What have we Learnt through Navigating in an Economic Downturn & Pandemic?

What have we Learnt through Navigating in an Economic Downturn & Pandemic?

Between suffering from uncertainty to naturally flourishing, the ability to adapt out of dead market space will have made all the difference for your business in the past year. Whether you are in a country that is on track for normality or being hit by a new wave of infections – All businesses have needed to evolve.

 

For those of us operating in the tech industry, we have experienced several significant economic events – especially the .com crash of 2000 and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. We know what happens during an economic slowdown while there are some unique factors at play in relation to COVID-19; here is what we have learned.

 

Innovation should not be put off

Undergoing a 3-year change progression in a mere month was and continues to be a reality for many businesses across the globe. On countless occasions funds have been pulled from investments, particularly those in technology; deemed as a costly non-essential to cut in order to keep the boat floating. However, innovation needs to be cultivated and fed, without businesses prioritising technology their future fitness will remain grim. Opmantek’s automated network management tools were built on the premise of empowering companies. These tools give users the flexibility to operate in diverse environments with speed and scale at a fraction of the cost so you can keep innovating.

 

Having healthy finances is necessary

In the IT industry, an error caused by a triggered event in your network could cost a wave of rippling expenses. During periods of economic uncertainty what you don’t know can hurt you. Utilising technology such as one of Opmantek’s opEvents will reduce the impact of network faults and failures using proactive event management. Adding tools such as these to your arsenal allows you to gleam intelligent insights to make educated data and cost-effective driven decisions.

 

Optimising your data is the way forward

Your market no matter which side of it you are on has changed, so your business needs to change with it. More data, more data, more data, let’s face it cultivating and finding quality data is a superpower. So how is it possible to see it all? How can it be automatically configured and how can you keep up with it when it changes? Most organizations cannot give accurate location data of their assets, Open-AudIT gives you this information in seconds. Reduce the degree of uncertainty and make data-driven decisions, simply by running tools such as Open-AudIT to develop meaningful reports and resources. Optimising your data is the way forward, to learn how you can audit everything on your network with Open-AudIT book a demo session with our experts here.

 

Continual agility across all facets of business will be imperative to navigate through the next phase of this economic climate. Those that are familiar with nimble project management within the software development world – use similar methods in your financials too –be very conscious that your ability to plan twelve months is now a lot lower than it used to be and you need to undertake agile planning and forecasting. This will be a time of continual change however by; continually pushing innovation and utilising tools that give you the best possible view of your data to drive decision-making process, the path forward will be a lot clearer to navigate.

 

How to Manage Complex Event Responses

How to Manage Complex Event Responses

Managing complex event responses can seem like an overwhelming task, but with the right automated network management software, the process is simpler than ever. Let’s take a look at how an automated system can help you manage complex event responses.

 

What is a Complex Adaptive System (CAS)?

Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) are made up of components (or agents) in a dynamic network of interactions that are designed to adapt and learn according to changing events. These interactions may be affected by other changes in the system and are non-linear and able to feed back on themselves. In the Australian healthcare system, for example, complex adaptive systems have been used to analyse systematic changes.

The overall behaviour of a CAS is not predicted by the behaviours of the agents individually. The past of CAS systems is partly responsible for their present behaviour and they are designed to evolve over time.

 

Event automation and remediation using opEvents

opEvents is an advanced fault management and operational automation system designed to make event management easier than ever. With opEvents, you can improve your business’s operational efficiency and decrease the workload of your staff by expanding on NMIS‘s efforts and improving automated response techniques using scientific methods.

opEvents elevates NMIS’s Notification, Escalation and Thresholding systems by blacklisting and whitelisting events, handling event flap, event storms and event correlation and supporting custom email templates for each of your contacts.

Basic event automation

In order to carry out event automation successfully, there are a few simple steps that you need to take:

1. Network management – identify the top network events you respond to frequently (daily, weekly, etc.)
2. List the steps you take – troubleshooting and remediating – when the issue occurs
3. Identify how these steps can be automated
4. Create an action to respond to the event

Let’s take a look at how opEvents handles events natively:

Event action policy

Event Action policy is a flexible mechanism that dictates how opEvents reacts when an event is created. The policy outlines the order of actions as well as what actions are executed by using nested if/then statements.

Event correlation

Setting event correlation helps reduce event storms inside opEvents. opEvents will use rules that are outlined to group events together and create a synthetic event that contains event information from all events that have been correlated.

Event escalation

opEvents allows for custom event escalations for unacknowledged events. You can set custom rules based on your business or customers.

Event scripts

Events can call scripts that can be used to carry out actions such as troubleshooting, integration or remediation.

Event deduplication

All events that are related to stateful entities are automatically checked against the recent history of events and the known previous state of this entity.

Developing a CAS system

In order to develop a CAS system, it’s essential to complete the following steps:

1. Identify an individual event
2. List the steps you take – troubleshooting and remediating – when the issue occurs
3. Decide what automated action(s) can and should be carried out (data collection, remediation)
4. Identify who needs to be contacted, when (working hours, after hours, weekends) and how (Email, text, service desk)
5. Decide what should happen over time if the event is not acknowledged (remains active)

 

If you would like to learn more about Opmantek’s event management services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team or request a demo.

opEvents Prevents Event Storms During A Snowstorm

opEvents Prevents Event Storms During A Snowstorm

I dropped into a quarterly business review that one of the Account Managers was doing with one of our customers last week. I like to do this from time to time to hear it for myself directly from the customer. It helps me understand the customers and gives me an opportunity to discuss our platform post sale and integration.

This particular customer is a Telecommunications Carrier out of North America who runs a lot of wireless and fibre and are rapidly expanding.

The Head of Network Operations was on the call, and for the purposes of keeping the identity private, let’s call him Joe.

Joe talked about the snowstorms and how it impacts their network and field services team. The way it works is that the NOC team gets an alert, does some diagnosis and decides what process needs to occur. To send field service staff means that the problem is something that cannot be remotely fixed. Sending the team out in bad weather to work on wireless equipment is hard on the people who do the work, but at the end of the day, to quote Joe, “we pride ourselves on great customer service.”

Before this customer had opEvents installed, they would have a high rate of field service calls that would result in no fault found during snowstorms. This means that the field services team were not being sent to fix real field related problems. For any company with a field services team, you know how important it is to send these guys to real problems.

The impact for the customer was that to clear all the events would take days, with over 50% being false reports.

During recent snowstorms, opEvents would handle the alert and find the source problem. The NOC team then could send the field services team out in the snow to investigate and fix the problems. Joe said that the level of accuracy in the alerts was fantastic and the NOC and Field Services Team rebuilt their trust and had confidence that they were being sent to a real fault.

When Joe studied the impact that the Opmantek Platform brought to the table, opEvents reduced event storms to zero, deduplication was no longer a problem and only pushed real events to the team. Field service calls were reduced and the network was brought back to normal in half the time.

“We had a lot of competitors’ customers switch to us during the snowstorms. The amount of downtime we suffered was minimal as we were right on top of any faults, we knew where they were and their severity and deployed our field services team accurately. It puts us ahead of the market.”

3-Steps To Increase Your Automated Event Management

3-Steps To Increase Your Automated Event Management

Recent advances in Operational Process Automation at Opmantek means that our MSP customers can deliver exceptional value to their clients; exceeding their SLAs whilst becoming incredibly sticky.

Are you facing any of the challenges below?

  • Cost pressures as clients try to drive down prices.
  • Ability to meet your SLAs due to overworked technical teams.
  • Absolute reliance on one or two technicians to keep your clients happy.
  • Challenges in retaining level 3-4 technical resources.
  • Significant burdens in maintaining accreditation.
  • Managing increasingly complex client networks.
  • Retaining skills associated with client legacy networks.

Resolve these challenges with incredibly rapid ROI and amazingly low TCO

Opmantek has long believed that Operational Process Automation is one of the foundational pillars for a successful network management strategy. A key piece to this is ensuring that actions are undertaken in a consistent manner each time, with no variation from what is outlined as the standard protocol.

This will help you to:

  • Simplify the procedure
  • Reduce cost
  • Deliver consistent outcomes with your agreed SLAs

Through the use of “context sensitive event actions”, you may now replicate troubleshooting actions and escalation procedures, dynamically.

Example Use Case

1. Issue with Cisco Interface Identified

Here’s the event log for the entire network. Our event management system automatically parses incidents on your client’s networks into Events.

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2. Context sensitive action bar initiated

Once a specific event has been identified “Context Sensitive Actions” are displayed against the event either automatically or by guiding your NOC team through the steps to remediate.

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3. Cisco remediation commands executed

The system automatically creates a ticket in the system, pings the affected nodes and Troubleshoots (TS) the Cisco Interface. Once those actions conclude, the results are displayed on the event itself! The operator may now take further action or simply close out the Ticket.

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All of this can happen without the NOC or your client knowing there was ever an issue. Save time, save money and increase your clients’ satisfaction. If you’re interested in taking advantage of these incredible capabilities, please fill in the form below;

Book a Demo

Changes in the Wind at Opmantek

Changes in the Wind at Opmantek

Like every CEO, I was anxious at the beginning of COVID-19. How would that affect the business and staff? So we were expecting the worst and like many companies, we prepared the business and the team for change.

 

Fortunately, for us, just like many businesses, it afforded the team time to think about what they are doing, where they are heading, and what is and isn’t working for them. Just like us, many businesses revaluated their direction and operation. Out of that exploration came improvements to their processes and ways to reduce waste. Everyone got a bit smarter.

 

During 2020, we had a higher engagement than we expected from organisations that saw the importance of their networks and infrastructure. With more people relying on the business’s digital side to get work done and with IT staff working from home, network management became a primary focus for CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs. Heads of IT for all verticals had to ensure that their applications and supporting infrastructure were robust and no surprises. They had to now more than ever support their customers and provide the same level of support to their staff.

 

Network Management and Network Management improvements were no longer on the back burner. They are now front and centre.

 

More and more people were reaching out to us and talking to our teams around the world. Some of the largest organisations joined our family. They chose us as they trusted our team and software to deliver outstanding visibility of their networks and infrastructure, flexibility to fit their business process and great value. Organisations such as NextLink Internet out of Texas signed a 10-year agreement with us. NASA is using us for their next moon mission, Artemis. Only three members of Opmantek were born – yes, they were babies at the time – when Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon. Now we all get to do a little bit to get the first Woman and next Man on the Moon, a great honour for all of us.

 

We are proud that we have built great software that our customers recognise as the best. However, what makes us all pleased is that our customers believe in our team.

 

Introducing Programmable Button Actions

Introducing Programmable Button Actions

Opmantek has long believed that Operational Process Automation is one of the foundational pillars that a successful network management strategy is built upon. One key piece to this is to ensure that actions are undertaken in a consistent manner each time, there should be no variance from what is outlined as the standard protocol. opEvents has introduced programmable button actions that help assist organisations in replicating troubleshooting actions and escalation procedures further solidifying opEvents as a technical service desk.

The buttons use the same pipeline as scripts in EventActions but now operators have the ability to manually kick off an action for an event. One of the most common actions will be to create a ticket in your issue tracking system, in our case we will create a Jira Ticket.

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Configuration

To start create the following file in omk/conf/table_schemas/opEvents_action-buttons.json This must be valid JSON schema or the buttons will fail to render. You should see an error in opEvents.log if this is the case. [ { “description”: “Example Events Button Action”, “label”: “Create Ticket”, “fa_icon”: “fas fa-jira”, “script”: “create_ticket”, “tags”: [“ticket”] } ] Then add the following policy in omk/conf/EventActions.json|.nmis that triggers show_button.tag() EventActions.json “policy”: { “5”: { “IF”: “event.any”, “THEN”: “show_button.ticket()”, “BREAK”: “true” }, } & EventActions.nmis %hash = ( ‘policy’ => { ‘5’ => { IF => ‘event.any’, THEN => ‘show_button.create_ticket()’, BREAK => ‘true’ }, } ); These are the supported keys and how the change operation and look of the button.
Key Type Required Description
script String Yes Name of the script defined in EventActions.json
label String Yes Label which the button will display to the user
description String optional Tool-tip help text to be displayed when you mouse over the button
tags array[string] optional If no tags are defined the button will show on all events, if tags are defined the button will only show on events which have been tagged with show_button.tag_name()
run_once boolean optional If set to true the button will look for script.script_name key on the event, if found the button will disable itself. This allows manual actions to only be triggered once. Will not influence any defined EventActions.json operations.
fa_icon string optional Icon to be displayed from the Font Awesome library shipped with opEvents example: “fas fa-table-tennis” Icons here.
class string optional Define a css class to colour the button, see Notes on Button Classes below to see a list of supported types.

Notes on Font Awesome

In opEvents-3.2.2 we are shipping the library 5.12.1 In opEvents-2.6.1 we are shipping the library 5.8.2