The misperceptions of the Network Operations Center

* The changing role of the Network Operations Center

As mentioned in the last WAN newsletter, we recently completed some market research into the changing role of the Network Operations Center. As part of that market research we surveyed 176 IT professionals and interviewed 7 of them. This newsletter will describe what that market research said about how the NOC is perceived.

One of the most troubling findings of the research was that only 58% of the survey respondents believe that the role of the NOC is understood by the entire IT organization. We will elaborate on this later in this newsletter. Given the amount of change that has taken place within the NOC, it is understandable that its role would not be well understood. However, in order for the NOC to get the kind of support that it needs to make further changes, senior NOC management needs to do a better job of marketing the role and the value provided by the NOC.

The survey respondents were also asked a series of questions regarding senior IT management’s attitude towards the NOC. The encouraging news is roughly 90% of the respondents stated that senior IT management believes the NOC provides value to their organization. Of course, a pessimist might point out that roughly 10% of the respondents stated that senior IT management does not believe that the NOC provides value to the organization.

We were discouraged to see that over a quarter of the survey respondents stated that senior IT management believes that the NOC does not meet the organizations current needs. Picking up on that theme, the next newsletter will detail the factors that are driving and inhibiting changes to the NOC to overcome this perception.

One of the most interesting results of the research came in response to a question that asked the survey respondents to indicate where they spend the majority of their time. Thirty nine percent of the survey respondents who actually work in the NOC said that they spend the most time on applications, 23% said they spend the most time on the WAN and 14% said that they spend the most time on servers. 

In contrast, 48% of the survey respondents who work in IT, but not in the NOC, think that NOC personnel spend the most time on the WAN, 22% think they spend the most time on servers, and 17% think that they spend the most time on applications. This dramatic difference in responses based on whether or not the respondent worked in the NOC provides a good example of what was said previously - that the role of the NOC is not well understood by the entire IT organization.

As mentioned, the next newsletter will detail the factors that are driving and inhibiting changes to the NOC to overcome this perception. In the meantime, more information on this topic can be found here.

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