GlobalNOC embarked on several pilots in 2019 as part of our Renewal Program. How we accomplished our work changed.  Not only how we worked within GlobalNOC but also how we worked with our clients.  We’re excited to announce the immediate expansion of two of these pilots for 2020. We’ll also provide a preview of another upcoming pilot expansion later this year.

The expanded pilots — Customer Relationship Manager and Software Superuser — will improve our interactions with you by presenting GlobalNOC more as a single, unified organization.  They’re designed specifically to make sure we’re responsive to your needs.  These pilots will make it easier for you to interact with the GlobalNOC.  They will make sure our work is aligned with your priorities, and speed the delivery of your requests.

Customer Relationship Manager

The GlobalNOC Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) Pilot in 2019 saw the assignment of Caroline Weilhamer to support OSHEAN as a single point of coordination. She was focused on understanding the needs of OSHEAN and developing a deeper relationship between OSHEAN staff and our internal teams.  This pilot was designed to ensure that we truly understood OSHEAN’s needs and communicated those needs across our teams.  Caroline made sure that these needs were met by working as an internal advocate for OSHEAN.  This pilot served to unify the GlobalNOC by pulling together our internal teams in meeting the needs of our client.

At the end of the year, we worked with OSHEAN to evaluate our efforts in linking our two organizations more closely.  The feedback we received from OSHEAN and from our internal teams was overwhelmingly positive. The clients saw this pilot as a key relationship builder.  The CRM was able to better understand the needs of the OSHEAN network and members. Caroline was able to work with OSHEAN stakeholders and identify what they needed from the GlobalNOC and we were able to streamline our efforts to bring the most bang for their buck.  We reduced the number of “stale” tickets in all areas of the GlobalNOC significantly. The number of requests we were able to deliver upon in a timely fashion rose significantly as well.  As we began 2020, we decided to look to expand this activity across more networks that GlobalNOC supports.

Expanding our CRM portfolio in 2020

The initial pilot focused on a single GlobalNOC client. In 2020 we are expanding the pilot to four additional GlobalNOC supported networks.  In this expanded pilot, we will continue working with OSHEAN. We will also expand the activity by having customer relationship managers assigned to Internet2, NOAA, CEN, and KINBER.  This will provide a coordinated mechanism for GlobalNOC interaction with each of these networks.  This expansion will allow us to deepen our understanding and relationship with a larger set of the GlobalNOC client base. It will also provide an opportunity for us to put systems and processes in place for our CRMs to work together. They will share information and find common needs amongst our clients.  They will also help us more quickly deliver on those needs.

In this expanded pilot, we’ve assigned four new CRMs.  Caren Litvanyi will serve as the CRM for NOAA, Daniel Spivey for CEN, Brian McGough for KINBER, and Chris Robb for Internet2.  These new CRMs were chosen based on their skill sets and existing relationships to the various networks. This makes them a natural fit for this expanded pilot as we work on deepening and improving relationships with our clients.

We will be running this expanded pilot for the next four months.  At the end of the four months, we’ll evaluate what worked well and what we might want to change.  At that time, we may extend the pilot with some changes based on what we’ve learned. We also may decide to make this a permanent part of how we work with all of our GlobalNOC clients.  The CRM pilot will help us build better relationships with our clients, better serve their needs, and improve GlobalNOC’s support of our clients in a unified fashion.

Software Superuser

The other pilot that we’re working to immediately expand is the Software Superuser program.  In 2019, Molly Balas served as our inaugural Software Superuser, supporting the Internet2 team.  In this role, Molly became the resident expert on the GlobalNOC network management systems for that team.  She was able to serve as a resource for the other network engineers on the team to ensure the effective use of our tools.  Her deep understanding of Internet2 allowed her to feed information back to the Software and Systems teams. This ensured that development and operations projects fit the unique needs of Internet2.

But that’s not all! Molly was also able to directly leverage the systems in many ways to better support Internet2.  She wrote and continues to maintain a wide array of scripts to ensure data quality in Internet2’s instance of GlobalNOC Database.  She also created new Grafana dashboards in the Internet2 SNAPP instance, customized to the particular capacity planning and visualization needs of Internet2. When SARS-CoV-2 emerged, the demands on the Internet2 network shifted.  Molly was able to help Internet2 react to these changes by enabling enhanced monitoring for essential peers.  This monitoring alerted GlobalNOC and Internet2 staff to emerging capacity management issues.

Assigning Superusers to all of our Network Engineering teams

We’re excited to be able to expand the Software Superuser pilot. This year we will have a Superuser supporting each of our network engineering teams.  Josh Brooks will be serving in the Superuser role for the NOAA/International team, Bill Fulk for the Regionals team, and Vince Orlowski for the Indiana team.  Molly Balas will continue her role in the Internet2 team.  Each of these engineers will be spending part of their time each week supporting this activity.  This group will be meeting regularly to share knowledge, techniques, and information.  By having an engineer in the Superuser role for each team we hope to supercharge the Superuser pilot. The four Superusers will work closely together and accelerate knowledge transfer about our network management systems across GlobalNOC teams.

We’ll be evaluating the results of this expanded pilot after 6 months and determining what ways we might change it to make it more effective.  We’ll be making a decision to extend the pilot with some adjustments or make it a permanent part of the way we work at GlobalNOC.

Preview: Advanced Triage Technician expansion

Later this calendar year we also plan to expand our Advanced Triage Technician (ATT) pilot.  The ATT is a new role that we piloted in 2019 blending the duties of our Service Desk technicians and Systems Engineers.  This role provides a path for quick resolution of less complex systems issues. The ATT also ensures that all requests coming in to the Systems and Software teams have the details needed to successfully complete them in a timely manner.  We plan on expanding this pilot in 2020 by assigning one or more staff to this role full time.

Stay tuned for more on this as we get further into 2020.