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Proactive Network Management Post #5 of 5: A new approach to deployment

22 September 2016

In this, the final blog in our series on Proactive Network Management (PNM), we look at how businesses need to change their approach in order to adopt PNM. Previous articles have covered the benefits of PNM and how consumer demand for open source geospatial software and accessibility of data on any device, anywhere, at any time, is driving innovations for enterprise operational solutions. We have also looked at how integration and geospatial visualization of critical enterprise data has become the foundation of PNM. The key to delivery is the ability to view, understand and act on many sources of information at the same time in a simple and easy to read format. The fourth blog in the series outlined the transformative business benefits of integrating engineering and operational data sources into a single enterprise platform. This post is designed to help you plan deployment of the solution.

Working with two of the leading US MSOs, we’ve established a number of cable industry best practices for proactive network operations that reveal specific areas where data, systems and processes can be leveraged and streamlined for immediate and impactful results. PNM in particular is proven to provide greater visibility and insight into operations, enabling businesses to make informed decisions through visual trending and correlation so that network issues are addressed before they become customer problems. This is the Holy Grail in terms of operational objectives in the increasingly complex and competitive cable industry – and something that, with the right approach and expertise, can be quickly and simply achieved.

Common problems in adopting enterprise solutions

In an operations environment, the development and rollout of an enterprise solution to address a large scale problem, or many different problems, typically follows one of two paths.

The first is a singular solution designed to specifically address a finite problem for one department or group and is often driven by the need to correct an issue affecting key performance indicators (KPIs) or service level agreements (SLAs) – both of which tend to be primary measurements for grading operations performance. While this approach is often perceived as a “quick win” it often lacks sustainable integration and performance scalability. It creates yet another stand-alone application that needs to be used in parallel with existing tools, requiring managing and resulting in higher administration costs.

The second path is a comprehensive enterprise IT solution where multiple departments or groups are involved in the decision-making process and are aligned on business goals, requirements and benefits generated by the solution. However, while this can increase collaboration and understanding of inter-departmental needs and challenges at the enterprise level, it can be a complex process and take a lot of time to come to fruition.

The new approach to PNM deployment

We are proposing a fundamental departure from traditional methods of finding solutions. Instead of looking at each individual problem and finding a solution for each, the new approach requires a holistic look at what needs to be achieved across the business, both now and in the future. Questions asked as part of this process include:

  • Who are the primary as well as secondary potential benefactors from this solution and the insight that it may provide?
  • Is the accessibility of this solution feasible for all situational use cases? For example considering web access and mobility across all platforms.
  • What other building blocks could be added to this solution to make it more powerful in its ability to address operational challenges?
  • Are there effective ways to start with a well-integrated solution as opposed to trying to retrofit at a later date?

The question then becomes, can you deploy a solution now to address a pain point in your group that will also more broadly benefit other groups in your company? And, even more importantly, are you able to build on it by adding data intelligence that provides additional insight as well as increases the value of your initial investment?

Delivering impact and ROI at every step

It doesn’t seem possible that there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to integrating big, specialized applications that are oriented to a particular technology or function. However, the vast majority of solutions in network operations today share a common element that can be the center point of any incrementally deployed PNM solution – the network asset topology model. By centering these new solutions on the network asset topology you establish a common reference point that everyone in the company will understand and you will achieve the following:

  • Move away from traditionally isolated point-solution activities to an integrated and strategic approach that lines up with the enterprise platform roadmap
  • Bring transformative visual network topology correlation capabilities to front-line operations teams in the office and in the field
  • Deploy incremental building blocks that add prioritized business capabilities, without having to wait years for an all-encompassing enterprise IT system program
  • Enable anyone in the company to leverage network and operational intelligence they previously did not have access to
  • Establish reciprocal benefits of data intelligence provided by various groups and departments

You may recently have heard of the term “minimum viable product’. The powerful message this holds is that you don’t need to implement a solution that immediately solves every issue associated with the outcome of your implementation in order to start seeing real and impactful business benefits. You can solve prioritized problems quickly today with a sustainable and scalable platform that enables your roadmap for tomorrow.

We have established a number of best practices that simplify complex operations. The Ubisense team would be pleased to discuss with you how we can deliver powerful and impactful proactive operational solutions within your business that can be phased in delivering measureable incremental benefits. Please contact us at [email protected] to set up a meeting or workshop.