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In-House vs. Outsourcing: When to Outsource Your Telecom and IOT Infrastructure O&M Support

By Drew Ludwick

The Challenges of Managing Your Own IT Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance

When operating a critical communication system, you can’t afford an outage. You’re expected to provide a high level of service 24/7 to an expanding network that’s facing increased pressure to reduce costs. Every day you’re making choices on how to upgrade your infrastructure with a fixed budget that isn’t scaling at the same rate as your network.

This isn’t easy, especially if you’re supporting other service providers or carriers. Knowing when an outage occurs regardless of the time of day is critical but knowing BEFORE something fails is even more important.

By understanding the following challenges of managing IT infrastructure operations and maintenance, you’ll understand why outsourcing makes sense and how you can successfully do so with the right partner:

Tilson’s integrated and experienced Network Operations Center (NOC) can provide answers to these challenges to save you time, money, and aggravated customers.

Challenge: Operations and Maintenance (O&M) is Complex

Operations and Maintenance of IT Infrastructure, or O&M, is simple in theory and difficult in practice. All infrastructure must be monitored, but different infrastructure types call for their own monitoring. Regardless of the monitoring process, you never want your customer to be the one to tell you when your network or service is down.

Of course, O&M is more than just monitoring your network or resource for an outage; it’s having the critical awareness to take action before there is an outage, ensuring your network is always available when your customer expects. The goal is to avoid critical failures before they ever happen.

Active network monitoring provides the critical insight to know if a device or component is beginning to fail, but hasn’t failed yet, allowing it to be repaired or replaced before it does.

Proactive preventative maintenance is periodic scheduled maintenance performed to keep your infrastructure operating in top shape. This can include everything from critical security and system upgrades and antenna connection tightening, to changing HVAC filter and sweeping up the space.

Additionally, environmental monitoring is important regardless of whether you’re running an active network or operating towers and fiber huts. You need to know when there’s a problem at the site before it becomes an outage. Having insight into the site’s environmentals, power, and security is vital. For example, if the HVAC system is malfunctioning, your network devices may start overheating and having performance degradation, shortening their lifespan. In another instance, humidity can be running high because someone left a door open, which can be verified by a technician pulling up a camera feed. 24×7 site monitoring provides these insights.

Finally, you must have qualified, skilled, and capable technicians on the ground when and where you need them to perform that preventative maintenance or to respond in the middle of the night when a critical system goes down. Having a professional workforce ready isn’t just nice to have, it’s a requirement.

Challenge: An In-House NOC Team is Resource Intensive

It’s easy to see why you need a dedicated team to handle the complex responsibilities and critical nature of O&M but manning your own NOC and maintaining your O&M capabilities is expensive. It’s important to understand the necessary budget and resource investment and to ask yourself if you’re willing to take this on yourself.

It takes somewhere from 8-12 resources to truly operate 24/7, 365 days a year. You have to account for holidays, PTO and sick time, and crew turnover, along with the HR and other support staff required. Are you prepared to build at least a 12 person NOC team of your own to monitor your infrastructure?

O&M systems are also expensive. To operate and maintain critical IT infrastructure you need a network monitoring system (NMS), an IT Service Management (ITSM) system, a Configuration Management System (CMS), and some vendor/equipment specific systems to interface with your network. Finally, you’ll need to integrate all of this together into a cohesive platform.

Delivering resources, systems, and processes as a unified platform is challenging and costly but you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. While you could take it on yourself, you could instead turn to a professional provider to manage this for you. Before you do, it’s important to understand that not all providers are made equal.

Challenge: Traditional NOCs and Simple Remote Management Let You Down

While there are other NOC solutions out there, not all are purpose built and field tested. They can be too large or too cumbersome to deliver the solution you need, and they often don’t know the industry or your customers. Many providers stick to a cookie-cutter approach of general infrastructure and have one or two models to choose from, forcing you to change your expectations to meet their product line.

Equipment and Vendor-based systems can be a solution as well, but they are all unique and it takes experience and expertise to master them. If you operate more than one system, this can be overwhelming in and of itself. In the end, you still need someone with the right skills and resources to monitor when the outage occurs and to resolve issues within your SLAs before your customers call.

Answer: The Tilson NOC Advantage

As a turnkey provider, Tilson can help with any and all requirements in the IT infrastructure operations and maintenance process above and beyond your typical NOC solution.

Tilson’s NOC is purpose built with a proven record of delivering across every IT Infrastructure classification, including:

We have an integrated systems platform capable of quickly onboarding your infrastructure, network, or services; monitoring them around the clock; reporting and notifying when necessary; dispatching to the field; and delivering valuable, insightful metrics that you need to run your business. We do all this in-house so you have one point of contact ensuring all processes work together seamlessly.

Tilson has a coast-to-coast field team and office presence, so we are everywhere you need us. Our expertise working with carriers and large network owners means that we have the skilled field resources available to restore your network or resource quickly and efficiently.

While other NOC vendors have a limited number of models to select from, Tilson offers a flexible catalog of relevant services to your infrastructure or network. Our services are designed to fit your needs, not the other way around.

Additionally, our systems and processes are built to meet your specific Service Level Agreements and response times. We won’t impose a standard set of SLAs on your business, but rather we’ll meet your expectations to make sure that you can deliver on your promises to your customers.

Tilson’s NOC provides U.S. based support, 24/7, 365 days a year. We’re always there when you need us!

Take the Next Step

Tilson’s NOC is ready to support your IT Infrastructure or network with cutting edge systems, processes, and a team that is ready to deliver. Our turnkey approach is designed to be flexible to your needs and can take you from start to finish with your network operations and maintenance.

Learn more about how we can help you Operate and Maintain your IT Infrastructure by taking advantage of a free 1-hour consulting session. At the end we’ll provide you with a summary of how our services can meet your business needs.

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