• United States
Senior Editor

Report delves into NOC efficiency

Mar 23, 20043 mins
Data Center

* Findings from INS' 'Network Operations Centers' report and survey

International Network Services, or INS, recently released a report discussing changes in network operations centers and detailing what needs to be done to manage an NOC efficiently. The research, which was also carried out in 2001, shows a clear move toward integrated management, customer satisfaction initiatives and business service management.

Rick Blum, INS senior manager of strategic marketing and author of the report entitled “Network Operations Centers,” advises network operations personnel to put processes in place.

“Having effective processes and procedures will have the most impact on optimizing NOC operations,” he writes in the report. “Take time to review your current processes and procedures to ensure they address the span of NOC services, as well as provide direct support to business services.”

An online survey was carried out as part of the report and the number of respondents varied between 75 and 100, depending on the questions. Among the highlights of the survey, include:

*Some 40% of IT organizations now totally integrate their network and systems management, compared to only 24% in 2001.

*Nearly six out of 10 respondents still believe in the FCAPS model. FCAPS describes the cornerstones of network management. Technically, it is the ISO model of network management, which includes fault, configuration, accounting (sometimes similar to asset), performance and security.

Also, Blum’s research shows that there are fewer barriers to out-tasking than outsourcing.  Out-tasking uses internal staff with technology help from an external provider, while outsourcing generally means the external providers do it all; provide support staff as well as technology.

The firm notes that the respondents found all barriers to outsourcing more problematic than the barriers to out-tasking. The difference ranged from 51% of respondents who cited lack of capabilities by outsourcing service providers, to 10% of respondents who said justifying costs/benefits to upper management was a barrier specific to outsourcing. The average difference between respondents who found out-tasking easier than outsourcing was 27%. Also, the number of respondents who thought out-tasking was too expensive dropped from 51% in 2001, to 16% in 2003.

The study also found within NOCs two services grew significantly over the last two years: VPN by 18% and VoIP by 19%. About half of respondents say they have  implemented a new service (added this year to the study): business service management (BSM), and another 19% plan to add it in the coming year. Yet Blum states, “The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that while many NOCs may be offering some form of services to allow [BSM], they must be fairly rudimentary at this point in time.”

Lastly, the importance for optimizing network operations grew in importance among respondents. More than 40% considered effective processes and procedures as well as appropriately skilled staff as the most important factors for an optimal NOC. Other factors include effective use of tools, integration of those tools and having an effective organizational structure.

To read more about improving NOC efficiency and optimizing performance, download the full report from INS here: