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Blending Data for a Unified View That Works

By on September 24th, 2020


Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have an incredible responsibility. They must monitor network health for their customers 24 hours a day, quickly identifying the source of any issues and remedying problems before they have major impacts on the customer’s business. Blending network data allows network engineers to achieve a unified view of network data, servers, database, applications and more. Blending data for a unified view provides information relevant to a diverse spectrum of needs all together in a dashboard in order to make well informed decisions. This blog provides real world examples of how blending data can maximize mobile workforce management, achieve a holistic view of network health, and get a common operational picture.

Example 1: Blending Data to Maximize Truck Roll Efficiency

Telecommunication service providers have to deal with a huge amount of complex data about customers with telephone service, cable internet, television and more. When an outage occurs, especially a large one, providers face immense pressure to get issues corrected fast. Let’s take the example of a telecommunications outage during a hurricane. Customers start calling in like crazy, and the queue builds to 988 tickets in a tool like ServiceNow.

An IT operations tool allows IT or network professionals to review the outages, but only presents one slice of the picture. Weather monitoring might be occurring on a separate screen, and same with device-level information, CMDB, server management and geographic locations of complaints in a GIS tool. Accessing each tool separately presents a fractured view of the situation, and can result in inefficient assignment of repair personnel.

When data is blended into one unified view, service providers can prioritize and decide how to maximize truck roll efficiency. When the dashboard can show blended data on outages, mapping customer complaints onto a visual map, for example, the service provider may then realize there is 1 outage by itself caused by a router problem, and 988 other complaints clustered together, affected by another downed router. In this scenario, blended data allows operators to realize the 988 complaints are all from residential cable internet customers, and the 1 complaint on the other side of town is from a business customer.

Because of Service Level Agreements (SLA) that may be in place with the business customer, mobile workforce management (MWM) must be dispatched toward the 1 business outage, rather than the 988 customer complaints.

edgeSuite Dashboard - Data Visualization

Example 2: Using Blended Data for a Holistic View

Let’s imagine people can’t get to Stranger Things Season 2 on Netflix, and they are complaining via a CMDB tool like Atrium or ServiceNow. In this situation, there are numerous variables to consider, and blending data from a map view and the CMDB or ticketing system can allow IT leadership to properly evaluate and make decisions about how to address the issue.

Equipped with alarms such as Netcool Operations Insight (NOI) or Micro Focus Operations Manager (OMI), a network monitoring tool such as Nagios, SolarWinds or Spectrum, ticketing and APM tools like Cisco AppDynamics, Dynatrace, IntroScope, service providers have the opportunity to view and analyze a huge amount of information to identify the source of an issue like not being able to access particular content on a streaming website. However, using these disparate sources of data separately can be a barrier to efficient resolution of an issue. Blending data into one customized dashboard means achieving a holistic view that can allow more efficiency in solving problems.

Blending Data for a Common Operational Picture

Throughout this post, we’ve been talking about one APM, one asset management tool, and so on. The reality is most customers have a lot more tools for each purpose. When mergers and acquisitions occur, there tend to be multiple tools for the same purpose, and most of the time, duplicate tools have to remain because of legacy needs. When multiple Operational System Support (OSS) tools are in place, blending data is crucial for achieving a common operational picture.

When an executive needs to understand the overall state of network health, that person needs to access an overall status, not an overwhelming wave of data from disparate sources. Through one holistic view of the situation, an executive can make well informed decisions across IT silos.

If you would like to learn more about Connected Intelligence and blend your internal information with other information sources, please contact us for a demonstration or discussion.