project champion. This person needs the stature and resources to assist the

project in overcoming various political hurdles within the organization. The team should

address all issues affecting the project such as the project scope, technical concerns, risk

issues, and geographic locations. In addition, the feasibility of various options is

discussed in general terms. Accessing feasibility may cover many different areas of

concern (economic, technical, behavioral, operational, time, ethical, and regulatory).

Once this process has been competed, a white paper should be created describing the

project and its objectives.

At the onset, the investigation at LaGrange College was limited because the

management team preferred to retain ESSX or acquire a PBX system. The main goals of

the project were listed as a) offer a telephone system to the campus community that is

reliable and offers many features, b) provide a system that is cost effective in both the

short and long term, and c) maintain control over the system locally by an LC employee.

Considering these three goals, ESSX was eliminated as an option. The new focus of the

investigation became deciding which type of PBX system to choose and which vendor to

select. The team visited several sites to examine different PBX installations and to talk to



the telecommunications specialists maintaining these systems. Potential vendors were

also reviewed, and a list of five potential vendors was created.

Step 2. Analysis and General Design.

The second phase of the SDLC is to determine the exact specifications needed for

the system. Determining the specifications is crucial because in later phases of the SDLC

these specifications are used to correctly design, install, and maintain a solution. The

project team must interact extensively with the users of the potential system to determine

their exact needs. The information acquired during this period must be documented so it

can be used by both the project team and the vendors in later phases of the SDLC.

Additional aspects to be considered during this phase include system architecture,

physical planning, future growth, and PBX capacity. The final result of the analysis phase

is a list of system specifications.

At the end of the investigation phase, LaGrange College was committed to the

idea of a PBX. At the onset of the analysis phase, one of the main questions facing the

team was deciding between a centralized versus a decentralized architecture for the PBX.

The centralized approach concentrates most of the computing resources of the PBX into

one area. All of the telephone nodes in the system connect back to this central PBX. This

design connects the individual telephone extensions back to the PBX via pairs of copper

wire. According to the decentralized approach, each building on campus would contain a

module that would provide telephone services for the occupants of the building. The

modules are interconnected by fiber optic cables. The advantage of the decentralized

approach is that one does not have to worry that the number of extensions in the building

exceeding the number of available copper wire pairs. One should note that each module



must be located in a climate controlled area. Since the project team felt it could not meet

this requirement, it decided against using the decentralized design. The team decided to

utilize a modified centralized design. The primary PBX was located on the main campus

while three smaller PBXs, which supported LC facilities adjacent to campus, were

located off-site. These three units were connected to the primary PBX via fiber optic

cable. All extensions were connected back to one of the PBXs with copper wire pairs.

The next portion of the project, the creation of the system specifications, was the

most important part of the LC project. At that point, a list of specifications for the new

system was created. This list became a blueprint for the system and was used extensively

throughout the remainder of the project. Due to its importance, it will be discussed later

in this paper in greater detail

Step 3. Detailed Design, Procurement, and Installation.

Once the system specifications are provided, several decisions can be considered

and made during this phase of the SDLC. The first, the make-or-buy decision, refers to

the decision of either building the system in-house or purchasing it from outside vendors.

Other considerations include investigating what other alternatives are available and the

impacts of each on the schedule, budget, and usability of the system. Potential vendors

should be evaluated and ranked with a spreadsheet or matrix. After receiving proposals

from all of the potential vendors, a vendor(s) should be selected.

After the vendor is selected and the design is finalized, all necessary equipment is

ordered. Areas must be set aside to receive and temporarily store the incoming

equipment. Before installation is possible, one must adequately prepare the facilities in

regards to space, cooling, electricity, and security. Once the equipment has been received



and all preparations have been made, the PBX components are installed by either the

organization or by its vendors. The PBX is then tested to insure its readiness.

At this point in the LC project, the systems specifications model for the college

was completed. It was then used by potential vendors as a blueprint to design their

proposals. Four vendors submitted PBX hardware and software proposals for

consideration while only one vendor, who had years of experience with the college,

submitted a proposal for the installation of fiber and copper cable. Each proposal was

considered in terms of design, price, features, and service. The systems offered similar

options and service agreements; however, pricing for the systems varied greatly. The

difference between the least and most expensive PBX system exceeded $100,000. Based

on these proposals, the project team selected two venders; one vendor, BellSouth, was

used to provide the PBX and the other vendor, Telecomm, was used for cabling.

After approval for these decisions was received from both the President and from

the Board of Trustees of the college, the team and the vendors agreed upon the final

design of the system, and orders were placed for the necessary equipment. Once all the

equipment was received, installation of both the PBX and the fiber optic and copper

cables occurred.

Step 4. Implementation.

After the system is installed and tested, implementation activities need to take

place. Users are trained to effectively operate the system, and in-house technicians are

taught how to maintain the equipment. Also, the project team will need to decide how the

transfer, or cutover, from the old system to the new one will occur. There are several

options for the cutover. One option, a pilot approach, allows the organization to test the



new system with a small group of users. Problems are then identified and corrected.

Another option, a parallel approach, introduces the new system while maintaining the old

one; however, both systems must be maintained if this method is adopted. A third option,

the phase method, activates segments of the new system in sequence. A final option, the

cold turkey approach, the most risky of them all, simply turns off the old system and

turns the new one on.

At LaGrange College, after the installation of the new system, both the vendor

and a member of the project team trained the users. In activating the new system,

LaGrange College decided to use the parallel cutover method; consequently, the old

system was maintained for approximately one month after the switchover to the new

PBX. No major problems were encountered during the implementation. In fact, the

implementation which was scheduled to have a two-week duration occurred ahead of

schedule and only required a weekend to complete.

Step 5. Evaluation and Review.

The focus at this point of the SDLC is on the performance of the project team, the

vendors, the new system, and the organization during the project. An evaluation of the

entire process is conducted at this point. The following are some questions that should be

asked: How did the vendors perform? Does the new system meet expectations? What

improvements may be made when the next project occurs?

Both the management and the employees of the college expressed their

satisfaction with the performance of the new PBX. The features offered by the new

system were far superior to the services provided by their old ESSX service. The project

team was also delighted with the efforts of its two vendors as the project was completed



ahead of schedule and on budget. By using the parallel cutover method, no downtime was

experienced by the users during or after implementation. The PBX vendor also rated the

LC project team with a 9.5 out of 10 rating with one technician calling it an “almost

perfect installation.”

Step 6. Maintenance and Change.

In the final phase of the SDLC, the system is turned over to a maintenance group

who identifies and corrects problems on an on-going basis. Modifications in terms of

expansion, hardware, and software updates are continually implemented. This phase is

the longest in length and lasts until the system is replaced.

The LaGrange College project was completed over two years ago. Since that time,

the PBX has experienced no significant downtime. A former member of the project team

handles everyday maintenance and modifications. The PBX has proven to be scalable

with the addition of two new dormitories to the system. Overall, the PBX has given a

valuable return for its investment.

System Specifications

The systems specifications portion of the project was completed in the second

phase of the SDLC. In retrospect, this particular part of the project was the fundamental

contributor to the success of the project. The systems specifications became “the

guidebook” for the project. The benefits of having such detailed plans were as follows:

• Information was acquired through heavy interaction with users. Users were

given a sense of participation in the project. Their involvement ensured that

the PBX would deliver the desired services and features.



• Creation of the system specifications led to the discovery of isolated phone

lines connected to modems, elevators, security systems, and HVAC units.

• By developing the specifications, the project team had a detailed and accurate

view of the hardware needed for the PBX. For example, the team knew it must

purchase exactly 281 telephones.

• Since the team decided to use pairs of copper wire for connectivity, the exact

number of pairs of wire needed for each building was known as a result of the


• The specifications served as guidelines to the vendors during the design of

their proposals. These specifications were so accurate, two different vendors,

using the same hardware, submitted proposals that had less than $1,000

difference in price.

• During installation, a copy of the specifications was made for each vendor.

Therefore everyone involved in the project was working “on the same page.”

The first step in developing the system specifications was to acquire blueprints for

each building on campus. If the blueprints were not available, a set was created. The head

of each department on campus was interviewed to determine his/her exact needs. These

requirements were recorded, and the locations of each piece of equipment (telephone,

modem, security system, etc) were noted on a working copy of the floor plans. Once this

step was completed, this information was transferred into an Excel spreadsheet and

marked onto a floor plan. These maps and sheets were assembled into the system

specifications book.



For example, figure 1 is the floor plan for the first floor of the natatorium. The

telephone for the tennis coach is marked with a triangle and a “10” indicating that the

jack is on east wall of the room. Table 2 contains the corresponding data for this floor

plan. Using the number 10 as a key on the spreadsheet, it is noted that the extension for

this telephone is 8018, the old centrex telephone number for this phone is 889-1018, it is

a digital connection, it needs two active voice mail accounts, it uses a standard digital

phone (D1), and it is connected to the copper pair of wires labeled 521010.

Insert figure 1 here.

Figure 1. Sample floor plan from the system specifications model.

Insert table 2 here.

Table 2. Corresponding data for the sample floor plan.

Table 3 is an example of the benefits a team can gain by fully developing the

system specifications of a project. By using all of the data on each floor plan and

spreadsheet of the systems specifications book, it was an easy matter to determine the

amount of hardware needed for the PBX. The hardware required for the system was

determined by combining the data from all the floor plans for each building on campus as

shown in table 3.

Insert table 3 here.

Table 3. Required hardware for PBX.



The final configuration of the PBX is shown in figure 2. The main campus is

supported by the NEAX 2400. Connectivity to the central office and the campus LAN

occurs at this point. Three PCs are connected to the NEAX 2400 to run the voice mail,

911, and systems administration functions. Three NEAX 2000s are also linked to the

NEAX 2400 via fiber optic cable. Each NEAX 2000 supports a portion of the college that

is not located on the main campus. Each telephone is connected to the system via copper

wire into either a NEAX 2000 or into the NEAX 2400. Most of the copper wire in the

interior of the buildings had been used with the ESSX system and was reconnected into

the new PBX. A large portion, however, of the exterior copper wire was either replaced

or supplemented with new copper pairs by the cabling vendor.

Insert figure 2 here.

Figure 2. Completed PBX.


LaGrange College wanted to provide its employees with high-quality and feature

rich-telephone service. To accomplish these goals, the school installed a new PBX

system. A group of inexperienced yet enthusiastic and hardworking members of a project

team achieved this task. Without any prior training in the SDLC or systems analysis and

design, this team unknowingly followed the standards of the SDLC. Using this

methodical approach to search, design, and implement a solution was key to the

completion and success of this project. Through this project, one can see that the analysis

and general design phase of the SDLC is the most important step of the process, and



building a model of the system specifications early in the process is critical to completing

the later stages of the SDLC and to the overall success of the project.



Tables and Figures

Centrex Versus PBX

Centrex PBX

Switching provided by phone


On-site switching with purchased on

leased equipment.

Each extension is connected to the

central office.

Local loops only for the number of

outside lines necessary.

3. Monthly fee for each extension Up front purchase fee or monthly lease.

4. Changes made by Centrex provider. Changes made by trained employee.

5. Minimal space requirements.
Floor space for equipment must be


Maintenance provided by telephone


Maintenance provided by vendor or by

trained employees.

Extra features incur an additional

monthly charge.

Most features (such as voice mail) do not

add additional monthly charges.

8. LC service entirely analog.
Able to provide both digital and analog


Table 1. Comparison of BellSouth Essx© (Centrex) and a PBX.

Figure 1. Sample floor plan from the PBX requirements model.



Table 2. Corresponding floor plan data.

Required PBX Equipment

NEAX 2400 IMX NEAX 2000 IVS Totals

Analog Phones 41 18 59

Digital Phones (8 Button) 156 41 197

Digital Phones (32 Button) 15 7 22

Speakerphones 2 0 2

Switchboard 1 0 1

Analog Cards (With Caller ID) 34 0 N/A

Analog Cards (Without Caller ID) 9 7 N/A

Digital Cards 11 6 N/A

Table 3. Required hardware for PBX.



Figure 2. Completed PBX.




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