LeapFrog IT Services

Solutions Squad: Want An Optimized Platform? Use Solutions That Get Better Grades!

There’s only one way to know if something works — test it! The Solutions Squad at Leapfrog is an interdepartmental A-team of IT experts tasked with testing the heck out of all different kinds of IT solutions. The goal? To discover which ones really, truly work in our clients’ environments.

So we test. And we grade. And we send some solutions home with their heads hung low.

How solutions earn good grades

We put each new solution — hardware, software, cloud app, operating system, etc. — through a rigorous testing process, either in our lab or in our own IT environment. For solutions we’re already using, we’ll prepare an in-depth analysis of our own data. One of the squad will present the test findings and analytics, and then the entire Solutions Squad will have at it. We discuss and probe and debate and deliberate. In the end, we give the solution a grade.

A bad grade means bye-bye, solution. A good one means hello, further implementation!

It’s not easy to earn a good grade — Leapfrog’s evaluation criteria are tough! If a solution is not up to par – i.e., doesn’t get a decent grade – then it’s not part of the networks we manage either. No way, no how, regardless of the tasty incentives offered up by manufacturers. We need a certain level of quality to deliver on our promise of IT that always works.

The coveted Leapfrog Matrix of IT Solutions

All of the solutions we test and their grades are included in our IT Solutions Matrix. We believe that solutions that get the best grades should be the ones we use most often — better solutions mean smoother sailing for our clients and for our frogs, too. We refer to the Matrix every day for all kinds of important client services, including:

  • During our review processes
  • For new-client assessments
  • To annually reassess and update each client’s 36-month roadmap
  • To identify which solutions need retesting
  • To verify if solutions are still relevant or if they’ve become obsolete
  • As an inventory of tested, tried and true IT solutions

Applying what we’ve learned

Actively using the Matrix to improve our clients’ IT ecosystems is a big part of the Solutions Squad’s role. In fact, it’s part of a lot of frogs’ roles, whether they’re on the squad or not. We determine which of our clients could benefit from a solution that just got a really good grade and to tell them about it for future consideration. Once the solution passes the probationary period, of course!

And while we have great relationships with our partners (often manufacturers), they understand that we’re all about results and not about reselling. So while a manufacturer may not be super-happy that we’re now using a competitor’s solution instead of theirs, they’re thrilled when we choose theirs over a competitor’s.

Which new solutions do we test?

More than half of the solutions the Solutions Squad tests are new to us. Some enter our ecosystem through a new client who’s using it in their infrastructure or network, so we inherit it. Every now and then a customer will have a challenge that we don’t yet have a solution for — so we research it, deeply. But most get on our radar screens through proactive R&D on Leapfrog’s part as we seek to resolve business challenges that our customers may face down the road.

Why do we test solutions we’re already using?

The rest of the solutions we evaluate are ones we’re already using. Some may have been evaluated as recently as last year — our is a fast-moving industry, big changes can happen in short periods of time and new versions get released regularly. We retest based on what’s happening in the marketplace, including the possibility that a solution has aged out. It may have been a good solution to an old problem, but if we don’t have that problem anymore, why do we need it? Or it may have been written in code that web browsers don’t support anymore, so it’s no longer relevant. Our frogs stay on top of things!

So, just because a solution got a good grade and enjoys a prime position on the Solutions Matrix, it doesn’t mean it can get comfy. We retest EVERYTHING. It’s part of delivering extraordinary IT.

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