NOCs can be complex, fast-paced environments. Given the relentless pressure and pace, many teams adopt a reactive approach to handling network issues, focusing on managing incidents rather than seeking to understand and mitigate their root causes. This can often lead to recurring incidents that increase operational inefficiency and disrupt business continuity. This is where problem management, and specifically automation support for problem management, can play a pivotal role.
Problem management seeks to identify the root cause of incidents and subsequently minimise and manage recurring issues or ‘known errors’. Yet in many organisations, problem management is something of an afterthought, not considered until after a major incident has occurred and the leadership team wants to understand the root cause. However, a proactive approach to problem management, underpinned by automation, can drive significant operational benefits.
The first way automation can support problem management is by providing necessary and timely information from the network in support of incident resolution. Through automation, specific data can be auto-collected, such as ‘show’ command information. This information can then be used to populate problem management tickets within IT Service Management tools, as well as to support documents stored in ‘known error databases’, technical tips, or knowledge articles for future reference. This allows NOC teams to quickly access and analyse relevant information, accelerating problem diagnosis and resolution.
Second, automation can expedite the resolution of similar incidents reported on the network. When a recurring incident is identified, automation can be used to trigger standard resolution processes. Instead of NOC personnel manually performing the same task every time an incident occurs, automation can execute the tasks, saving valuable time and resources.
Implementing these automated workflows and remediation tasks necessitates careful planning and strict adherence to non-business impacting, proven and routine actions. As the NOC matures in its technical prowess, more automated actions and remediations can be introduced to tackle these recurring incidents or ‘known errors’.
Moreover, automation can be leveraged to build a dynamic ‘knowledge base’ that continually learns and improves from previous incidents. This knowledge base can automatically identify and categorise recurring incidents, allowing for proactive management of these issues.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the adoption of automation in problem management doesn’t mean replacing NOC personnel. Instead, it enhances their capabilities and empowers them to focus on more strategic, value-adding tasks.
In conclusion, automating problem management can transform a NOC from a reactive to a proactive operational model. Through the timely collection and analysis of data, automated incident resolution, and the creation of a dynamic knowledge base, automation can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of problem management. Embracing automation is a strategic move that will position the NOC to better handle the challenges of an ever-evolving network environment and ultimately deliver superior service levels to the business.
So, to truly future-proof your NOC, consider leveraging automation support not just for incident management, but also for problem management. It’s a smart, strategic decision that will pay off in the long run.