The network operations center can be the lifeblood of business in many sectors, as the NOC provides the necessary oversight and control over mission-critical network components. This is particularly evident in the energy sector, where emerging technologies like the smart grid are creating major network challenges and making communications technology integral to day-to-day operations.
The smart grid uses real-time data reporting to notify utility providers of outages, malfunctions, risks and energy-use patterns. This makes the technology a transformative influence on the energy sector and makes NOCs an integral component of utility functionality. Improving IT management capabilities is vital to finding success with NOCs in the energy sector, and advanced IT service desk deployments can make that possible.
When making a service desk decision, consider these five steps to improving IT management in NOC settings:
Step 1: Evaluate IT Management Needs
Properly assessing what a company really requires is often a major barrier to IT management success. Sometimes, an organization will assume it needs a large-scale, complex IT service desk solution, only to spend heavily on the system and consulting services to find that they did not actually need many of the features included in the build. Alternately, a solution that is too small and simplistic can lead to poor process management and response to incidents. Finding the optimally-sized solution for a company's needs is vital to improving IT management.
Step 2: Deploy a Better Service Desk Foundation
Finding the right service desk is integral to improving management. Once the core solution is in place, NOC operators can begin to look at specialized features of the solution to figure out what to take advantage of. There are a variety of options in this area, but some are particularly important for NOCs.
Step 3: Take Advantage of Process Automation
NOC functionality depends heavily on being able to identify problems quickly and employ change to ensure incidents do not lead to outages or business disruptions. This makes automation integral to success. The sooner NOC managers can identify issues and take measures to resolve them, the more likely problems will be averted. This makes automation solutions that handle basic incidents and support change management integral to success.
Step 4: Get Change Management in Order
In many cases, a NOC will be able to avert an outage by switching over to a backup network link or otherwise changing the IT configuration. This can make a change platform invaluable for NOCs because it allows them to quickly and easily make changes without unintended consequences. A CMDB solution is particularly valuable in this area, as the database creates the kind of transparency that is necessary to make changes rapidly while understanding how the adjustment will impact other facets of operations.
Step 5: Be Prepared to Scale the Solution
A service desk that works for a NOCs current needs is invaluable, but having to turn to a completely new solution when IT management challenges become more complex is an incredibly expensive process. Deploying a service desk architecture that features scalability is important, and NOCs should go into efforts to improve IT management with this flexibility in mind.
Being able to adjust service management capabilities is becoming incredibly important for organizations as technology needs are changing quickly in many sectors. This is especially clear for energy-industry NOCs, as the smart grid is contributing to rapid and incremental changes to IT and network requirements in the sector.
The smart grid is a revolutionary technology that can create new challenges for energy-sector NOCs. Improving IT management can play an integral part in meeting these difficulties head on, and advanced service desk functions can equip NOCs to keep up with shifting demands.