Replacing Aging IT Systems – When it’s Time to Move On

by Molly True
November 06, 2018

How do you know when it’s time to replace your organization’s legacy IT infrastructure?

There are always new technologies offering advantages over what you have. Just like there will always be questions about whether to invest in those technologies when what you have is working, however imperfectly.

Inevitably, all legacy systems get replaced. But what makes the timing right?

For Gaston Family Health Services (GFHS), adopting advanced networking became a necessity when legacy infrastructure no longer supported the organization’s mission.

Replacing legacy IT systems in healthcare organizations with advanced networking solutions like SD-WAN.

Distributed organizations increasingly depend on modern IT solutions

GFHS operates 23 primary-care facilities across five North Carolina counties. These clinics address the needs of 55,000 (and increasing) patients who can’t afford insurance and would otherwise get their primary care from emergency departments.

As demand grew over the years for GFHS health services, so did the bandwidth requirements of primary applications – a double-strain on GFHS’ WAN technology. It reached the point where the GFHS team of six IT professionals were frequently consumed by responding to reports of network slowdowns that could not be permanently fixed.

GFHS was similarly hampered by an older, hosted PBX phone system that couldn’t keep up with growing call volumes – and the phone system offered no reporting on call metrics that could guide improvements.

Gaston Family Health Services

Diagnosis, treatment and recovery

GFHS engaged Windstream Enterprise to explore potential data and voice solutions. An initial needs analysis pointed to replacing T1s with fiber, plus cable broadband back-up for redundancy and reliability, and SD-WAN for network-wide visibility with application‑level monitoring and reporting.

Calls from clinics reporting network slowdowns disappeared after implementation. Now, IT professionals monitor the system for potential issues, which they can proactively correct using the SD-WAN self-service portal.

On the voice side, new unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions overlay the SD-WAN, delivering a wealth of functionality and customization far exceeding that of the old PBX system. Spikes in call volume are no longer an issue, and a variety of reports provide insights for fine-tuning.

Improving data and voice services delivered productivity gains for the GFHS IT team, which has shifted from addressing continuous problems to initiatives that improve the patient experience. Reference the complete case study here for full details on the improvements GFHS has seen.

Sound familiar?

If efforts to wring maximum life and value from legacy IT infrastructure are impeding your own organization’s ability to achieve its mission, it’s time to consider your options.