The Best Network Management Systems are People…

Many years ago when End to End was becoming a more sophisticated Network Management Company we started to build a Web Portal that helped us manage our customers more effectively. Over time that morphed into our eView portal, complete with Network Monitoring, Reporting, Notifications, Mapping, Asset Management, Vendor Contract Management, Trouble Ticketing and more.

We were one of the first that offered a Network Management Portal to our customers. There were other platforms out there – like Solar Winds, but those were just products. Our Differentiation was the people behind all of the reports and notifications, people that actually acted on those alarms to resolution.

Now that I see everyone and their mother out there flogging their Network Management Platform, all claiming to be the best I wonder how is it we can compete. After all, some of these companies as spending billions on Research and Development, something which we cannot compete with because our primary business is Network Management.

So, why don’t we stop development and go ahead with one of these other platforms? I get asked this all the time and the answer is quite simple. All of the tools are similar, they all do some stuff really well, other stuff okay and more stuff not so good. Some are better than others and some are more expensive than others. None of them actually Solve any problem. They may make finding the problem easier, but they do not solve the problem. How do the problems get solved? In all cases, no matter the platform the problem gets solved by people. So, how much time does the right System buy you? I don’t think anyone can answer that. It will come down to the complexity of the problem and the expertise of the Technical minded to pull together all the information and come up with a solution.

One of the other aspects of our Services that is hands down better than any other, is that we set it all up. That’s right, we add your devices to the portal, load up the Circuit info, Speeds Monitoring and Reporting parameters. Notifications etc. etc. Over the years we have found that organizations will buy one of these Network Management Platforms, play with it for a couple of days, then shelf it because they don’t have the time to dedicate to make the system work the way it was intended.

The other thing I get asked quite often is about Automated Network Discovery. We don’t have it today and I don’t even have it on the road map. All the other players talk about auto discovery as if it was some great tool that will automatically set everything up for you. I have yet to see someone actually use the auto discover map that gets created. I do think it can be used as a security tool to discover nodes on the network that shouldn’t be there, but other than that I find Auto Discovery to be almost completely useless.

The terms “Self Healing” and “Auto Remediation” have been getting thrown around and I see that as something that will definitely be useful, but once again only when configured and set up by someone who knows what they are doing. We certainly have this on our road map but to what extent remains to be seen. For DSL’s that are always going down there are certain things we can do, but for large complex networks “self healing” is quite a stretch.

Stop trying to sell me yet another Software Package that claims to heal your network… Instead find me some more really good people. This is not to say I want to hear from any headhunters either!


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