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Why You Should Also Automate Your NOC Incident Response

NOCRecently, we shared some compelling reasons why incident management should be the next process you automate. Today, we’d like to take it a step further and offer some insight as to why NOC incident response is also a critical process that can benefit greatly from automation.

These days, many larger organizations employ their own network operations center, or NOC, to help monitor and manage any incidents that may occur across the infrastructure. The NOC team is responsible for making sure systems are running smoothly so that production and efficiency can remain high. The way they achieve this goal is through incident management and response.

When a situation arises, such as a service interruption or some other significant incident, the NOC receives word via their monitoring system. Once they’ve identified an issue, they must initiate an incident response, which will in turn notify the appropriate parties, providing the necessary information so they can begin working to resolve the problem.

Critical issues must be addressed quickly, as any down time can have a tremendous negative impact on the organization, from lower revenue to lost customers. This puts a lot of pressure on NOC managers to handle any and all incidents with the utmost attention given to quality and turnaround time. The problem comes into play when businesses are still relying on antiquated systems to manage their incident response processes. The result is a huge margin for error and unnecessary delay.

Enter IT process automation. This allows NOC managers to pre-define notification and escalation procedures across multiple shifts and various roles. When incident response is automated, it guarantees that not only will critical alerts reach the right parties, but that they will also be received and handled in the most timely and efficient manner. The element of human error is eliminated, thereby improving the entire process.

IT automation can also add a level of sophistication to the incident response process. With the right automation tool, incidents can be managed remotely from anywhere. Human decisions can also be factored into the procedures as needed, with workflows proceeding as defined and pausing to allow key decision makers to provide instruction and input before continuing on to automated completion. Furthermore, a quality automation solution will also provide full transparency throughout the entire incident management process. This ensures that every critical incident is handled just as it should be.

The ultimate goal of any NOC is to reduce downtime as much as possible. Automating incident response can help cut incident recovery time by up to 90% – a feat that would be nearly impossible without the right technology in your corner. This helps to reduce the impact of system outages and other critical issues, ensuring business resilience and maximizing ROI.

With that said, if your NOC isn’t yet leveraging the power of automation to help optimize your incident response process, your organization is most certainly missing out. The good news is it’s never too late to start!





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Overcoming Objections to IT Process Automation

Overcoming Objections to IT Process AutomationIT Process Automation (ITPA) is far from a new concept. In fact, it’s something that is becoming more and more widely embraced across just about every industry. Yet, there are still many who are in the position of decision maker that still aren’t convinced of the value that automation can bring to their organizations.

Among the most common objections given for why NOT to embrace automation are:

  • Cost
  • Complexity
  • Learning Curve
  • Integration with Legacy Systems
  • Fear

Let’s take a look at each of these objections in greater detail, and examine how each can be overcome with the right IT process automation tool.

The first concern that many IT professionals and other “powers that be” have about introducing automation is cost. This is especially true for smaller enterprises that may be working with much leaner budgets. While there’s certainly no doubt that implementing an IT process automation tool will incur some expense, it doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. For instance, a lightweight solution can be highly effective yet affordable enough to suit any budget. What’s more, the overall cost savings realized from automation will balance out the up-front expense over time.

Next is the concern of the complexity of IT process automation. People in just about every industry have heard of and are showing more and more interest in automation. That is, until they hear horror stories about how complicated the process is. Truth be told, there are certainly complex systems and products on the market today that bring with them steep learning curves, making them difficult to implement and more challenging to manage.

The good news is that not all automation products are this arduous.

In fact, some products allow you to still automate both simple and complex workflows and processes, yet can be installed and deployed in mere minutes. This type of IT automation product is designed to be user-friendly, making initial training and ongoing management a breeze. What’s more, there’s no need for users to possess extensive knowledge of things like script writing. It’s ‘plug and play’ at its very best.

Another commonly cited reason for resisting automation is the concern over how it will integrate with existing systems. Nobody wants to go through an entire overhaul and replacement of legacy systems. That could take a tremendous amount of time and cost a pretty penny. What these naysayers don’t realize is that a quality automation product can integrate seamlessly with legacy systems. There’s no need to replace. Simply restructure and realign to enhance performance and efficiency.

Finally, although perhaps of biggest concern, is the fear that automation will replace the human workforce. Some IT professionals still view automation as some sort of enemy with whom they must compete to protect their job security. To the contrary, automation isn’t meant to eliminate humans, but rather to provide a tool that will improve their lives considerably. Why? Because automation removes all of the menial, repetitive tasks that would otherwise be bogging down IT professionals, freeing them to focus on other, more important business matters. It also allows IT personnel to further improve their own skills and hone their expertise, making them much more marketable.

To further drive home these points, let’s take a look at a real life scenario in which automation was leveraged – albeit with a bit of hesitation – but was quickly discovered to be of tremendous value to the IT department and the organization as a whole.

One large insurance company has been slowly but surely automating key IT processes using Ayehu eyeShare IT process automation. The IT Director, who is responsible for managing the project, began by using the automation process to manage alerts generated by their existing monitoring tool. The goal was to take level one staff out of the loop by at least 80%.

Before automation came into play, an alert would go to the Network Operations Center (NOC) rep at all hours of the day or night. The NOC person would then spend about 15-30 minutes troubleshooting and calling people – sometimes in the middle of the night – before finally being able to restart the web service. Today, that process has been automated. Now, the alert is detected, an action is performed and the problem is resolved – all without ever having to wake anyone up.

Automation has helped this insurance company by saving time, money and resources and managing system issues in a much more efficient way.

Implementation was quick and easy, with very little training time necessary. Most importantly, automation didn’t replace the NOC personnel, but rather made their jobs much easier (and allowed them to get more rest in the process).

Wherever you stand on the topic of IT process automation, the fact is it is fast becoming the way of the future. If you’re still resisting, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the battle. By taking the time to examine the common objections and learning how the right automation tool can help overcome these objections once and for all, you’ll be well on your way to riding the wave of success into the future.

Not sure where to start? Download a copy of our free IT Process Automation Survival Guide today!





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Ayehu’s Awards Latest IT Process Automation Super Hero of the Month Title to the Entire NOC Team of Ex Libris

Exlibris-SuperHerosAyehu Software, industry leading provider of enterprise-class IT Process Automation solutions has chosen the most recent recipient of its Super Hero of the Month Award. This month, the company has chosen not just one hero, but the entire Network Operations Center (NOC) team at Ex Libris. The group was chosen because of the way they have utilized IT process automation to maximize resources and vastly improve the efficiency of the team as well as the organization as a whole.

Constantly challenged to meet service level agreements, maintain availability and deliver timely and accurate assistance, the NOC team at Ex Libris find themselves under intense pressure. Every moment counts and any delays in service can cause a ripple effect throughout the entire organization. What’s more, the small group is constantly being challenged to manage their resources in the most effective way possible. Given the intense work load and pressure to perform quickly and efficiently, the team found themselves falling behind. They realized that in order to achieve their goals on an ongoing basis, particularly given the regular influx of new customers, they needed help.

Since hiring additional staff was an added expense that they weren’t looking to incur, the NOC managers decided instead to look toward technology as a solution. They began the search for a software product that could meet their specific needs, which were to quickly and efficiently solve any issues that arose on their cloud servers in a standardized way that also reduced human error, and to log the activities performed on the server in order to resolve these issues – all without having to bring in additional manpower. After receiving a recommendation from a trusted resource, they decided to give eyeShare a try.

Following implementation in March of 2013, the NOC team set to work automating their most commonly used workflows, which also happened to be the most complex ones. They opted for these because they wanted to feel the impact of the automation as much as possible. Since that time, they have now automated almost all of their resolution flows; including server clean ups and service restarts of Apache/Jboss/Tomcat, Oracle, MySQL and more.

When asked what they like most about the eyeShare product, the team responds: “It’s met all of our needs and then some. It’s fast and can handle many workflows, so we don’t have to recruit additional manpower. It’s reduced the risk of human error, keeps logs of the activities performed and provides a standardized solution – everything we were looking for. Best of all, it has saved us a tremendous amount of time. For instance, a manual clean up might have taken up to 20 minutes. EyeShare does it in around 3 minutes. Our team has been able to take on several, much more important tasks with the free time that eyeShare has provided to us. To us, that’s priceless.”

About Ex Libris

Ex Libris Group is a leading provider of library automation solutions, offering the only comprehensive product suite for the discovery, management, and distribution of all materials—print, electronic, and digital. Implemented as stand-alone solutions or integrated with existing environments, Ex Libris products help libraries streamline operations and increase user satisfaction and loyalty. To learn more, please visit www.exlibrisgroup.com.

About Ayehu

Ayehu Software Technologies Ltd. develops and markets eyeShare, a lightweight, enterprise-grade IT Process Automation solutions. Deployed at major enterprises and supporting thousands of business users, Ayehu eyeShare helps IT professionals identify and resolve critical incidents up to 90 percent faster, minimizing their impact to the business and saving time for IT operations teams. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com





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